Number the Stars

Lois Lowry

Ages 8-12

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is trying to live the life of a normal schoolgirl, despite the fact that Denmark has been under Nazi occupation for three years. However, her world is turned upside down when the Nazis start rounding up her Jewish neighbors. Annemarie’s family begins a daring adventure no one expected as they attempt to get Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen, and her parents to safety in Sweeden. Will Ellen and her parents make it to freedom, or will the German army discover the Johansens’ secret rescue plan?

Question 1 - The Johansen family is willing to put their lives at risk to save their neighbors, the Rosens. According to the Bible, why are human lives worth saving?

Discussion Guide - Read through Genesis 1:26-28 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Discuss how humans are God’s image bearers and have dignity, value, and worth. Then discuss how God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. If God believes that humans are of great value and are worth rescuing, we should as well.

Question 2 - When the soldiers ask who Ellen is, Mr. Johansen shows them Lise’s baby picture and claims that it is a picture of Ellen. We know that lying is a sin because it goes against God’s character. However, do you think that the Johansens did the right thing by lying to protect Ellen?

Discussion Guide - Discuss how there are some times in this fallen world when there are no perfect options. In such situations, Christians are called to choose the option that would be most honoring to God, in this case, saving Ellen. To exemplify this point, you can read Exodus chapter one and discuss how the midwives chose to save the lives of the Hebrew boys. (You can also discuss how most of the everyday situations we will face are not like this. In most situations, there are clear right and wrong choices.)

Question 3 - In the closing chapter of the book, Annemarie chose to put herself in harm's way by bringing the secret package to Uncle Henrik. How does this decision demonstrate Annemarie’s love for her friend?

Discussion Guide - Read John 15:12-13. Then discuss how love is being willing to sacrifice for the good of another.

Bonus Question - If your child has gone through Foundation Careful Thinking Curriculum, ask, “How is the love we saw Annemarie display toward Ellen different from the way that our culture often defines love?”

Discussion Guide - Discuss the different definitions of love covered in Unit 2 Lesson 2. Then discuss how Annemarie’s love was self-sacrificing for Ellen’s good, not celebrating and affirming everything about her.

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