We finished reading Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry yesterday. Anne-with-an-e and Betsy were captivated, kept in suspense, and horrified by Nazi cruelty. Though nothing is graphic, details of some deaths are ... blunt. Hard for my tenderhearted girls to take, but it was handled well (by both the author and my girls. As a matter of fact, looking back, I see I was the one who was crying ....)
Highlights, according to my girls:
*Brash little five-year-old Kirsti, who sometimes sounded a bit Ramona-like.
*Identifying with AnneMarie, who just knew that her life was far too ordinary for her to ever be called on to do something courageous, and being glad of that.
*Suspense ... just enough to make it thrilling -- chapters ending in a "hangcliff", as the Bonny Glen girls say.
*A mostly happy ending for our favorite characters, though not for everyone (thus my tears. I will tell you, parent-to-parent, that AnneMarie, Ellen and their parents all come out alive.)
There's a terrific afterword in which the author sifts through what was true and what was fiction. We learned some staggering facts: in 1943, in a matter of weeks, about 7,000 Jews were smuggled out of Denmark, to safety in Sweden. And there's a detail, too crucial to the plot and suspense for me to reveal it, that sounds like fantastic fiction, but was actually true. That's the detail Atticus heard about at dinner last night.
I think Number the Stars will get your kids talking, too.