- Grade Level: Preschool - 7
- Series: GOLDEN KITE HONORS (AWARDS)
- Hardcover: 36 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (December 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811821684
- ISBN-13: 978-0811821681
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stars in the Darkness Hardcover – December 1, 2001
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In the haunting yet buoyant picture book by bestselling, award-winning author Barbara M. Joosse and award-winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie, a young boy tells of his brother Richard's entrance into the world of "gang bangers." Richard has always made his little brother feel safe and loved, until he starts "walkin' that walk, like he's King Stuff." The boy watches warily: "Richard thinks I'm a little kid, but I'm not as little as he thinks. I know what I know." Finally, the boy and his mother take action, galvanizing the neighborhood to walk the streets at night, advocating peace.
Christie's striking paintings of the family and neighborhood are strong, eye-catching companions to Joosse's powerful story. Readers will feel great hope for the protagonist, as, even in a dark hour of his young life, he sees the flashlights carried by his neighbors as "stars crackin' the darkness," an image repeated from the beginning. Joosse's message is aimed directly at "the little sisters and brothers... the stars in the darkness." An author's note and list of gang prevention resources are included, making this more than just an urban storybook--it can serve as a real resource for children at risk for joining a gang. (Ages 5 to 9) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes, Mama and me look down at the street and pretend it's not the city," explains the wistful young African-American narrator of this affecting story by the author of Mama, Do You Love Me? But imagining that the sirens are "wild wolves howlin' at the moon" and that gunfire is "the light of the stars crackin' the darkness" can't cloak reality. In bed, with his older brother Richard holding him tightly, the boy acknowledges that he's afraid. When Richard begins staying out all night and one day comes home with his arm wrapped in a blood-soaked bandage, his brother and mother admit to each other that Richard has become a "gang banger." Mama says, "We can't pretend no more . We gotta be strong now." Richard does not quit the gang, but the ending offers both hope and inspiration: the neighbors band together to hold nightly "peace walks" in an attempt to discourage gang violence. Joosse explains in a concluding note that she told this story, based on the experiences of a real "banger," to reach gang members' little brothers and sisters"the stars in the darkness"and supplies a list of resources on gang prevention. Featuring bold hues and some arresting perspectives, Christie's (Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth) stylized acrylic paintings poignantly convey the anguish and sadness of this sympathetic narrator and his mother. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.