Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1990 - Number the Stars

Lois Lowry just seems to have the gift of writing novels of great ideas and depth with a spare hand, drawing young (and old) readers, into her stories without lots of superfluous pages. Number the Stars is historical fiction at its best—it is the story of two Danish girls, one of Jewish ancestry, and of their families who are trying to cope with the Nazi invaders of their country, Denmark.

Annemaire is the middle sister; she also has a little sister Kirsti, annoying, like little sisters can often be. Her older sister Lise is dead, and her parents won’t talk about it. Ellen is Annemarie’s best friend, and when the word slips out that the Nazis intend on collecting and relocating the Danish Jews, Annemarie’s family moves to help Ellen’s family. There are many secrets, most kept to protect the children or other participants in the resistance movement. Annemarie, as she becomes involved, is entrusted with some of those secrets, and faces her moment of  courage when the outcome of the mission rests on the success of her actions.

Even though this book, in total, is a work of fiction, enough of the details are from real historical events that it seems like a work of reality. Lowry chronicles the facts in a short afterword.

I enjoyed this little 132- page novel quite a bit. The story is told from the child’s viewpoint so the story isn’t cluttered up with a lot of explanations about Hitler and Fascism or even what the Jews were actually facing; it just tells how Annemarie experience the events  and how she perceived the crisis from the words and actions of her family.

I bought this book from Goodwill for about a dollar.

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