Number the Stars
How we cite our quotes:
Ellen's hands flew to her neck. Desperately she began trying to unhook the tiny clasp. Outside the bedroom door, the harsh voices and heavy footsteps continued.
"I can't get it open!" Ellen said frantically. "I never take it off—I can't even remember how to open it!" (5.42-43)
The more scared Ellen gets, the harder it is for her to protect herself. Cue suspenseful music and enter Annemarie.
Annemarie's heart sank and she looked at her mother. Mama's eyes were frightened. "Shhh, Kirsti," Mama said. "Don't chatter so." (6.46)
During a war, fear can spring up in the most unlikely places. Normally, the chatter of a five-year-old like Kirsti wouldn't be cause for fear. But if Kirsti says too much, she might spill the we're-hiding-a-Jewish-girl beans.
Suddenly, here in this sunlit kitchen, with cream in a pitcher and a bird in the apple tree beside the door […] suddenly the specter of guns and grim-faced soldiers seemed nothing more than a ghost story, a joke with which to frighten children in the dark. (8.13)
Having distance from a situation can make it seem totally unreal. In fact, think about how we read Number the Stars. It's scary, sure, but we're detached from it and we can put it down whenever we need a breather. The residents of Copenhagen aren't quite so lucky.