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|Stella by starlight|
Author: Draper, Sharon M.
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 171389
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 64659
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/14)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (02/15)
The Hornbook (00/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2014 It’s 1932 in segregated Bumblebee, North Carolina, and times are tough for the tiny town. The residents of Stella’s African American neighborhood scrape together what they can to get by, and that spirit of cooperation only grows stronger when Stella and her brother, Jojo, spot a Klan rally close by. Tensions are high, and nearly everyone is frightened, but Stella’s community bands together to lift each other’s spirits and applaud one another’s courage, especially when Stella’s father and a few other men register to vote, undaunted by the cruel and threatening remarks of some white townspeople. Brave Stella, meanwhile, dreams of becoming a journalist and writes down her feelings about the Klan. Inspired by her own grandmother’s childhood, Draper weaves folksy tall tales, traditional storytelling, and hymns throughout Stella’s story, which is punctuated by her ever-more-confident journal entries. This uplifting and nostalgic tale of community and family movingly captures both 10-year-old Stella’s relatable experiences as well as the weighty social issues of the period. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 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 - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2015 The Klan may be active in Stella’s Depression-era town of Bumblebee, North Carolina, but her close community wraps around her like a warm hug. After she and her brother, sneaking out in the middle of the night, see a cross-burning at a nearby pond, they alert the men of their neighborhood, who meet and decide that they won’t be intimidated. Her mother responds by organizing a community potluck feast, and the storytelling and jokes fly fast and thick, reminding all of them that they are strong enough to stand against any enemy. Stella’s father, inspired and joined by the pastor and a few other men, registers to vote, taking and passing an unfair test and paying an unfair fee, sticking to their purpose. The Klan responds by burning the home of one of the men, but the entire black community and some of the white people in town pour out enough donations for the family to share. Each of the events in the story provides contextual information about everyday life in a segregated Southern town in 1932, but in a nonintrusive way, and the third-person narration of Stella’s thoughts and experiences is accessible and compelling. There are no disreputable characters among Stella’s neighbors, and while all of the mean-spirited or dubious characters are white, there are also helpful and welcoming white store-owners as well, lending some nuance to the overall picture. Despite the home-burning and the intimidation, the scenes of actual violence are relatively mild, and the stories-within-the-story are cleanly funny or uplifting, making this a good choice for a readaloud for younger students. KC - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.