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Stella by Starlight Hardcover – January 6, 2015


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442494972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442494978
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—Coretta Scott King Award winner Draper draws inspiration from her grandmother's journal to tell the absorbing story of a young girl growing up in Depression-era, segregated North Carolina. One frightening night Stella and her brother Jojo witness a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, practically in their own backyard. This meeting is the signal of trouble to come to the black community of Bumblebee. The townspeople must come together to find strength and protection to face the injustices all around them. This is an engrossing historical fiction novel with an amiable and humble heroine who does not recognize her own bravery or the power of her words. She provides inspiration not only to her fellow characters but also to readers who will relate to her and her situation. Storytelling at its finest.—Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY

Review

*'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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
80%
4 star
13%
3 star
7%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 15 customer reviews
It just makes you want to smile.
This Kid Reviews Books
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.
KidsReads
Beautiful story with strong characters.
M. Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reviews Coming at YA on January 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover
As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. today, let's stop for a minute and applaud the valiant writers, like Sharon Draper, who write with honesty and authenticity for children and young adults. I had the amazing opportunity to speak with Draper while I was a graduate student at Clemson University. She was real, straightforward, and humble. That's what I've always seen in her writing. From Copper Sun to The Jericho Trilogy, Draper knows what young readers want, and she delivers on every level.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Annette Lamb on January 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover
STELLA BY STARLIGHT by Sharon M. Draper provides a realistic portrayal of life in the segregated South during the Great Depression.

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.

(Edelweiss ARC)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.Davis on January 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Sharon Draper has worked her magic again. Stella by Starlight is an amazing story and a MUST read! I enjoyed my journey through Bumblebee, N.C. Sharon Draper's choice of words made me feel as if I was there and living it. Being able to walk in the shoes of Stella and countless others was an awesome experience. I've heard millions of stories about growing up in the south but this was so deeply lifelike. It was extremely difficult to put this book down.
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Format: Hardcover
Stella lives in a small, segregated town in Western North Carolina, right on the eve of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's election. She has to go to a different school where she's no good at writing, she's not allowed in certain stores or the local library and some white people can be downright unpleasant. But things are mostly fine for her and her family until one starry night when Stella sees a burning cross, and her once peaceful community is upended by the Ku Klux Klan.

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.
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