Back To Course9th Grade English: Tutoring Solution
20 chapters | 275 lessons
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Francesca M. Marinaro has a PhD in English from the University of Florida and has been teaching English composition and Literature since 2007.
Set in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, Denmark, the book Number the Stars is a historical children's novel written by Lois Lowry and first published in 1989. This novel tells the story of the Yohansen and Rosen families, particularly the close friendship between the story's heroine, 10-year-old Annemarie Yohansen and Ellen Rosen. The girls have grown up together in the same apartment building and have been best friends all their lives. The novel explores the events leading to the Holocaust and the treatment of the Jewish people. When the Nazis begin to force the Jewish people into the concentration camps, which they call 'relocating' in the story, the Rosens ask the Yohansens, who are Lutherans, to take care of Ellen so they can go into hiding and will send for her when they can.
While Ellen is with the Yohansens, Nazi soldiers come looking for her and her parents, and she pretends, on the instructions of Mr. Yohansen (whom she calls Papa) to be Annemarie's sister Lize, who had died three years ago before the story begins. The next morning, Mrs. Yohansen, Mama, decides to take the girls to her brother Henrik's farm on the Danish coast, leaving Papa behind to keep up appearances and make it look like Mama and the girls have just gone on a vacation. When they arrive at Uncle Henrik's, Annemarie learns that Uncle Henrik, a fisherman, has been helping to smuggle Jewish people across the sea to Sweden (which the Nazis haven't invaded). After a few days, Ellen's parents and several other Jewish people arrive at Uncle Henrik's, escorted by Peter Nielsen, a friend of the family's who was once engaged to Lize and who has been working secretly to help the Danish Jews.
Peter and Mama bring the Rosens and the others to Uncle Henrik's boat in the middle of the night, but when Mama returns at dawn, she discovers that an important packet Peter had entrusted Mr. Rosen with for Henrik fell out of Mr. Rosen's pocket. Desperately, Annemarie runs to bring it to him, not knowing what it is, and is stopped by soldiers in the woods who insist that their search dogs smell meat. They search the basket the packet is hidden in and discover to their disappointment that it's just a handkerchief. Annemarie discovers later after delivering it to Uncle Henrik before he sets sail that the handkerchief was an invention meant to destroy the dogs' sense of smell so they couldn't find the people hidden on the boats. Because of Annemarie's bravery, the soldiers who search Uncle Henrik's boat don't find the Rosens and the others, and Uncle Henrik gets them safely to Sweden.
Two years later, the war is over. Mama and the other Danish people have been tending the homes of the Jews who had fled in the hope that they would return one day. Amid the church bells and dancing, the Yohansens are grieving because they've just received word that Peter Nielsen has been captured and executed by the Nazis for his work against them. Annemarie finds Ellen's Star of David necklace where she'd hidden it where Ellen had been staying with the Yohansen's and vows that she will wear it herself until Ellen returns. Though the story ends on a somber note, the star offers a glimmer of hope for Ellen's and Annemarie's futures and for all of Denmark.
The Yohansen family consists of Papa, Mama, and Kirsti. The oldest Yohansen daughter, Lize, had died 3 years before the novel opens.
However, Annemarie Yohansen is the novel's heroine. She is a bright and curious 10-year-old girl and is an example of the ways that hard times can force children to grow up. She asks questions about the war and the Nazi occupation and demands the truth from her parents about what is happening to Ellen and the other Danish Jews. She learns about bravery and trust, and about how sometimes keeping secrets from those we love is the only way to keep them safe. She's a contrast to 5-year-old Kirsti, who can't remember a time when the Nazis didn't occupy her country and only grasps that their presence has something to do with the fact that she can't eat bread and butter or cupcakes with pink frosting.
Ellen Rosen is Annemarie's schoolmate and best friend. When her parents are forced to go into hiding to avoid being taken by the Nazis with many of their fellow Jews, they ask the Yohansens to take her in. When the Nazis show up looking for the Rosens, Ellen only escapes by pretending to be Lize, and when one officer is suspicious of Ellen's hair being darker than Annemarie's, Papa shows him a baby photo of Lize, who had dark hair when she was born. This slight resemblance between Ellen and Lize and Papa's treatment of her like a daughter dissolves the barriers between religious and cultural differences and unites the Yohansens and Rosens in friendship and love.
Uncle Henrik is Mama's brother and lives on the farm near the Baltic Sea where he and Mama grew up. He's a fisherman and has a boat large enough to transport Jews across the sea to Sweden, which he does by building a secret compartment below deck.
Peter Nielsen is the handsome young red-headed boy who had been engaged to Lize before her death and remains close to the family, a surrogate son to Mama and Papa and an older brother to Annemarie and Kirsti. He works tirelessly in the Danish Resistance effort and works with Henrik and the Yohansens to transport the Rosens and other Jewish people to safety in Sweden. His death at the hands of the Nazis embodies the bravery and patriotism that Papa has taught Annemarie to value.
Number the Stars explores the Nazi Occupation in Denmark and the work of the Danish Resistance, a secret organization of citizens who worked to fight against the Nazis; Peter Nielsen and Annemarie's sister, Lize, are both resistance fighters, and both die for the cause. Lize had been run down by a German military car while attempting to escape the Nazis, and Peter is captured and executed by the Nazis shortly before the war's end. Their sacrifice is a mark of the tremendous bravery and patriotism of the Danish people, ordinary citizens like the Yohansens who risk their lives to save the Jewish people.
Lois Lowry notes in an afterward to the novel that the smuggling of Jews to Sweden and the drugged handkerchief are historically accurate facts. The handkerchief contained a mixture of rabbit's blood (to attract the dogs) and cocaine (to temporarily numb their sense of smell). The handkerchief was invented by Danish scientists and distributed to fishermen working with the Danish Resistance to ward off the dogs that searched for hidden Jews on fishing boats.
Number the Stars is a historical children's novel by American writer Lois Lowry, published in 1989. The story is set in Denmark during World War II and describes the Nazi occupation and the capturing of Danish Jews. The story is told from the perspective of 10-year-old Annemarie Yohansen, who learns about the harshness of the war when her family must protect her best friend Ellen's family because they are Jewish. Annemarie and her family help to hide, protect, and aid Ellen Rosen and her parents in escaping to Sweden to avoid being captured by the Nazis. Along the way, Annemarie learns about the importance of bravery, patriotism, and standing up for what is right, even if it means sacrificing one's own life.
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Back To Course9th Grade English: Tutoring Solution
20 chapters | 275 lessons