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|Galaxy of sea stars|
Author: Ferruolo, Jeanne Zulick
Izzy struggles with her parents' separation, starting middle school, and more, but especially the effect her friendship with her Muslim neighbor, Sitara, has on her best friends, Zelda and Piper.
Kirkus Reviews (-) (12/15/19)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 4–7—Sixth grader Izzy's life is changing. Her family has moved from the cottage she grew up in to the marina, her dad has returned from a deployment to Afghanistan with injuries and post traumatic stress disorder, and her mom is spending the summer on Block Island helping with her family's restaurant. In addition, her dad has invited Dr. Haidary and his family, including Sitara who wears a hijab and goes to her school, to move into the apartment upstairs. Even though Dr. Haidary saved her dad's life in Afghanistan, Izzy is initially resistant to welcoming the family. At least she has Piper and Zelda, the other two members of the Sea Stars, who have been her best friends since kindergarten. But this year is different; as Izzy starts spending more time with Sitara, she sees the racism and bullying she faces at school, and starts to question her friendship with Piper and Zelda. Numerous issues are addressed including changing family and friend dynamics and bigotry, however Izzy learns to use her voice to speak up for herself and others. While the characters and setting (a quaint coastal town) are strong, the message of tolerance does not totally resonate as Izzy has to reveal past secrets in order for her classmates to embrace Sitara. VERDICT A solid choice for libraries where titles exploring xenophobia and immigrant experiences circulate well.—Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga Public Library System, OH - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 Eleven-year-old Izzy Mancini is going through a rough period. Dad returned from Afghanistan injured and suffering from PTSD; Mom has spent the summer living away from the family, reevaluating her marriage; and Izzy is afraid that she might lose best friends Piper and Zelda when middle school begins. When Mom does not return home, as promised, and a refugee family (friends of Dad's from Afghanistan) moves in upstairs, Izzy's insecurity increases. She likes the new neighbors (especially Sitara, also 11), but Sitara's hijab elicits bullying and cruelty from other students, and Izzy isn't sure she has the courage to stand up for her. Ferruolo's latest novel, after Ruby in the Sky (2019), features complex and believable characters, a fully realized setting on the Rhode Island coast and Block Island, and a compelling story of overcoming fears. Both Izzy and Sitara are dealing with loss: Izzy's childhood house is being razed, while Sitara's entire family fled the Taliban. Details of Izzy's project mapping a local saltwater pond will also please STEM enthusiasts. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.