Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
I was about 9 or 10 when I first read this book, and it was one of those books that I’ll never forget. It was the first book about the Holocaust I had read, though I had yet to really understand the gravity of the tragedy.
I remember reading it in my old bedroom. My mom and I lived in this little house a block from my elementary school. We had a small yard, but the lot behind us was abandoned. There used to be a house there, but now only its foundation was left. That was my view from my window.
This was also the first book I read in one night. It’s incredibly short at a little over 150 pages. For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s the book description from Amazon:
As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
I later read this in college for a young adult literature class all English education majors were required to take. I was surprised by how many of my classmates hadn’t read it because I remember it being a big deal when I was younger. Or maybe my mom just really sold it to me. But nevertheless, I was surprised that I still loved the book, even as an adult. Honestly, I think that’s rare.
This book was heartbreaking, but it’s also about love, friendship, and loyalty. It’s a book I think everyone should read at least once, and it’s a book I plan on sharing with my children.