When the book begins, Annemarie and her BFF, Ellen, are on their way home from school in Copenhagen. (Bonus points if you can find that on a map.)
They decide to run a race. Now that's some old school fun.
Annemarie's little sister, Kirsti, is with them. The two older girls race ahead, but their run is cut short when they encounter two soldiers.
Turns out the soldiers are Germans—Nazis. Annemarie's thoughts reveal to us, as readers, that the Germans have occupied Denmark for three years at this point.
Quick pause for a history lesson: the Germans occupied Denmark in 1940, so that means it's now 1943. (And you thought math was useless.)
The soldiers have a bunch of questions for the girls, and Annemarie tries to take the lead. She and Ellen are scared, but little Kirsti doesn't seem to be.
Luckily, the soldiers think Kirsti is cute and so let the three girls continue on their way, telling them that they shouldn't race. (Whew.)
Turns out these soldiers are all over Denmark.
At home, Annemarie and Ellen say goodbye to each other while Kirsti heads inside. The two girls decide that they'll keep their little encounter with the soldiers a secret. But when Annemarie goes into her apartment, she realizes that Kirsti has already spilled the beans. Ah, little sisters.
Ellen's mom and Annemarie's mom are both inside, and they're both really worried. The mothers talk about recent activity by Resistance workers in the area.
And that's our cue for another history snack. Resistance was a movement of Jews and non-Jews alike to, well, resist the Nazis. They were particularly successful in Denmark during the first few years of German occupation. (Here's some more to chew on if you're interested.)
Back to the story. Before leaving, Ellen's mom tells Annemarie that they have to be extra careful. Spooky.
Annemarie and Kirsti's mom tells them they can have a snack, but their choices are limited because of the occupation by the soldiers. They don't have butter, sugar, or coffee. Boo.