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 by Lois Lowry X
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • 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

“I’ll race you to the corner, Ellen!” Annemarie adjusted the thick leather pack on her back so that her school books balanced evenly. “Ready?” She looked at her best friend.

Ellen made a face. “No,” she said, laughing. “You know I can’t beat you-my legs aren’t as long. Can’t we just walk, like civilized people?” She was a stocky ten year-old, unlike lanky Annemarie.

“We have to practice for the athletic meet on Friday- I know I’m going to win the girls’ race this week. I was second last week, but I’ve been practicing every day. Come on, Ellen,” Annmarie pleaded, eyeing the distance to the next corner of the Copenhagen street. “Please?” Ellen hesitated, then nodded and shifted her own rucksack of books against her shoulders. “Oh, all right. Ready,” she said.

“Go!” shouted Annemarie, and the two girls were off, racing along the residential sidewalk. Annemarie’s silvery blond hair flew behind her, and Ellen’s dark pigtails bounced against her shoulders.

“Wait for me!” wailed little Kirsti, left behind, but the two older girls weren’t listening.

Annemarie outdistanced her friend quickly, even though one of her shoes came untied as she sped along the street called osterbrograde, past the small shops and cafés of her neighborhood here in northeast Copenhagen. Laughing, she skirted an elderly lady in black who carried a shopping bag made of string. A young woman pushing a baby in a carriage moved aside to make way. The corner was just ahead.

Annemarie looked up, panting, just as she reached the corner. Her laughter stopped. Her heart seemed to skip a beat.

“Halte!” the solider ordered in a stern voice. The German word was familiar as it was frightening. Annemarie had heard it often enough before, but it had never been directed at her until now.

Behind her, Ellen also slowed and stopped. Far back, Kirsti was plodding along, her face in a pout cause the girls hadn’t waited for her.

Annemarie stared up. There was two of them. That meant two helmets, two sets of cold eyes glaring at her, and four shiny boots planted firmly on the sidewalk, blocking her path home.

And it meant two rifles, gripped in the hands of the soldiers. She stared at the rifles first. Then, finally, she looked into the face of the soldier who had ordered her to halt.

“Why are you running?” the harsh voice asked. His Danish was very poor. Three years, Annemarie thought with contempt. Three years they’ve been in our country, and still they can’t speak our language. “I was racing my friend,” she answered politely. “We have races at school every Friday, and I want to do well, so I —“ Her voice trailed away, the sentence unfinished. Don’t talk so much, she told herself. Just answer them, that’s all.

She glanced back. Ellen was motionless on the sidewalk, a few yards behind her. Farther back, Kirsti was still sulking, and walking slowly toward the corner. Nearby, a woman had come to the doorway of a shop and was standing silently, watching.

One of the soldiers, the taller one, moved toward her. Annemarie recognized him as the one she and Ellen always called, in whispers, “the Giraffe” because of his height and the long neck that extended from his stiff collar. He and his partner were always on this corner. He prodded the corner of her backpack with the stock of his rifle. Annemarie trembled. “What is in here?” he asked loudly. From the corner of her eye, she saw the shopkeeper move quietly back into the shadows of the doorway, out of sight.

“Schoolbooks,” she answered truthfully.

“Are you a good student?” the soldier asked. He seemed to be sneering.

“Yes.”

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Treeborne
    Treeborne
    by Caleb Johnson
    The Treeborne family has lived on The Seven – the local sobriquet for a seven-acre stretch of ...
  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

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.