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Number the Stars

Number the Stars

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Number the Stars

4.5/5 (277 valutazioni)
140 pagine
2 ore
Apr 24, 1989


As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

Winner of the 1990 Newbery Medal.

Apr 24, 1989

Informazioni sull'autore

Lois Lowry is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Her first novel, A Summer to Die, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry lives in Maine.  Twitter @LoisLowryWriter

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  • King Christian was a real human being, a man with a serious, kind face. She had seen him often, when she was younger. Each morning, he had come from the palace on his horse, Jubilee, and ridden alone through the streets of Copenhagen, greeting his people.

  • Annemarie’s thoughts turned to the real king, Christian X, and the real palace, Amalienborg, where he lived, in the center of Copenhagen.How the people of Denmark loved King Christian!

  • There had been no real coffee in Copenhagen since the beginning of the Nazi occupation. Not even any real tea. The mothers sipped at hot water flavored with herbs.

  • The words were unfamiliar to her, and she tried to listen, tried to understand, tried to forget the war and the Nazis, tried not to cry, tried to be brave.

  • The Danes had destroyed their own naval fleet, blowing up the vessels one by one, as the Ger-mans approached to take over the ships for their own use.

Anteprima del libro

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry


Copyright © 1989 by Lois Lowry

Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 1989.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Lowry, Lois.

Number the stars / Lois Lowry.

p. cm.

Summary: In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

1. World War, 1939–1945—Denmark—Juvenile fiction. [1. World War, 1939–1945—Denmark—Fiction. 2. World War, 1939–1945—Jews—Rescue—Fiction. 3. Friendship—Fiction. 4. Denmark—Fiction.]

I. Title.

PZ7.L9673Nu 1989 88-37134

[Fic]—dc19 CIP


ISBN: 978-0-395-51060-5 hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-547-57709-8 paperback

ISBN: 978-0-544-34000-8 25th Anniversary Edition

eISBN 978-0-547-34544-4


For my friend Annelise Platt

Tusind tak


It’s hard to believe that I wrote Number the Stars more than twenty years ago. It seems like yesterday that I answered the phone on a snowy January morning and received the news that it had been awarded the 1990 Newbery Medal.

Most books published that long ago have faded into a pleasant, undisturbed retirement on dusty library shelves, or become an occasional topic for a research paper. But Number the Stars seems to have acquired its own long and vibrant life; not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a passionate reader of the book—some of them parents who remember it from their childhood and are now reading it with their own children.

I think readers of every age match themselves against the protagonists of books they love. Would I have done that? they ask themselves as they follow a fictional character through a novel. What choice would I have made?

And ten—the age of Annemarie in Number the Stars, and the approximate age of most of the book’s readers—is an age when young people are beginning to develop a strong set of personal ethics. They want to be honorable people. They want to do the right thing. And they are beginning to realize that the world they live in is a place where the right thing is often hard, sometimes dangerous, and frequently unpopular.

So they follow a story about a girl their age, caught in a frightening situation, who must make decisions. She could take the easy way out. She could turn her back on her friend. (As the readers of Number the Stars grow older and read other Holocaust literature, they’ll find that many people in other countries, not Denmark, did just that.) Young readers rejoice when Annemarie takes a deep breath, enters the woods, faces the danger, stands up to the enemy, and triumphs.

When the book was newly published, it found its way into the hands and hearts of children who had read about but never experienced war. Now, sadly, I have heard from young readers who have lost a parent or an older brother in Iraq or Afghanistan. We all know how easy it is, and how futile, to blame and to hate.

I think the history of Denmark has much to teach us all.

The book has been published in many countries now, translated into countless different languages from Hungarian to Hebrew. Everywhere children are still reading about the integrity that a small Scandinavian population showed almost seventy years ago. Books do change lives, I know; and many readers have told me that Number the Stars changed theirs when they were young, that it made them think about both cruelty and courage. It was something that shaped my idea of how people should be treated, wrote a young woman recently, recalling her own fourth grade experience with the book.

The Danish friend who originally told me the story of her childhood in Copenhagen in 1943, and who became the prototype for the fictional Annemarie, is an old woman now. So am I. We both love thinking of the children reading the story today, coming to it for the first time and realizing that once, for a brief time and in a small place, a group of prejudice-free people honored the humanity of others.

Lois Lowry


Why Are You Running?

I’ll race you to the corner, Ellen! Annemarie adjusted the thick leather pack on her back so that her schoolbooks balanced evenly. Ready? She looked at her best friend.

Ellen made a face. No, she said, laughing. You know I can’t beat you—my legs aren’t as long. Can’t we just walk, like civilized people? She was a stocky ten-year-old, unlike lanky Annemarie.

"We have to practice for the athletic meet on Friday—I know I’m going to win the girls’ race this week. I was second last week, but I’ve been practicing every day. Come on, Ellen, Annemarie pleaded, eyeing the distance to the next corner of the Copenhagen street. Please?"

Ellen hesitated, then nodded and shifted her own rucksack of books against her shoulders. Oh, all right. Ready, she said.

Go! shouted Annemarie, and the two girls were off, racing along the residential sidewalk. Annemarie’s silvery blond hair flew behind her, and Ellen’s dark pigtails bounced against her shoulders.

Wait for me! wailed little Kirsti, left behind, but the two older girls weren’t listening.

Annemarie outdistanced her friend quickly, even though one of her shoes came untied as she sped along the street called Østerbrogade, past the small shops and cafés of her neighborhood here in northeast Copenhagen. Laughing, she skirted an elderly lady in black who carried a shopping bag made of string. A young woman pushing a baby in a carriage moved aside to make way. The corner was just ahead.

Annemarie looked up, panting, just as she reached the corner. Her laughter stopped. Her heart seemed to skip a beat.

"Halte!" the soldier ordered in a stern voice.

The German word was as familiar as it was frightening. Annemarie had heard it often enough before, but it had never been directed at her until now.

Behind her, Ellen also slowed and stopped. Far back, little Kirsti was plodding along, her face in a pout because the girls hadn’t waited for her.

Annemarie stared up. There were two of them. That meant two helmets, two sets of cold eyes glaring at her, and four tall shiny boots planted firmly on the sidewalk, blocking her path to home.

And it meant two rifles, gripped in the hands of the soldiers. She stared at the rifles first. Then, finally, she looked into the face of the soldier who had ordered her to halt.

Why are you running? the harsh voice asked. His Danish was very poor. Three years, Annemarie thought with contempt. Three years they’ve been in our country, and still they can’t speak our language.

I was racing with my friend, she answered politely. We have races at school every Friday, and I want to do well, so I— Her voice trailed away, the sentence unfinished. Don’t talk so much, she told herself. Just answer them, that’s all.

She glanced back. Ellen was motionless on the sidewalk, a few yards behind her. Farther back, Kirsti was still sulking, and walking slowly toward the corner. Nearby, a woman had come to the doorway of a shop and was standing silently, watching.

One of the soldiers, the taller one, moved toward her. Annemarie recognized him as the one she and Ellen always called, in whispers, the Giraffe because of his height and the long neck that extended from his stiff collar. He and his partner were always on this corner.

He prodded the corner of her backpack with the stock of his rifle. Annemarie trembled. What is in here? he asked loudly. From the corner of her eye, she saw the shopkeeper move quietly back into the shadows of the doorway, out of sight.

Schoolbooks, she answered truthfully.

Are you a good student? the soldier asked. He seemed to be sneering.


What is your name?

Annemarie Johansen.

Your friend—is she a good student, too? he was looking beyond her, at Ellen, who hadn’t moved.

Annemarie looked back, too, and saw that Ellen’s face, usually rosy-cheeked, was pale, and her dark eyes were wide.

She nodded at the soldier. Better than me, she said.

What is her name?


And who is this? he asked, looking to Annemarie’s side. Kirsti had appeared there suddenly, scowling at everyone.

My little sister. She reached down for Kirsti’s hand, but Kirsti, always stubborn, refused it and put her hands on her hips defiantly.

The soldier reached down and stroked her little sister’s short, tangled curls. Stand still, Kirsti, Annemarie ordered silently, praying that somehow the obstinate five-year-old would receive the message.

But Kirsti reached up and pushed the soldier’s hand away. "Don’t," she said loudly.

Both soldiers began to laugh. They spoke to each other in rapid German that Annemarie couldn’t understand.

She is pretty, like my own little girl, the tall one said in a more pleasant voice.

Annemarie tried to smile politely.

Go home, all of you. Go study your schoolbooks. And don’t run. You look like hoodlums when you run.

The two soldiers turned away. Quickly Annemarie reached down again and grabbed her sister’s hand before Kirsti could resist. Hurrying the little girl along, she rounded the corner. In a moment Ellen was beside her. They walked quickly, not speaking, with Kirsti between them, toward the large apartment building where both families lived.

When they were almost home, Ellen whispered suddenly, I was so scared.

Me too, Annemarie whispered back.

As they turned to enter their building, both girls looked straight ahead, toward the door. They did it purposely so that they would not catch the eyes or

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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Number the Stars

277 valutazioni / 276 Recensioni
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Recensioni della critica

  • Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal–winning story about the Holocaust remains one of the best resources for talking to children about one of the most tragic events in history. "It's a novel grounded in dark historical truth and yet full of hope," says the "New York Times."

    Scribd Editors

Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    A short story that showed how Danish non-Jews hsmuggled Jews to Sweden from Denmark to help them escaped from being arrested and shipped into concentration camps. Good story. Captured the setting and the history well.
  • (4/5)
    A fictional account of how the Danes saved their Jewish population from the Nazis. Focuses on 2 Danish families.
  • (4/5)
    So cute! Not quite what I expected, but still super sweet! <3
  • (5/5)
    Denmark in the occupation of WWII. Lois Lowry has created a story, based on true accounts, of how the Danish people lived, helped their fellow citizens, and saved their Jews from the viewpoint of a 10-year old girl, Anne Marie.A very fast, satisfying read that had me questioning my own humanity and what I would have done in Annemarie’s place. WWII may have been 70 years in the past but if we don’t know about the past there is the danger we will repeat the same mistakes. The Danish story is important because as a nation they did not give up their humanity or decency.
  • (5/5)
    Catching up on classics which I never read in my youth.It is historical fiction, recalling events during WWII where Danes and the Danish Resistance helped many Danish Jews to escape to Sweden when faced with being sent to concentration camps by the Nazi occupiers.
  • (4/5)
    A fictional account of how the Danes saved their Jewish population from the Nazis. Focuses on 2 Danish families.
  • (5/5)
    I love this book. It is one of the many books that I have read many times. The first time I read this book was when I was a teenager and it became on of my favorite books. I love the character and the storytelling in this book.
  • (5/5)
    A historical fiction novel that discusses World War 2 and the internment of Jewish Europeans. It will help young readers understand the hardships of the Holocaust, particularly how it may have felt for non Jews to lose their Jewish loved ones. It shows the actions that people took in order to save their friends.
  • (4/5)
    I am amazed at how many incredibly traumatic books are given to young children. To this day scenes from this book haunt me.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this young adult book about the Holocaust. It was very age appropriate for middle grades. The dangers were made clear without being graphic in nature. It was interesting to read how all members of the family played their role in smuggling their Jewish friends out of Denmark. I also appreciated the author's note at the ended explaining what parts were fictionalized and what parts were real.
  • (4/5)
    This book is a great historical fiction piece for teaching about the devastation of WW II. This book contains the wonderful message of having courage to fight for what's right and helping ones friends. I also love that the perspective of the story is that of a ten-year-old girl. This is the age that I want to teach and this book would give my students the ability to imagine what their own experiences at this time would be like. Thus, this book makes WW II seem more real than learning about it solely via a textbook.
  • (4/5)
    WWII during the Holocaust in Copenhagen, the story talks about how jews were treated so badly and how much they suffered. A little girl named Ellen in particularly in this book. Similar to the story of Anne Frank. Personal Reaction: This book makes me so sad, but thankful for what I have today. And thankful that our country is not like that. It is especially interesting to me since I lived in Germany for almost three years and visited the first concentration camp called Dachau. This book could be introduced to students very carefully with parnets permission of course. Classroom Extensions: I would have my students write a memorial essay for all of the concentration camp and Holocaust victims, and we would have them mailed to a memorial in Germany. I would also have my students draw a picture of how they imaginied these families living during the Holocaust.
  • (4/5)
    "Number the Stars" is basically about a young girl, Annemarie and her family who assist Jews in Denmark to escape Nazi Relocation. I thought the book was very well written and interesting. Every time I read another book about the Holocaust, it just amazes me how incredibly evil we can be as a society, but at the same time I am extremely encouraged by the countless people like Annemarie and her family (although fictional) who put everything on the line to save others. I have read several Holocaust themed books. In my opinion this is not the best, however it is still a phenomenal book and a mandatory read for its genre!
  • (4/5)
    This great historical fiction book describes the lives of young girls during the holocaust and their experiences. You can see the difference between the lives for the family who is Jewish and the family who is not. These families work together to try and keep the Jewish family safe. it shows friendship and how we we will do anything to keep our families close.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book for several reasons. I especially enjoyed this book, because it was a slightly different view told during the persecution of the Jews during WWII. This story was told from the perspective of a non-Jewish girl, Annemarie, and her family, which I found to be interesting. We have all heard and read a lot of stories about the plights of the Jewish people during this time. Hearing a story told of the people who put their own lives on the line, and from a young 11 year old girl at that, spreads new light on such an ugly time in world history. I also enjoyed this book because of its realistic connection to actual historical events. For instance, the handkerchief that Annemarie rushes to her uncle. I found myself researching the handkerchief on my own, to check the validity of the story, and it sure enough was a clever way the brave people of this time used to hide the Jews and transport them to safety. The big message of this story was to educate on the people who helped the Jewish people and their bravery. They took great risk to help their friends and to do the right thing. These people should be honored in history.
  • (5/5)
    Great young adult book! I learned a bit more about the WWII era.
  • (3/5)
    A nice read about two friends--one Jewish, the other Christian--trying to survive in Nazi-occupied Denmark. This is a wonderful tale of friendship and courage, with a bit of suspense, and is a good way to introduce World War II to middle school readers. Though Number the Stars is not as exceptionally written as Lowry's The Giver (which I compare all of her books to), it is still fairly high-interest while remaining comprehensible to less able readers. There is just enough new vocabulary to challenge struggling readers, yet the story is not lost in the midst of "big words". Though other books may exhibit the trials of WWII more thoroughly, Number the Stars gives a pleasant tale from the point of view of an young outsider only trying to do what is right.
  • (5/5)
    This book would be an excellent resource to introduce students to the holocaust in an honest but not brutal way. It is also helpful in sharing Denmark's role in the escape of many Jews to safety.
  • (5/5)
    Number the Stars is a beautiful story about a girl named Annemarie and her friend Ellen during WWII in Denmark. It follows the timeline of the Nazi occupation there and their growing hostility toward the Jewish people. The plot describes Annemarie's family and their attempt to successfully smuggle Ellen and her family to neutral Sweden. The true history of the way the Danish people took their Jewish citizens into their homes, arms, and hearts is as beautiful as it is inspirational. Expertly written, this book is a must read for adults and children alike. This would fit in beautifully in a WWII unit narrowing in on stories and books about the holocaust. Many of the true elements of the story could spark further interest in and research on this time in Denmark's history. In addition, Number the Stars could start a discussion about creating a world that (as Lowry quotes in her afterword) has an ideal for human decency that is not narrow-minded or prejudiced.
  • (4/5)
    It's interesting how many novels about the Nazis are written from the point of view of a child. This is no exception: Annemarie is a 10-year-old girl living in 1943 Copenhagen, which Germany invaded years before. Her best friend Ellen is a Jew, and one day her parents flee to avoid "relocation." Annemarie's parents take in Ellen and have her pose as their daughter. There's quite a bit of tension every time the Nazis show up; I doubt I could have been that calm in the face of such danger at that age. Don't skip the afterword, which explains what parts of the book were based in fact; a surprising amount of details and twists turn out not to be just clever literary devices. It's a good glimpse of history, and unlike most books written about this time period, I didn't cry even once. Which was a nice change.
  • (2/5)
    Also one that kept being recommended. And it's one of those books that everyone's read, that you always see on the library shelf, but I never got around to reading. I think because the cover was never very appealing to me -- Jewish star + Norwegian-looking girl = historical fiction = not interested.And it is historical fiction, and an exceedingly simple story. But that's not a bad thing. Simple stories need to be simply told, but that doesn't mean their content is simple. Straightforward might be a better way of putting it. We follow a girl in occupied Denmark who watches the Germans tighten their grip, to the point where they need to help her best friend escape. And it's a good escape. But the story is told through the lens of the girl, so she doesn't really participate. We watch her watch. This kind of book would be a great introduction to WWII and the Nazi movement. Like Schindler's List Junior. Perhaps I am just too old to appreciate it for what it is. The moment's passed me by. But I think even if I caught it at the right age, I'd still be meh.
  • (5/5)
    This isn't an easy read, despite its relatively short length. Number the Stars can be classified as both multicultural and historical fiction.Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen enjoyed their friendship and their life. Then the war came and nothing was ever the same again. The year is 1943 and life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. Then, the Jews of Denmark are relocated and Ellen must move in with the Johansens and pretend to be one of the family. Not long after, Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life. This book would be an excellent companion book to a history lesson about the holocaust or a non-fiction account of what happened. The horrific topic may be a little easier to swallow when portrayed through the eyes of these young girls.
  • (4/5)
    This is a very good book that my students will learn alot about the history of world war I. I will highly recommend this book to my students.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book on a whim since it was sitting on my library shelf; I had heard it recommended by others in my children's literature class and I also enjoyed Lowry's The Giver. Number the Stars does an excellent job of portraying some of the turmoil of World War II without delving into graphic details, so it is appropriate for younger elementary children.
  • (5/5)
    I really liked this book. This story shows the point of view of family during the Holocaust who is suffering from the German control and also assisting their Jewish friends in escaping. The main character Annemarie is extremely believable because at first she is oblivious to the prejudice of the Jews. As the years go on, Annemarie grows into a young woman who is very brave and will risk her life to help her family and friends. The main idea of this story is to provide a different point of view of the Holocaust and also to show loyalty and bravery.
  • (4/5)
    Young Annemarie finds the courage to protect her Jewish friend Ellen - and personifies the bravery and determination of the Danish people during World War II. This is a well-realized story with glimpses of daily life in Denmark during the Nazi occupation. The author depicts the particular brand of Danish resistance that was very special to that tiny country. The afterword vouches for the accuracy of many of the plot elements.
  • (5/5)
    This book was assigned back in grade school and I loved it I read it twice and am seriously thinking of reading it again, and passing on to anyone who loves to read. This book is about the time where there were concentration camps and families were ripped apart and the story of one little girl on a mission to find her family that was so horribly taken from her. I don't want to spoil the book if you are thinking of reading it. I rate this book 5 stars all the way!
  • (4/5)
    Number The Stars is a Newbery Award winning book by Lois Lowry. Set in Denmark in 1943, the story introduces us to Annemarie Johansen and her best friend, Ellen Rosen, who is Jewish. When Annemarie and Ellen are stopped by German soldiers on their way home from school one day, their lives begin to change. Ellen's family finds out that they must leave the country, and the Johansens take in Ellen, pretending she is their daughter. The Johansens then go to Annemarie's uncle's house, where Jews are covertly being smuggled out of the country. Although the Germans nearly uncover the plot, Ellen is smuggled safely out of the country.This book is read often in schools, and therefore it is imperative for libraries to have at least one copy. It would be useful for young readers in that it introduces them to the Jewish experience during World War II. Also, it provides interesting perspective on what was happening in Denmark at the time. Though the story is fiction, Lowry based some of her characters on actual people, making this a somewhat historically accurate read.
  • (4/5)
    Number the stars is a story about the Nazi occupation of Denmark. Similar to Anne Frank it is told from the viewpoint of a little girl. The little girl helps her uncle smuggle many of the danish Jews out of Denmark and into Sweden which was neutral in the war.This book is a moving story of bravery in the worst times in history. I found the book moving and inspirational. Though world war 2 is a horrible time in human existence it is a time we must all face and never forget. teaching this time period to children is important and seeing it from the angle of those who were persecuted is also important.This would be a good book to read along side Anne Frank's diary to give another perspective. It is also a good tie in to any world war 2 history lesson.
  • (3/5)
    Title Number the StarsAuthor Lois LowryIllustrator nonePublisher HMH books for young readersDate 2011Pages 156Short Summary: This book is told from the point of view of a 10 year old Annemarie Johansen, set in Copenhagen of Denmark in Sept 1943 in the third year of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. Annemarie and her best friend Ellen, Ellen is Jewish are stopped by soldiers on their way home from school. Annemarie's sister Lise dies before the start of this book. This book basically is similar to the Diaries of Anne Frank telling the stories of how they survived through all this.Tags or subject headings would be loyalty and friendship and staying strong.My response: This book was a good one. It was very sad I think no 10 year old girl should have to experience anything like this. Something this horrible. It was still a good book though in helping to understand more about the Nazi's.