Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, is a book I first read when I was in 4th grade. It is a beautiful story about two girls, Annemarie and Ellen, growing up in WWII Denmark. Annemarie’s family is Lutheran, and Ellen and her parents are Jewish. The story follows the two little girls through a heart wrenching time in our world’s history, and displays what the true meaning of friendship is. To add to the Number the Stars unit each year, my students go on a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. My 4th graders attend their Stand Up Speak Out program, which helps students, “develop social awareness and skills to demonstrate positive decision-making and responsible behaviors that allow for a deeper understanding of how the core values of respect, compassion, justice, and citizenship can lead to success in school and in life”
On the field trip my students learned about injustice across the globe and learned how they can make small contributions to their community, which could in turn, result in spreading kindness and empathy across the world. We also had the opportunity to share with our docent that our school is part of a charity to help build Catholic schools and sponsor children to attend the schools in Uganda. It was a great concrete connection to what the students were learning about at the museum, and what the read about in Number the Stars. In a world full of anger and hate, it is important to teach the message of inclusion and integrity.
To learn more about what the Illinois Holocaust Museum has to offer, check them out here: Illinois Holocaust Museum Website
And to purchase a copy of the wonderful novel, Number the Stars, click here.