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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars
The story takes place in 1943 during World War II. German soldiers are "occupying" Denmark. 10-year-old Anne-Marie and her best friend Ellen live in Copenhagen. Although Anne-Marie and Ellen try to act like things are the way they used to be, they know it's not true. Food is scarce and the soldiers are everywhere.

Ellen and her family hear that the Germans are going to "relocate" them and the other Jewish families, so Ellen moves in with Anne-Marie's family. She pretends to be Anne-Marie's sister. But when soldiers come looking for Ellen and her family, they realize that they cannot stay in Copenhagen.

Anne-Marie's family helps to smuggle their Jewish friends away from Copenhagen and over the sea to Sweden, but a problem comes up just when they are about to leave. In the end, their safety lies in Anne-Marie's hands and she learns what it means to be truly courageous.

I listened to this story on Playaway, narrated by Blair Brown. She did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life, especially the scary, gruff German soldiers. It was a short story, only 2 hours and 45 minutes long, but it was so good that I listened to the whole thing in one sitting. The book won the Newbery Medal in 1990.

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