Dear Lois Lowry,
Getting grounded, that's one thing. Hiding, pretending to be someone you're not, and being taken away from your family because of your religion, that's another thing.
Number The Stars makes me think, how would I react if I were Jewish in war time. I've never been as brave as Ellen and never could be. On the other hand, if I were Annemarie, feeling confused, not knowing why my best friend was worried and being taken away from her parents, how would I react to the Germans' arrival? Well, the answer is I would be frozen there, petrified with fear, unlike Annemarie who adapted to the situation calmly and confronted the soldiers.
When would I have felt safe enough to say my real name? When would I feel brave enough to stand up to the soldiers? How would I face such a situation? Most important of all, how would I build up all the courage to take the dangerous risks to save my family and friends?
Taking risks is a big part of life. You take risks every day, like driving a car, or even being the passenger in a car. There is always a risk of crashing. But those aren't the kinds of risks I'm talking about. I'm talking about the big risks, like those Annemarie had to take in Number The Stars. For example, Annemarie had to go to the ship with the handkerchief, bread, and cheese. This included a very risky journey through the woods. She could have been seen by the soldiers, hurt herself, or lost her family and friends by failing her mission. These were all risks that she was willing to take, and honestly, I don't think that I could have.
Keeping secrets is another hard thing. When it's a secret with your friend, and it accidentally slips, your friend might be a little mad. But if the secret that Ellen was Jewish slipped in front of the soldiers, it would mean death.
When Kristi was about to tell the soldiers that Ellen was Jewish, I couldn't think straight. There was a tornado in my brain spinning with all the possible outcomes of the situation. After the soldier went away, the tornado slowed down, but the winds were still strong, because anything could happen, anything good...or bad.
Ellen having to hide and Lise (Annemarie's dead sister) being in the resistance reminded me of a story my grandma once told me about how her dad was hiding members of the resistance in his house. He told them to hide upstairs in my grandma and sisters room. When the fascists came looking for the resistance, they searched everywhere, but when they came to my grandma and her sisters' room, my grandmas dad told them that his daughters were in that room, wearing only their night gowns (which was true), so the fascists left without searching that room. Without my great grandpas' quick thinking, I wouldn't be here writing this letter today. The same goes for Annemarie's father; without his quick thinking they all could have died.
Whenever the soldiers came up to Annemarie, my stomach squirmed and I felt like I was falling through a never-ending hole. So trying to imagine what it did to her scares me. Throughout the whole story I felt like I was Annemarie. I felt like the words that came out of her mouth were coming out of mine. As I was reading the story, I could tell, my eyes got bigger at parts, and I smiled at others. When Annemarie was happy, I was happy. When Annemarie was nervous, I was nervous too.
Thank you for writing this book, because it helped me understand that many of the little things we worry about are really nothing compared to Annemarie and Ellen's story.