Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

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What is the nature of Annemarie and Ellen's friendship in Number the Stars?

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The girls are best friends in elementary school. They both live in the same apartment building, so they walk to school and back home again together. After school, they also spend much time together. The story is set during World War II, and Ellen is Jewish. It would not be safe for her to be out on the streets alone or after darkwhen Jews were under a curfew. So, the two girls spent time looking at magazines, gossiping, and role playing with the cut outs from the magazines. They frequently spend the night together as best friends of that age do. The friendship deepens when the Jews are being rounded up and Ellen assumes the identity of Annmarie's dead older sister. The Nazis did not know the details of the dead sister, so Ellen was able to pass as Lisle with a little prompting from Annmarie and her family. Later on, Ann Marie saves her best friend's life by a brave act in the face of the Nazis. Ellen's skill at acting helps Annmarie deceive the Nazis.

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