Dear Fourth Grade parents,
This week, we will begin a novel study of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This story for upper-elementary students is set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II. Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is best friends with Ellen Rosen, a Jewish girl. Will Annemarie find the strength and courage to save her best friend’s life?
Here is a review for parents:
As a piece of historical fiction, it is important that the students have some context. While we will not go into detail about the Holocaust, we will broadly discuss World War II, the Axis and Allies, Nazi occupation (specifically in Scandinavian countries), and the national response of King Christian X and the people of Denmark to rescue their Jewish population. We will read non-fiction articles, poetry, and picture books about the time, and the students will complete a webquest.
Our study will focus on the theme of courage, and what it means to be brave in different circumstances. The literary element on which we will focus is character, comparing and contrasting the characters as they grow and change throughout the novel. Students will be expected to read assigned chapters as homework and complete reading responses, so that they will be prepared for in-class discussion.
I have enough copies to give each student during our unit, so no need to purchase anything.
As I said, we will not discuss details about the Holocaust. However, as thoughtful upper-elementary students developing a deeper understanding of the world and their place in it, students may have questions they wish to discuss with you.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
All the best,
Ms. Jennifer Kuntz