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Crossing the Starlight Bridge [Paperback]

Alice Mead
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 20 2008
Rayanne Sunipass has grown up on Two Rivers Island in Maine. That is where the Penobscot, the People of the Dawn, have always lived. Then when Ray is nine, her father leaves the family. Soon after, Ray and her mother must move away, to a town off the island.

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From Publishers Weekly

"Springbrook, where Gran lived, is like another country" to Rayanne Sunipass, who has grown up on the reservation on Two Rivers Island, Me. But when her father leaves her and her mother, they are obliged to move from the island to this "other country," the mainland. Ray attends a new school, where other students tease her (" 'My dad said you Indians are lazy' "), and she misses her home, "the smell of stones" and "the rushing noise of moving water." Through her affection for her pet rabbit, Hop, and her artwork--she loves the big box of crayons her father gave her before he left, the colors of which inspire chapter titles--Ray finds a vision of beauty in the present and hope for a return to the island. The Penobscot legends told to Ray by Gran, which help her remember her Native American origins, add authenticity and interest to this mild story. First-novelist Mead is so earnest about her protagonist's feelings, however, that at times the story seems an overly fragile portrayal of characters who clearly demonstrate strength and resiliency in the midst of adversity. Ages 9-11.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-Since shortly after her father's departure from the family's Maine island home on her ninth birthday, Rayanne and her mother have had to share her grandmother's apartment on the mainland. Uprooted from her Penobscot community, her best friend, and her beloved pet rabbit, Ray must adapt to a new school and learn to accept her father's absence, and, ultimately, his remarriage. The strengths of this story lie in the child's situation, so similar to that of numerous young people in today's world, and in the well-drawn characters of the girl and her grandmother-a strong, contemporary, optimistic woman whose warmth and encouragement are restorative. Chapter titles, each one a crayon color, serve as reminders of Ray's artistic talent, which is evidenced in several episodes in the story. Although Mead has carefully placed a Wabanaki design at the end of each chapter, she only hints at the family's cultural background, mainly by means of bedtime stories told by Ray's Gram. The child's acceptance of her father's remarriage and sudden eagerness to pick up the pieces of her life end an otherwise good novel a bit too abruptly.
Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
_Crossing the Starlight Bridge_ is an extremely insightful novel for children that touches on both the imperfections of family as well as the importance of culture and identity. The protagonist, a young Penobscot girl from Maine, is unwillingly transplanted from an island where she lives with other Penobscot families and friends to the mainland, over the "starlight bridge". The reason for this move is that her father has left her mother, and for financial reasons they are forced to go live with her grandmother on the mainland. Of course all of this change is devastating for a young girl who feels robbed of everything familiar and comfortable in her life on the island, including her family, house, and Penobscot culture. Rayanne, the protagonist, is unwillingly forced to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Alice Mead does an excellent job of expressing the thoughts and feelings of this young girl as she struggles with the separation of her parents, resentment toward her mother and father, and the less peaceful ways of the mainland. Adapting to this new life is not easy for Rayanne, but her grandmother, who has learned to embrace Penobscot culture and yet function in the culture of the mainland, makes this transition much easier for her.
The grandmother's character is wonderfully written, and exudes comfort and stories and all that grandmothers should be. She is an imaginative woman, and sparks Rayanne's imagination through her own stories of Penobscot culture. As a result of this support, Rayanne is able to rebuild her life on the mainland and find her own niche with new friends and her family.
This is an excellent book for any child, but I think that kids who are dealing with major changes in their lives, especially their parents' divorce or separation, would especially appreciate _Crossing the Starlight Bridge_.
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