STELLA BY STARLIGHT by Sharon M. Draper provides a realistic portrayal of life in the segregated South during the Great Depression.
The author skillfully conveys the reality of life in a world where people are treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. From a random beating to a house burning, the scenes that demonstrate the terror instilled by members of the KKK are chilling. Through her use of age-appropriate examples, Draper is able to create convincing scenarios that convey both the injustice as well as the courage needed to survive in this period of intolerance and fear.
Many readers will empathized with Stella’s desire to be a writer as well as her difficulty in translating her thoughts into words on paper. Her use of the donated typewriter to write news article may inspire some budding authors.
Aimed at the middle grades, this outstanding work of historical fiction should be added to your school library’s growing collection of quality works dealing with African American life in the 20th century.
Like the works of Christopher Paul Curtis and Jacqueline Woodson, Draper is able to draw on both African American culture as well as universal human themes. This combination makes it a great book for literature circles, social studies, and language arts activities.
The year is just beginning, but put STELLA BY STARLIGHT on your Coretta Scott King Book Award short-list for 2015.
Edelweiss ARC used for review