Number the stars

Number the Stars- Storyline and Book Review

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen live with their respective families in Denmark during the 2nd World War. They go to the same school, are neighbours and best buddies. Their families are friends too, and Annemaries’ and Ellen’s mom love spending their tea time together, chatting and sharing laughs like friends do.

The war has already started, and Germany has already occupied Denmark. With every passing day, things are going from bad to worse- food shortages, restrictions on going about their everyday lives and Nazi soldiers on every street watching everyone from close quarters leave little room for freedom and privacy.

But the girls don’t get a sense of the seriousness of the matter till the day the Nazis take the list of names of all the Jews from all the Synagogues to relocate them to concentration camps. Ellen belongs to a Jewish family, which means that her and her family’s life, just like the lives of all the Jews in Denmark, is in danger.

The Johansens decide to help their friends-the Rosens by hatching a plan for their escape. Annemarie, her younger sister and Ellen travel to the countryside with Annemarie’s mother, where that plan is supposed to be executed. The intent is noble, but the path to achieving it is dangerous. While Annemarie’s mother tries to keep her away from danger, a situation puts young Annemarie face to face with the imminent threat and tests her bravery.

Can the Johansens save the Rosens from the concentration camps where the Nazis intend to send them? What personal sacrifices would they have to make to do this good deed? Read this book to find it.

‘Number the Stars’ has fictional characters but is based on facts. It is a historical fiction that recreates life during the 2nd World War. Through the story, the readers learn about the resistance movement led by the youth of Denmark, the life of the Jewish people and the threat they faced, and of course, the remarkable courage shown by the ordinary people of Denmark in helping their Jewish friends find safe havens, far from the Nazi rule.

It is an interesting book, written in simple language, for children between 10-13 years of age. It is a great book to introduce them to the war and how it impacted everyone’s life. At the end of the book, there is an excerpt in which the author writes about the facts on which the story is based. It is interesting to know about the King of Denmark, who decided to surrender to avoid the loss of many lives because he knew they weren’t strong enough. It is fascinating to read about scientists’ role in developing simple yet remarkable solutions that helped save so many lives. It breaks your heart to read about the resistance movement led by the youth and how they sacrificed their lives for a good cause, and lastly, the heartwarming stories of the tremendous courage shown by ordinary people to protect their loved ones are the key takeaways from this book.

To read about other such interesting books, click here.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (2 May 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0547577095
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0547577098
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 10 – 12 years
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13 x 0.97 x 19.35 cm

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