Number The Stars

By Lois Lowry

Book Report By Katie Chignell


The genre of this book is historical fiction.  The event in this book actually happened in our history, but some of the characters may have bee made up.  The problem could have happened in this time period.

Plot Development

The plot development is man vs. society.  The Jewish people of Denmark are in conflict with the Nazis.


The protagonist is Annemarie Johansen.

The antagonists are the Nazis.

The Characters

  • Annemarie Johansen - a ten-year old girl from Denmark
  • Kirsti Johansen - Annemarie's younger sister
  • Ellen Rosen - Annemarie's best friend
  • Mrs. Johansen - Annemarie's mother
  • Mr. Johansen - Annemarie's father
  • Mrs. Rosen - Ellen's mother
  • Mr. Rosen - Ellen's father
  • Uncle Henrik - Annemarie's uncle, a fisherman

Four Words To Describe Annemarie

  • Courageous
  • Creative
  • Outgoing
  • Honest


The main setting is Copenhagen, Denmark and other nearby cities.

Four Words To Describe The Setting

  • Uncertain
  • Dangerous
  • Secretive


      I recommend this book to older readers who enjoy reading and learning about our world history.  This book may also appeal to children who can put themselves in the place of one of the characters and experience the story from their point of view.


     This book tells the story of a young girl named Annemarie Johansen. Annemarie lives in Denmark with her mother, father and her younger sister, Kirsti, in 1943.  This is the time in history when the presence of Nazi soldiers in Denmark is constant.

      Annemarie has grown used to the food shortages and the Nazi soldiers, which seem to be just part of life during this time.  Annemarie and her best friend, Ellen Rosen, do not really notice the soldiers because they are so common.  One day they are stopped by one with a gun while they are racing down the street and they feel fear for the first time.

      As the Nazis begin to isolate the Jewish people of Denmark, life becomes more terrifying for Ellen who is a Jew.  The Johansens decide to help the Rosens get to Sweden, a free country.  As they plan for this, Ellen's parents go into hiding outside of town.  The Johansens take in Ellen and pretend she is their other daughter, Lise, who was killed in an accident years ago.  However, Nazi soldiers come to their house in search of Jews and it becomes clear that Ellen is still in danger with the Johansens.

      The Johansens travel with Ellen to Uncle Henrik's house.  They are helped by Peter, Lise's fiancee.  Uncle Henrik is a fisherman and has agreed to help the Rosen family sail to safety in Sweden.  The Rosens are hiding at Uncle Henrik's as they wait for Ellen to arrive.  The family is reunited but once again are in danger when Nazi soldiers come to search the house for Jews. The Rosen family must hide while the Johansens make up a story about a death in the family to trick the soldiers into leaving.

      Finally, the time comes for Uncle Henrik to smuggle the Rosens to Sweden.  The family must pack all of their belongings to take with them.  They gratefully say goodbye to the Johansens and they set out to sneak past the Nazis.

      Soon after Uncle Henrik leads the Rosens out, Annemarie's mother notices a small packet that Mr. Rosen had left behind. Annemarie has no idea what is inside the packet but her mother is very upset that the family doesn't have it with them.  It's crucial that the Rosens get this packet or the whole plan may fail.  Annemarie offers to run after them to deliver the important packet.  Her mother puts the packet in a basket under some bread and cheese and tells Annemarie to say she is bringing her uncle some lunch if anyone stops her along the way.

      Annemarie races through the forest but before she arrives at the harbor, she encounters a pair of Nazi soldiers with growling dogs.  The Nazis examine the bread and cheese and ask many questions.  Annemarie tells her lie and after much persuading, the Nazis finally allow little Annemarie to pass.  She is brave in the face of danger and is able to successfully return the packet to Mr. Rosen before they set sail.

      When Annemarie is safely home and her Uncle Henrik returns, he shares some information with her about how the fishermen are helping the Jewish people escape Denmark.  He explains the importance of the packet - it is a special drug created to ruin the sense of smell of the Nazi's dogs.  It's needed on every boat to keep the hidden Jews safe.  Uncle Henrik tells Annemarie that she saved the Rosens lives by bringing the packet to him.  He also tells her that Peter is a member of the Resistance, a group dedicated to fighting for Denmark's freedom from the Nazis.

      Two years later, the war finally ends. The Rosens have not yet returned to Denmark but Annemarie continues to have hope that someday they will and she will be reunited with her friend, Ellen.

The Writing

      The writing in "Number the Stars" was in third person.  It was as if the author was watching the Johansen's and Rosen's struggle as she was writing the book.  Instead of using "I" or "we" the author uses "he", "she", "they" or one of the specific character's names.  The author was not writing from a personal experience.  

The Illustrations

      I noticed that there no illustrations in this book.  However, on the cover, there is a photograph of a young girl (most likely Annemarie) with a necklace of the Star of David.

This Book Reminded Me Of....

      This book reminded me of another book I recently read, "The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak.  Both of these books take place in the same time period.  Also, both of the main characters are girls that are not Jewish, but trying to help a friend that is Jewish to safety.


      My connection to the book is my visit to the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.  In the museum, there was an area where a Jewish boy told the story of his family's struggles during World War II.  His story was very disturbing and helped me to better understand what happened to Jewish people during this time in history.  

Are There Any Questions?

Comment Stream