Monday, August 29, 2011

MMGM: NUMBER THE STARS

It's been five or six years since I last read NUMBER THE STARS, by Lois Lowry, but it popped into my head last week when I was at the library. My son starts fourth grade, today, and while he'll pore over graphic novels and CALVIN AND HOBBES for hours at a time, getting him to finish the kind of books they want him to read for school is . . . well, difficult.
Number the Stars 

But at 132 pages, NUMBER THE STARS isn't terribly long. I believe the story, set in Denmark during the Nazi occupation, will hold his attention. And I love that it isn't so much a holocaust story as it is a celebration of the courage and ingenuity shown by the Danish Resistance. They smuggled almost 7,000 Jews (nearly all of them) to Sweden. It's the kind of story that stays with you (and calls to you six years later, when you need just the right book for someone).

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen's best friend is a Jew. When a rabbi warns their Jewish neighbors that the Germans are about to begin relocating the Jews of Denmark, the Johansen's pretend that Ellen is part of their family.

Have you read this one? If you haven't, I can't recommend it highly enough.

On a side note, the library copy I read this time around had been marked up by someone who'd gone through, crossing out words and phrases, adding their own. Not once did the mystery person improve upon Lowry's prose. I was appalled. Lois Lowry? Really? The marks were all in pencil. I erased them. I burned through five brand-new pencil erasers, but they won't be there to pull my son out of the story. Please, don't write in library books, especially children's books.

If Dax loves this one as much as I did, I'm pulling out THE GIVER next. :o)

And if you'd like to read about more Marvelous Middle Grades, the following people would love to oblige you: 

Shannon Whitney Messenger (our founding mother)
Have a Marvelous Monday!
   

20 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite books as Lois Lowry is one of my favorite writers. My son read this in fifth grade. As I recall, the teacher assigned a lot of fun activities to go with the read.

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  2. Love, love, love this one! And THE GIVER too. My kids and I got to meet Lois Lowry last spring - she does an amazing bookstore visit on top of everything else she does - so our copy of NUMBER THE STARS is signed. I LOVE books that make kids think, especially about times and places they may not know or have lived through.

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  3. Number the Start is such a powerful story!

    Enjoy the beginning of the school year.

    Shelley

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  4. I love Lois Lowry, but am ashamed to say I have yet to read this one. (Crawling under a rock...)

    I'm with you on how hard it is getting boys in particular to read "the books they want you to read in school." But at least he's reading. And Calvin and Hobbes are awesome.

    I wish we could harpoon that library book offender. Writing in library books really gets my gander up!

    Good luck with the start of school!

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  5. I haven't read this one, either, Michael (though I've been meaning to for a long time)!
    *scurries off to the library*

    Thanks for the reminder, Myrna, and good luck with the first day of school!

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  6. You're right, Myma. This is one of the best children's books ever. Unforgettable.

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  7. I've read The Giver a couple times, but I never got around to Number the Stars. I have a 4th grader too, so maybe we'll read this one together.

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  8. I haven't read this one, but I really liked The Giver and the rest of that series. I'll have to try this one.

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  9. I read this a long, long time ago and have always meant to get back to it (so many unread books, though!). I did read The Giver more recently and enjoyed it. Thanks for the reminder on this one.

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  10. Yes, please don't write in library books. I dislike having to erase people's markings. (I once inspected a book on evolution in which someone went through and blacked out every instance of the word with a pen. There are better ways to indicate that one disagrees with an idea. Or Lois Lowry's phrasing . . .)

    I read this one in elementary school, but I don't remember much about it. I think I'll revisit it sometime :) I do, however, remember The Giver.

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  11. I just read this one! And writing in library books?! Really.

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  12. I read it long ago. My memory is fuzzy, so it deserves a re-read.

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  13. It's been a while since I read it too, but I remember loving it. Although I think THE GIVER is my favorite of all of hers. Can't imagine someone trying to rewrite Lois Lowry! And writing in a library book is appalling.

    Nice review, Myrna. I'm still catching up on MMGM posts since the hurricane took away our power!

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  14. Loved this book. I read it a few years ago. I can't believe someone tried to edit the book. How lame! What an ego!! :)

    Amy

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  15. I've never read this book! I know. I should have read it a long time ago. I will definitely get to it. :)

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  16. YES! Great, great book! My oldest just started fifth. Can't wait to read along with him this year. :)

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  17. Did Lois Lowry write The Giver? I know I've read something of hers - the name is familiar. This one sounds good. On my list it goes! :)

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  18. Lois Lowry did write The Giver. :o)

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