Monday, May 25, 2015
Newbery Review: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1990 Medal Winner)
I was a little wary of trying Number the Stars after being massively disappointed by The Giver, but was glad to find it an excellent read worthy of its classic status.
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her best friend Ellen. But there's a problem: Ellen's Jewish, and Copenhagen is now overridden with Nazi soldiers. Determined to help their lifelong friends, the Johansens and their Resistance friend Peter form a plan to allow them to escape Denmark. But when Annemarie's mother gets injured, she alone can run a crucial errand that will determine whether or not Ellen's family survives.
The best way I can describe Number the Stars is as a lighter, sweeter, shorter Book Thief. Younger readers who couldn't handle the grit, darkness, and depression (not to mention the language) of Book Thief will find an excellent alternative with Number the Stars. The voice is definitely younger, but understandably considering the heroine's age. Despite this I never felt like Annemarie was talking down to me. It was as if I was listening to a ten-year-old girl tell her story.
While Number the Stars didn't blow me away, I enjoyed it, especially because of its unusual setting and true historical event background. It would be an excellent book to introduce younger kids to the realities of World War II without the shock and trauma.
Rating: Three and a half stars
Recommended reading age: 8+
Favorite character: Peter
Content level for parents: General fear of capture. It is mentioned that a character is executed off-page.
For more Marvelous Middle Grade Reviews, check out Shannon's blog here.