Updated: Aug 4, 2020
“Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry is an amazing story based off of true events that occurred in Demark during World War II. The Danish child protagonist, Annemarie, is able to help readers see a unique perspective of a German occupation in Denmark. Lowry is able to paint a vivid picture of what it would have been like during 1943 with German soldiers posted on every corner.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and learned many new things along the way. It’s hard to believe that I had never read this book before- not even in school! I loved the imagery and there are certain parts of this books that will stay with me forever. However, I did find it a little slow and there were times that I had to motivate myself to get to the next chapter. However, this may be a bias, due to the fact that I don’t particularly like reading historical fiction.
Recommended Age Group?
I would recommend “Number the Stars” for children aged 9 (at the youngest) to 14 (grades 4 to 8). Of course, the older the child, the more time you can spend on the history of the holocaust, even if the reading level may seem too young for 8th graders. This book has some sad moments. It’s important that you know your students and know what they may or may not be able to handle. If you do have some particularly high-empathetic children in your class, I would recommend pre-teaching those difficult-to-understand themes.
This book is 100% classroom approved! The ideas, themes, and events offered in “Number the Stars” give plenty of opportunity for deeper discussions about war, love, sacrifice, surrender, and bravery.
Lowry peppers her book with rich figurative language, which makes the events and characters come alive for the reader. It would be a good idea to have a dictionary close by when reading this book to children, as they may have difficulty understanding some of the words Lowry chooses to use. There is a good reason as to why this book can readily be found in every school library: it’s a classic and perfect for starting discussions about those tragic World War II events.