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Number the Stars

Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

Criminality Theme

Number the Stars kind of turns the idea of being a criminal upside down. Good people like Henrik, Peter, and Annemarie's whole family do things that are technically against the law—and punishable by death, to boot. What we mean is, according the Nazi laws that are in place in Denmark in the early 1940s, they're all criminals. But according to our standards of decency and morality, the Johansens and Peter are simply doing the right thing, and the Nazis are the criminals. Of course that raises the question: what does it mean to really commit a crime? Is it all just a matter of perspective?

Questions About Criminality

  1. Do the regular rules of crime apply in Annemarie's world? Why or why not?
  2. Was Peter putting the Johansens in danger by committing criminal acts?
  3. Why didn't Annemarie's parents tell her about her sister's involvement in the Resistance? Do you think it was better that she didn't know?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Number the Stars argues that, during wartime, honoring your own moral code is way more important than obeying the laws of a foreign government.

The Nazis are the only criminals in this book.

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