"It is vital for young readers to have access to these kinds of stories."

Summary:

Stella Mills (11) is an African-American girl living in Bumblebee, North Carolina during the Great Depression. Segregation and discrimination permeate every aspect of her life. Still, Stella and her family manage to have a safe space within their own community and remain mostly unharmed. Things take a turn for the worse when she and her younger brother Jojo discover the local Ku Klux Klan burning a cross near their neighborhood. Stella’s family is forced to come to terms with what this means for their community and figure out how they will stand up for themselves without getting hurt in the process. In the process, Stella learns the importance of fighting for what is right, as well as what the true meaning of bravery is. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
Stella by Starlight is an important novel because it portrays a dark history that still affects the world we live in today. This book truly touched my heart. Not just because of its context, but also because of the message of hope that is portrayed. It doesn't gloss over the harsh details of what black families had to go through in a segregated society and shows how overt racism brought them so much fear and mental anguish. The author did a good job of showing Stella’s growth as she and her family faced multiple hardships, such as being restricted from voting or getting attacked by racists. I enjoyed following Stella’s journey as she realized her talent for writing and used it as a tool to express her feelings towards the racism black people face. The entire book was well-composed, and the author’s style of writing was very powerful.

It is vital for young readers to have access to these kinds of stories. They show the injustices black people have faced in the United States and demonstrate how intolerance can be so damaging. I highly recommend buying this book since it teaches many important lessons for the current generation. The best age group for this novel are readers between the ages of 10 to 15, although I would suggest giving it a try even if you are older. This is an incredible story that is sure to be remembered for years to come.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Compelling and timeless. Today's readers will be immersed in Stella's world as though it is their own, not one set in the late 1920s. As our teen reviewer notes: these are the stories that propel readers to actively work to change the world we live in.

Content Awareness Factors:

There are references to domestic violence. Also, Stella and her brother witness violence, though it is neither graphic nor gratuitous.


Type of Book:
This is a historical fiction novel about a black family facing racism and discrimination in their North Carolina town during the 1920s and 1930s.
Educational Themes:

There are many layers to the story. Although it is fiction, the kinds of prejudice and segregation faced by Blacks in America are not. Taking the readers back to the 1920s may give them a deeper perspective of how long these behaviors have endured.

As our reviewer notes, Stella grows as a character finding her talents. What things did your readers learn from Stella? Share what you learned, too. That will create some great discussion.

Reading Level:
4.8
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The writing is powerful and the messages are ones you'll come back to.

Title Stella by Starlight
Author Sharon Draper
Publisher Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Imprint Atheneum © 2016
ISBN 9781442494985
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Historical Fiction, Black History, 1900-1919, Social Issues
be the star you are
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