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review 2018-04-13 09:32
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry | Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 12th)
Number the Stars - Lois Lowry

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. Winner of the 1990 Newbery Medal.

Goodreads.com

 

 

 

Best friends Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are living in Denmark in 1943 when the anti-Semitism of WW2 takes hold of their community. Fearing the Germans may capture Ellen, whose family is Jewish, the decision is made for Ellen to move in with Annemarie's family (not Jewish) and pose as one of their daughters.

 

Inspired by the experiences of her real-life friend Annelise Pratt, Lowry writes Number The Stars in a simple and succint, easy to understand style, but the story here will still pack quite the punch for middle-grade readers, I'm sure. Mixed in with Annemarie and Ellen's quiet story of survival are historical sidenotes that will give readers perspective, such as the story of King Christian X, the Danish Jews smuggled into Sweden, and the importance of a handkerchief. There's also the little bit of heartbreak that is the scene of the Danish Navy blowing up their own naval yard before the Germans can get to it. When Annemarie's family hears the noise, which scares Annemarie's younger sister, Kirsti, the mother just calmly tells her that those are fireworks for Kirsti's 5th birthday. 

 

This being a WW2 historical fiction novel involving the Holocaust, it's no surprise there is mention of violence and even executions. Still, there is a small cord of hope that runs through even the more sad portions of the story. Being of Danish heritage myself, it was also interesting to see the role the Danes played in this part of history, a story I knew next to nothing about! 

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review 2018-02-27 02:10
Will You Help Someone in Need?
Number the Stars - Lois Lowry

In Lois Lowry's book, Number the Stars, the main character helps protect her best friend by pretending she a part of the family. The setting of the book is during World War II and the Holocaust. I would use the book ,in conjunction with The Diary of Anne Frank, to provide insight into the life of hiding and the fight to live. Teachers could have their students create culture quilts to show the many aspects of their cultures. A piece of paper is folding into sixths and the students will draw or write the aspects of their culture. This activity shows students that everyone has one thing in common. 

 

Reading Level: Lexile 670L

 

Grades: 3-6th 

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-16 01:37
Freedom in The Giver - Sample Essay - by Alaina Bell Gao
The Giver - Lois Lowry,Ron Rifkin

Lois Lowry argues that freedom is precious but dangerous, and continual sacrifices are needed to preserve it.

 

Lois Lowry communicates her belief that freedom is valuable and worth fighting for, despite its dangers. Unlike the citizens of Jonas' community, she feels that the freedom of choice is worth the risks. She admits that there is an attractiveness in protecting citizens; however, she proves that there is danger in over-protectiveness, too. Realistically, she also shows in The Giver that people must continue to fight for the right to free choice and that this fight will involve many sacrifices. At the end of the novel, Jonas is free, but he is also starving and frostbit. However, Lois Lowry's word choices show that Jonas is better off with physical pain, mental exhaustion, and emotional trauma. Without choice, Jonas loses out on too much. Therefore, it is important that each reader also evaluates their communities and lives. Each reader must step up and make sacrifices to keep their society and lives in balance.

 

 

Sources Cited

 

 

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review 2017-05-15 13:52
Follows The Series Nicely
Messenger - Lois Lowry

In this, it follows the 2nd book nicely. It shows changes in the community that Matt (from the 2nd book) has run away to. He goes back and forth between communities. It shows that he has found his power and just as things are at their worst, he uses his power to save the whole community.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-11 15:48
Book 29/100: Son by Lois Lowry
Son - Lois Lowry

Sigh ... Lowry, why did you keep writing sequels to a book that never needed any sequels?

I found Gathering Blue to be somewhat lackluster, Messenger to be pretty awful ... and for a while, I thought this one might actually be different. Maybe not different enough to redeem the whole series, but at least different enough to justify its existence.

That's because the first section of the book takes place in the same community as The Giver, and this society remains equally fascinating through another character's experience of it. It follows the experiences of Gabriel's birthmother, Claire, and shows another side of the community that is still familiar to us. For the most part, the worldbuilding in the original book is one of its strongest, most enduring qualities -- few of us will forget our first exposure to it, which was, for many in my generation, our introduction to dystopia --and the first part of this book brings us back to that well-wrought world. This book would have been stronger if Lowry had published it as a novella or short story and scrapped everything that happens after Claire leaves the community ... but that did not happen.

The other communities are far less developed than the original one, and Claire sort of muddles her way through them for a few years, dragging the reader along for a far less interesting ride than what we thought we were in for in the beginning. Also, the book gets a little bit too "magical" without any explanation. I think that's my major bone of contention with this series, the sort of unevenness between the groundedness of Jonas's community, where almost everything makes sense even if it is horrifying, and the random, unexplained "powers" and magical realism running rampant in the rest of the world. (I did reread "The Giver" recently and realize that there is a touch of this unexplained magical realism there as well, but because it is a less prominent part of the story, it's less irritating.) Also, it wasn't just the random magical-ish things that lacked explanation -- there were also major plot points that didn't seem to make sense. [Like, why was it imperative that Gabriel go after the Trademaster? Why was that designated his "job" all of a sudden? Jonas was so insistent upon it, but it seemed mostly just a convenient way to resolve the story, or to make it seem like the various threads were meant to tie together all along when really it felt like they were still unraveling.]

It also felt like the book "tried too hard" to tie together all the sequels that shouldn't have been written in the first place, and the connections just weren't strong enough to make wading through all the separate stories that got us to that point worth it. I have a lot of respect for Lowry as a writer, and I wish she hadn't wasted so much of her time and mine spinning additional stories that never really needed to be told.

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