Number the Stars

  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

It’s 1943 Copenhagen and the Jews of Denmark are being “relocated,” so Annemarie Johansen’s best friend, Ellen, moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family. When Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission, she must find the courage to save her friend’s life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Were you surprised when the Johansens agreed to take in Ellen? Why?
  2. How does Annemarie behave around the German soldiers? How does Kirsti?
  3. Why might the sisters behave so differently?
  4. Whom does Ellen pretend to be when the soldiers come to the Johansens? Why?
  5. What lie does Uncle Henrik tell Annemarie?
  6. Why did Mama send Annemarie with the packet for Uncle Henrik instead of
  7. taking it herself?
  8. How does Annemarie use what her uncle has taught her and her observations of
  9. Kirsti’s earlier behavior to deal with the German soldiers?
  10. When Henrik returns from taking the Rosens to Sweden, how does he show that
  11. he now regards Annemarie as an equal?
  12. What kind of friendship do Annemarie and Ellen have?
  13. How are Annemarie and Ellen alike? What are some of their differences?
  14. How does the encounter with the Nazi soliders on the way home from school affect Annemarie? How would it make you feel to be in a similar situation? Is it hard to even imagine?
  15. What does Mrs. Rosen mean when she tells the girls, "It is important to be one of the crowd, always?"
  16. Sometimes the adults in the book don't always tell the truth. Why is it all right for them to lie? What's dangerous about the truth in their situation?
  17. Why do Uncle Henrik and Mrs. Johansen pretend that their Great-Aunt Birte has died?
  18. Why do Peter, the Johansens, and Uncle Henrik risk their own lives to save their Jewish friends?
  19. Why did Lois Lowry choose Number The Stars for the story’s title?
  20. What did you think about the soldier who touched Kirsti’s hair and said she reminded him of his own daughter? What did you think of the soldier who tore Lise’s baby picture, threw it on the floor, and ground his boot heel into it?
  21. Who has the harder time: Mama who was slapped by a Nazi and broke her ankle or Papa who waits, worries, and follows his normal routine of buying the newspaper and going to the office?
  22. Annemarie tells her uncle that she wasn’t brave because she was frightened while she was delivering the basket with the hidden package. Do you agree with her? What did Uncle Henrik mean when he said, “It is much easier to be brave if you do not know everything?”
  23. Why did Mrs. Rosen tell the girls not to give the soldiers any reason to remember them?

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