Number the Stars,by Lois Lowry. New York: Dell 1990

Grade Levels: 3 through 5


The student should be able to:

Sunshine State Standards:

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Story Summary:

In Denmark in 1943, the lives of all Jews are in jeopardy. Ten-year-old Annemarie's best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. Annemarie's family undertakes the dangerous mission of smuggling Ellen and her family to Sweden aboard the fishing boat that belongs to Annemarie's uncle. But when Anemarie's mother is injured, and the special package that was to be delivered to Annemarie's uncle on the fishing boat is found beside the porch, it is up to Annemarie to deliver the package safely. Along the way, she must contend with German soldiers, as well as her own fear.

Concept Summary:

Annemarie spends much time reflecting on what it means to be brave. She feels she is not brave because of her fear. But Annemarie comes to realize that bravery and fear often go hand in hand. The book dramatizes the heroism of the Danish people as a whole, as well as individuals like Annemarie and her family. An afterward explains the historical facts behind the fiction.

Procedures: Pre-Reading Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. World War II was one of the costliest and most destructive wars in history. What do you know about this terrible conflict? Choose one of the following topics, do some research about it in the library, and share what you learned with your classmates.
  2. Causes of World War II

    War in Europe

    War in the Pacific

    Plight of the Jews during the war and Hitler's final solution

    Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaski

  3. Find the country of Denmark on a map or a globe. Answer the following:
    1. Which city is the capital of Denmark? Where is the city located?
    2. Which part of Denmark is near the country of Sweden?
    3. What separates Denmark from Sweden?
    4. Which country is directly south of Denmark?

  4. Work in your literature circle group and complete a FRIENDSHIP web. Complete the web as you discuss what friendship means to you. Then compare your friendship web to the webs made by other groups in your class.
  5. Devise a plan to hide a friend for a week from cruel representatives of an unjust government. Determine the safest place to offer your friend shelter, the way you would bring food to your friend, and how you would make sure that others would not know your friend's whereabouts.

Suggested Topics for Literature Circle Discussion and Responding:

Suggested Topics for Discussion and Responding:

Literary Devices:

Dawn would creep across the Swedish farmland and coast; then it would wash little Denmark with light and move across the North Sea to wake Norway.

Literary Elements:

Suggested Activities:

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
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College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.

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