Then he continued. “I’m sending Inge to you today with the children, and she will be bringing you a carton of cigarettes.”
At her grandparents home in Denmark, Annemarie Johansen can look across the water and see Sweden. When the Nazi’s begin deporting Jews, Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen, comes to live with them. But even masquerading as one of the Johansen’s daughters, Ellen is not safe. After Nazi’s invade their home and question Ellen’s parentage, Annemarie’s parents make plans to visit her Uncle Henrik, who fishes the water between Denmark and Sweden. Her father promises to send Uncle Henrik a carton of cigarettes, and Annemarie realizes they’re talking in code. Cartons of cigarettes are Jews, and they’re talking about Ellen.
I can’t remember if we did this book as a family read-a-loud or listened to it on a road trip, but either way, Number the Stars is the first book I remember “reading” about Jews during WWII. While Lois Lowry is probably best known for her dystopian novel, The Giver, Number the Stars still takes first place for me. It’s another great book for learning about about or supplementing a class on WWII. Or just to read for fun. 🙂
Author: Lowis Lowry
Audience: Middle Grade–Tweens
Genre: Historical Fiction