Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a Newbery Award-winning classic. This book is a good choice if your ten to twelve-year-old needs to read about issues surrounding World War II.  It is set in Denmark and told from the perspective of ten-year-old Annemarie.  German soldiers occupy her country. Bad things are beginning to happen to her Jewish neighbors. Her best friend, Ellen, and her family are threatened. Annemarie’s parents decide to hide Ellen in their home by pretending the girls are sisters.

After a close call, Annemarie’s mother takes the girls to visit Uncle Henrik, a fisherman. He has been very busy since the German occupation started.  Annemarie slowly comprehends that her family has many ties to Denmark’s Resistance. She wants to help.

Uncle Henrik makes a daring attempt, along with other Danish fishermen, to smuggle Ellen’s family and other Jewish countrymen across the sea to Sweden.  When Annemarie’s mother twists her ankle, Annemarie undertakes a vital part of this mission.  Will she make it past the German patrols with their guard dogs?

Number the Stars describes the heroism of ordinary people doing what is right in the face of powerful wrong. It gives young readers a sense of another time and place in an important period of history.  Though it captures the tension of war, the story ends on a note of hope. There is a five-page afterword that gives details of the history surrounding the story.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

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