23 March 2015
Stella by Starlight
Draper, Sharon. Stella by Starlight. Atheneum BFYR, 2015.
Stella's North Carolina town has been invaded by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Stella already knew that there were different rules for her than for the white children in her town, but this becomes even more obvious with the KKK becoming a part of her town. When a neighbor's house is burned to the ground, Stella witnesses her neighbors banding together to help each other, regardless of color.
Stella is a very likable character; I enjoy the fact that she gets up at night to "practice writing" since she thinks she's not very good at it. I was glad for the historical details, especially the mention of the fact that African-American men who wanted to vote had to pay a fee and take a complicated test, while white men could simply sign their name to the list of registered voters. This book would be an excellent read-alike for Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, especially for slightly younger children. Historical fiction isn't usually an easy thing to sell to kids, but this book would make an excellent classroom read aloud as well.
Recommended for: middle grade
Red Flags: obvious racism (no uses of the "n" word, however); one family's house catches fire and for a while the reader thinks one of the children has been trapped inside the building
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Unstoppable Octobia May, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, One Crazy Summer