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Number the Stars
Transcript of Number the Stars
Created By: Helena Petrouleas
There are two types of conflict in this book. Man vs. Self and Man vs. Society. When Annemarie is given the dangerous task of bringing the package to her uncle, and not knowing what is inside she is fighting against herself. She knows she must be brave, but she knows if she fails their whole plan will have been in vain. This is the Man vs. Self conflict. Then there is the Man vs. Society conflict. The Germans have taken over the society and are trying to deport and kill the Jews. This conflict is present throughout the entire story as the brave and kind people try to help the Jews of their community.
Connection with History
This book connects with history in many ways. For example, Copenhagen was under German occupation when the book takes place. In the book Annemarie is told that Denmark surrendered to Germany because the country was small and undefended, with a very small army. This reason was true, and that is why it connects to history. As also stated in the book the Nazis never controlled the king of Denmark, King Christian. He would ride his horse from the palace every morning, unguarded, and greeted his people. It is also true that the Danes sank their own entire navy in Copenhagen harbor as the Germans approached to take over their ships. The handkerchief that Annemarie delivered to Henrik is a part of history as well. Swedish scientist worked on the powder that was put on the handkerchiefs to avoid the Jews detection when they were on the ships. The secret operations that saved the Jews were orchestrated by the Danish Resistance. Peter Neilsen was based off of the young and brave members of this group. All of these events listed show how even though the Rosens, Johansens, and other characters were fictional what happened to them came from a connection to history.
Theme of the Book
The theme of the book is courage. Throughout the entire book you can see examples of it everywhere. When Peter sneaks to the Johansens, past curfew, to inform them of the situation with the Jews. When Mr. Johansen has to let his family leave without him, even though he doesn't want to. When Ellen goes with the Johansens without her parents, and having no idea when she will see them again or where they are going. Annemarie shows courage when she has to deliver the package to her uncle, but doesn't know what may happen. The Jews in the book show courage when they escape to Sweden by boat, and have to leave their old lives behind. Courage is everywhere throughout this book and that is why it is the theme.
Number the Stars
The title "Number the Stars" refers to the Psalm that they read in the book. It talks about how God numbers the stars.....Just as he knows the name of each and every star, He also knew of each hurtful and horrible thing that the Jews were experiencing during that time.
The author of the book is Lois Lowry. She has received Newbery Medals for "Number the Stars" and "The Giver". She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publishing date for this book was 1989.
Main Characters and their Descriptions
Annemarie Johansen: She and her family live in Copenhagen in the year 1943. She is ten years old and is facing the difficulties of still being a child and wanting to know about the things the adults know about the war.
Ellen Rosen: She is Annemarie's best friend and ten years old as well. She is quiet and composed, as well as a strong student. Ellen is Jewish and aspires to be an actress someday.
Peter Neilsen: He is a brave member of the Resistance. He was going to marry Annemarie's sister Lise, but she was killed by the Germans when fleeing a Resistance meeting. He is determined to help the Jews and resist the Nazis at all cost.
Uncle Henrik: He is Annemarie's uncle and her mother's brother. He is kind and joyful, as well as a bachelor. He is a fisherman and plays a role in helping the Rosens as well as other Jews escape to Sweden.
Mrs. Johansen: Mrs. Johansen or as she is called throughout the book "Mama," is a kind, brave, and motherly women. She cares for Ellen while they have to hide her from the Nazis, by pretending Ellen is one of her daughters. She is gentle yet fierce in her efforts to protect Ellen and her family.
Number the Stars is told from the point of view of Annemarie Johansen. The story is set in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1943. The story begins when Annemarie and her best friend Ellen are stopped by soldiers on their way home from school for running. She and Ellen live in the same building so when they tell their mothers what happened they tell them to take another route to school from now on. Later during a late night visit from Peter Neilson the Johansen's are informed more on the war, and he tells them that all the Jewish owned businesses are being closed. The following day the Rosens must flee, but they leave Ellen with the Johansens to keep her safe by pretending that she is one of their daughters. Then Ellen, Annemarie, Mama, and Annemarie's younger sister Kirsti head to Uncle Henrik's farm in the country to be further from the city and the Nazis. Once there they settle in and live as normal. Then one night several people come over to the farm. These people are all Jews and Henrik plans to take them over the ocean to Sweden where they can be safe. Henrik takes the first group of people down to his boat. Mrs. Johansen follows with the Rosens. Annemarie waits for her mother to return, but falls asleep. When she wakes and her mother isn't back she goes outside and finds her lying in the grass with a broken ankle. Then they realize that there is a package that they must get to Henrik before he can leave to take the Jews. On the way to the boat Annemarie is stopped by soldiers with dogs. They search her basket and rip open the package that is supposed to go to Henrik. It is only a handkerchief so they let her continue on her way. When she reaches the boat she gives her uncle the package and tells him about the soldiers. He tells her that it will all be okay and that he will see her later that night. Later, once Henrik is home and Mama's leg is in a cast, Henrik tells Annemarie that his boat had a secret cargo area and that many other ships have them too. They are to help sneak the Jews across to Sweden. The handkerchief wasn't just a handkerchief, but was designed by scientist so that when the dogs smelled it they would lose their sense of smell and not be able to find the Jews on the boat. Soon after the Johansens return to Copenhagen. Then time passes and the war is over. Everyone celebrates and cheers. Annemarie goes to her room and takes Ellen's Star of David necklace that she had been hiding for her out. She asks her father to fix it and says she will wear it until Ellen returns and she can give it to her.
I thought that the book was well written, and had great details. It was hard to put down and was a very memorable book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about history while still reading a book with an interesting plot and intense climax.