Stella by Starlight Hardcover – Jan 6 2015
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*'When a young girl gains confidence from her failures and strength from what her community dreads most, life delivers magic and hope. A tale of the Jim Crow South that's not sugar-coated but effective, with a trustworthy narrator who opens her heart and readers' eyes." - Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
*"This compelling story brims with courage, compassion, creativity, and resilience." - Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
*"Storytelling at its finest." - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
*"Her sense of honesty and justice make her a child with whom all readers can identify." - Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW
About the Author
Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire. Her Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and has been a New York Times bestseller for well over two years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In Stella by Starlight, Draper puts us right in the middle of the action as 11-year-old Stella and her brother JoJo see the KKK gathering in the North Carolina woods at night. Burning a cross, Stella and JoJo quickly become fearful at the realization of what is happening and run to tell their parents. For the African American siblings, living in the South carries dangers on every corner. Walking down the street, as Stella recounts, is harrowing journey, one that once came with being slapped by a Caucasian man.
Stella is intelligent and quick witted, though she struggles a little bit with getting her thoughts on paper. At the time when schools were segregated, Stella constantly questions her plight and wonders how different the white schools could be. She loves her classmates and her teacher, but the thought of always being inferior, or less valuable, hangs in the back of her mind. A trip to the candy store shows both compassion from the female, white store owner and inequality from the white kids who enter the store for candy. She simultaneously feels respected and disrespected in just a few moments.
Draper paints both a hopeful portrait of Stella's warm heart and desire to be something more than label and a despairing picture of a town fearful of every move and whispered word. Age appropriate, Draper proves once again that she knows how to depict real situations with a finesse that comes only with experience, wisdom, and compassion.
Stella by Starlight captures the spirit of a young girl struggling with her inner journalist and the forces that try to stop her. Check out my blog for this and other reviews: reviewscomingatya.blogspot.com.
The author skillfully conveys the reality of life in a world where people are treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. From a random beating to a house burning, the scenes that demonstrate the terror instilled by members of the KKK are chilling. Through her use of age-appropriate examples, Draper is able to create convincing scenarios that convey both the injustice as well as the courage needed to survive in this period of intolerance and fear.
Many readers will empathized with Stella’s desire to be a writer as well as her difficulty in translating her thoughts into words on paper. Her use of the donated typewriter to write news article may inspire some budding authors.
Aimed at the middle grades, this outstanding work of historical fiction should be added to your school library’s growing collection of quality works dealing with African American life in the 20th century.
Like the works of Christopher Paul Curtis and Jacqueline Woodson, Draper is able to draw on both African American culture as well as universal human themes. This combination makes it a great book for literature circles, social studies, and language arts activities.
The year is just beginning, but put STELLA BY STARLIGHT on your Coretta Scott King Book Award short-list for 2015.
The Klan threatens the folks in her community and makes good on that threat when Stella's dad and a few other men go to town to register to vote. Things get tough, but the community relies on itself and the kindness of others and stands tall in the face of the Klan. Through everything, Stella learns that she might not be so bad at writing after all, and comes to find a real talent in herself she never knew existed.
This book made me tear up on multiple occasions. Stella is such a warm, lively character, and it really hurt me to read about people being so cruel to her, her family and her friends. This is such a poignant and important novel for young people to read. I felt angry, sad, hopeless and eventually empowered by Stella's struggles and the injustices she faced.
The book clips along at a great pace, and though it's geared for middle grades, it is unflinching in its depictions of the segregated South. It's never preachy and it never dumbs situations down for its audience. That's why it is such a great book for young readers just learning about segregation.
Sharon M. Draper is a master storyteller. The characters are all so well written. Stella's family feels like any other family from any other period in time --- warm and loving with plenty of laughter. Stella and her mother are especially relatable, sharing mother-daughter moments I know I've had with my own mother. Stella is a fantastic young protagonist, and it's wonderful watching her self-confidence bloom over the course of the novel. The book is beautifully written and it's easy to get sucked in and read for the whole afternoon.
This was a wonderful story, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for great historical fiction. Stella and her community are unforgettable, and you definitely won't want to put this one down.
Reviewed by Rebecca Czochor
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