Monday, January 16, 2017

STELLA BY STARLIGHT by Sharon Draper for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and I'm commemorating it with another Diversity Monday here at My Brain on Books! This is a book I missed reading last year, so during my November/December blogging break, I caught up.




Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (hardcover January 2015, paperback March 2016, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 336 pages, for ages 9 to 13)

Synopsis (from the publisher):  It's 1932. Stella lives in the segregated South in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn't bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they're never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella's community, her world, is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don't necessarily signify an end.

Why I recommend it: Not only is the writing lovely, but this is an important story about a dreadful part of our history (which, unfortunately, in some ways is still going on). It's also written in a way that's accessible for the age group, despite the subject matter.

Furthermore, Stella is one of my new favorite MG characters, spunky, and smart, with so much honesty and heart that it fairly spills from the pages. Her struggles to write are relatable for any student who has trouble in school. This book may look long, but the 50 chapters are each quite short, some only two pages.

Favorite lines: "Stella loved the feel of that table--she loved to trace the circular patterns in the warm brown wood.  Made of elm and built by her father when he married her mother, the table was large, sturdy, and dependable--and so much more than a place for meals. " (from p. 4 of the paperback edition)

Bonus: An excellent discussion-starter about the KKK, segregation, and mistreatment of African-Americans, as well as life during the Great Depression.

Sharon M. Draper's website




Find links to other MMGM posts on Shannon Messenger's blog

Find plenty of diversity posts at Pragmatic Mom and The Logonauts

Read about Multicultural Children's Book Day here

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic story about a sad period in our life. And yes, I agree that sadly some of this is still going on. Beyond sad where we are as a country right now.

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  2. This book sounds great! I like that the book involves overcoming racism. Thanks for the review!

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    1. You're welcome, Completely. (Sorry, I don't know your name!)

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  3. Thanks for the reminder I need to read this one. It has been buried on my TBR list for too long. Timely post of an overwhelming important topic of the past and present.

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    1. Hope you do get a chance to read it, Greg.

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  4. One of my favorite books and authors. Lovely review about an important story. I just happen to live fairly near Sharon Draper and went to her book launch two years ago. The room was packed with her former students. What a great time it was. I love everything she writes. Thought about reviewing one of first trilogies today, Tears of a Tiger and Forged by Fire, but didn't get to it. It's the only thing I haven't reviewed. Her book "Out of My Mind" is being made into a movie.

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    1. I didn't know about the film version of Out of My Mind. Thank you, Patricia! And lucky you, getting to meet Sharon Draper!

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  5. She is a great writer. I thought OUT OF MY MIND was tremendous, and I look forward to reading STELLA BY STARLIGHT one of these days.

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    1. I still need to read OUT OF MY MIND. Yes, one of these days.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your review. My daughter read this when it first came out, and I know it impacted her greatly. I've been meaning to borrow it from her. I really appreciate the beauty of that quote.

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. Glad to hear your daughter was moved by it.

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  7. I will be looking for this book. It sounds terrific and I love the cover. Thanks for the heads up.

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    1. You're welcome, Rosi. I love the cover too!

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  8. This sounds fantastic and definitely one I will be looking out for. I read Out of My Mind by Draper and loved it. I love that this book will be one to start some important discussions. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess. It's a wonderful discussion starter.

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  9. I love Sharon Draper! And I saw her speak about Stella at NCTE in November, and I cannot wait to get to it :)

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    1. Oh, how fortunate you were to hear Sharon Draper talk about this book!

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  10. I think this is a beautifully written book. I loved the lines from the book that you shared. Looking forward to reading the book sometime. :)

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    1. The writing is gorgeous, Priya. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  11. A great review of a fabulously written book. I am glad you enjoyed reading this gem of a book too!

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    1. Thanks, Erik. Glad to hear you loved it as well.

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  12. I've heard such great things about this book, it sounds like a moving, inspiring story.

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    1. Hope you'll get a chance to read it someday, Jane. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. I loved this book. It was so powerfully written and so important for kids to read. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Glad you loved it too. It's definitely important for kids to learn about the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement.

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