Excerpt from Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 1989, 144 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 1998, 144 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“What is your name?”

“Annemarie Johanson.”

“Your friend is she a good student, too?” He was looking beyond her, at Ellen, who hadn’t moved.

Annemarie looked back, too, and saw that Ellen’s face, usually rosy-cheecked, was pale, and her dark eyes were wide.

She nodded at the soldier. “Better than me,” she said.

“What is her name?”

“Ellen.”

“And who is this?” he asked, looking to Annemarie’s side. Kirsti had appeared there suddenly, scowling at everyone.

“My little sister.” She reached down for Kirsti’s hand, but Kirsti, always stubborn, refused it and put her hands on her hips defiantly. The soldier reached down and stroked her little sister’s short, tangled curls. Stand still, Kirsti, Annemarie ordered silently, praying that somehow the obstinate five-year-old would receive the message. But Kirsti reached up and pushed the soldier’s hand away. “Don’t,” she said loudly.

Both soldiers began to laugh. They spoke to each other in rapid German that Annemarie couldn’t understand.

“She is pretty, like my own little girl,” the tall one said in a more pleasant voice.

Annemarie tried to smile politely.

“Go home, all of you. Go study your schoolbooks. And don’t run. You look like hoodlums when you run.”

The two soldiers turned away. Quickly Annemarie reached down again and grabbed her sister’s hand before Kirsti could resist.

Hurrying the little girl along, she rounded the corner. In a moment Ellen was beside her. They walked quickly not speaking with Kirsti between them, toward the large apartment building where both families lived.

When they were almost home, Ellen whispered suddenly, “I was so scared.”

“Me too,” Annemarie whispered back.

As they turned to enter their building, both girls looked straight ahead, toward the door. They did it purposely so that they would not catch the eyes or the attention of two more soldiers, who stood with their guns on this corner as well. Kirsti scurried ahead of them through the door, chattering about the picture she was bringing home from kindergarten to show Mama. For Kirsti, the soldiers were simply part of the landscape, something that had always been there, on every corner, as unimportant as lampposts, throughout her remembered life.

“Are you going to tell your mother?” Ellen asked Annemarie as they trudged together up the stairs. “I’m not. My mother would be upset.” “No, I won’t, tell either. Mama would probably scold me for running on the street.”

She said goodbye to Ellen on the second floor, where Ellen lived, and continued to the third, practicing in her mind a cheerful greeting for her mother; a smile, a description of today’s spelling test, in which she had done well.

But she was too late. Kirsti had gotten there first. “and he poked Annemarie’s book bag with his gun, and then he grabbed my hair!” Kirsti was chattering as she took off her sweater in the center of the apartment living room. “But I wasn’t scared. Annemarie was, and Ellen, too. But not me!”

Mrs. Johansen rose quickly from the chair by the window where she’d been sitting. Mrs. Rosen, Ellen’s mother, was there, too, in the opposite chair. They’d been having coffee together, as they did many afternoons. O f course it wasn’t really coffee, though the mothers still called it that; “having coffee.” There had been no real coffee in Copenhagen since the beginning of the Nazi occupation. Not even any real tea. The mothers sipped at hot water flavored with herbs.

“Annemarie, what happened? What is Kirsti talking about?” her mother asked anxiously.

Excerpted from Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Copyright © 1998 by Lois Lowry. Excerpted by permission of Laurel Leaf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...
  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...

First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.