During World War II very few european countries defended their Jewish populations against the Nazis, but Denmark did. In 1943, the Danish Resistance, with the held of many ordinary citizens, smuggled over 7,000 Jews to safety in Sweden — more than 90% of its entire Jewish population was saved!
Number the Stars is a fictional story of two 10-year-old friends, Annemarie and Ellen, living in Copenhagen. Annemarie is Danish, Ellen is Jewish. Ellen’s parents are forced to flee Denmark, but are unable to take Ellen with them. Can Annemarie’s family protect Ellen from arrest and deportation? And can she escape to Sweden to rejoin her family?
This beautifully written, but suspenseful, story brings the dangers of WWII to life for young readers. I read Number the Stars to my daughters on a cross-country train trip in 1991. My six year old, Janssen, was so captured by the story that she took the book and finished it by herself during one long travel day across the mid-west. I didn’t think she could really read well-enough to understand the plot, but when she closed the book at the end of the day and explained the entire story to me, I had to believe she’d actually read the whole thing!
It will not surprise you to learn that Number the Stars won the Newbery Medal in 1990.
Middle Grader Reading Level, 160 pages, WW2, Published in 1989.