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Number the Stars Hardcover – April 24, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
A CONVERSATION WITH LOIS LOWRY ABOUT THE GIVER
Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.
Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?
A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.
I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.
Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?
A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.
Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?
A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.
Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?
A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.
Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?
A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.
Top Customer Reviews
Lowry has written an incredibly moving account of the Jews in World War II Denmark. Annemarie Johansen worries what might happen to her Jewish friend Ellen Rosen as the Nazis capture and "relocate" all Jews. During this time, Annemarie learns about the power of evil, the strength of family, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Lowry does a masterful job of showing how Annemarie grows up before our very eyes in the way she interacts with her little sister Kirsti, her friend Ellen, and the ever present Nazi officers. Annemarie learns several lessons throughout the book that she'll never forget. We won't forget them either.
This is an incredibly moving book. There are very few books that absolutely everyone should read. This is one of them.
I always enjoyed reading historical novels, even as a kid, and my daughter, who isn't real crazy about reading, is beginning to change her mind because this story speaks to her. That it takes place in a country she never heard of before isn't relevant.
This is no fairy tale-it's the story of two Danish families, friends before the war, one Jewish and one Christian, who fight the effects of the German invasion of their country and the subsequent attempt to eliminate the Jewish population.
Through the pages of this book, we are given the story of the Rosens and the Johansens, who, on the eve of the Jewish New Year in 1943, wisely act to avert tragedy. The Rosens are blessed by the knowledge that the Nazis are beginning to move in and not paralyzed by fear into inaction. The Johansens are blessed by the knowledge that, as Danes, they could do nothing less but protect their friends and fellow Danes.
There are some scary moments, certainly, but not so frightening that children should avoid this book. Some books can be read without parents nearby; this one I recommend be read either by or with parents because some explanation of history is helpful.
One of the aspects of this book that I particularly liked was how it helps children to think and spot upcoming events.
At one point, for example, there's a reference to the Star of David necklace worn by one of the children. As the German soldiers barge into the Johansen home where the Jewish girl is hiding in plain sight, my daughter exclaimed that someone should hide the necklace before the soldiers find it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was very detailed. Very realistic. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in World War II.Published 16 hours ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed it .It was sad but very informing. It really is a CHILD,S BOOK.Published 2 days ago by patricia
I loved how this book was written and the story behind it. I liked how the facts where real but some events/characters where fictionalized. Read morePublished 5 days ago by S. Horvath
I read this book so I can discuss it with my son and can assist him in his writing assignment at a school. This is a great book for all ages.Published 6 days ago by NJDevil73
My son is in 4th grade and had to read this for school and really enjoyed the book. Amazon had the best price too.Published 7 days ago by Mommy of 4
Its sad that not every child has this book. I read it in my classroom and it was so good we didn't see it as another school activity we saw it as recess disguised. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Robert Turyan
Such a pleasure to read a book on a topic I was unfamiliar about but made me forever endeared to the fearless ship Captains in Denmark.Published 13 days ago by Jessica A. Kaser