Read Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper Sarah Jane Coleman Online


When the Ku Klux Klan's unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella's segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. SomeWhen the Ku Klux Klan's unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella's segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn't bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they're never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella's community - her world - is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don't necessarily signify an end....

Title : Stella by Starlight
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781442494978
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Stella by Starlight Reviews

  • Lois R. Gross
    2019-06-10 07:53

    This is the type of book that I dearly wish young people would read instead of Wimpy Kids or SpongeBob. This is a book with depth and history and real feeling and one that speaks to how young people can be brave and special when the opportunity presents itself. Stella is a young African American girl in the segregated south during the time between the wars. Her parents work hard to give her and brother education and ethics in a world where they can see that they are treated unfairly because of their color. The KKK is alive and well in their town and the white doctor in the town, who should be fixing illness, spreads the poison of intolerance along with other grown white men. Stella and her friends and family are reasonably terrified of the Klan, but Stella is taught that courage begins with walking out of the house every day and facing your fears, even when they come with ironed white sheets. When Stella's father, minister, and another friend try to register to vote, the Klan has their revenge by burning the home of a friend. The community comes together to rebuild the house. However, when Stella's mother, who knows a great deal about healing, is bitten by a snake, the white doctor refuses to treat her. Stella's mother is saved by her Stella's own common sense and the courage of a neighbor who runs for help. Meanwhile, Stella tries to find her own purpose in life through writing, something she is not perfect at but is determined to learn. With all the warmth of homeplace and the reality of life in the South, this is one of Sharon Draper's wonderful stories that should have a place on many reading lists. Highly recommended.

  • Taryn Pierson
    2019-05-26 08:39

    I first encountered Sharon Draper's work when I was teaching freshmen who read below grade level. Her books are written for a middle grade audience, but they deal with complex and compelling themes, so they were perfect for my students. Now that I've escaped the teaching profession, I read her books for my own edification and enjoyment. Stella by Starlight may be written with younger readers in mind, but adults will find plenty to like too.It's 1932 in Bumblebee, North Carolina, where Stella Mills lives with her parents and little brother Jojo. Segregation affects nearly every aspect of their lives. Stella and her friends have to walk a mile to school every day, even though they pass by the white school on the way. They have to enter the stores on Main Street from the back door, and some they're not allowed in at all. Stella's father is legally entitled to vote, but poll taxes and intimidation from government officials make it nearly impossible. Still, Stella hasn't ever felt anything but safe in Bumblebee. That is, until the night she and Jojo sneak out of the house and happen upon members of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on the other side of the pond. They hurry back home without being seen, but the Klan's activities in their small town are certain to stir up trouble. Stella and her family and the rest of the African-American community will have to decide how to stand up for themselves without putting their lives in danger, a task that may prove impossible. Hate can be a powerful force.The language in the book, particularly the dialect Draper imagines for her characters, is lilting and beautiful. I also love how she weaves song into the narrative, a choice I don't usually like, but which in this case helps bring the story to vivid life. Stella by Starlight engages all the senses, with descriptions of potluck dinners and starry, chilled nights. Most of all it reminds me that there is beauty in brokenness, and that no matter your circumstances, you can comport yourself with dignity and self-respect. More book recommendations by me at

  • Grace
    2019-06-14 03:09

    I loved this book . . . until the end. It would have been 5 stars, if not for the ending. What happened? Stella is a lovely girl. She likes to learn, loves her family and is brave when confronted with challenging, scary and dangerous events. She deals with racism every single day, but still hopes for the future. She leaps off the page like a real person, and so do the families in her neighborhood, and her supportive, creative teacher. Suspense built quickly, through the chapters with the KKK, and voting, and the snake. But then in the last two chapters, it just ended without resolving a final, surprising twist. Why? Except for that bit, the book doesn't seem overall to set up the reader for a sequel. It's as if the author had enough and ended without a conclusion. But this is Sharon Draper! Author of Out of My Mind, the best book written ever for a reader to identify with and understand a kid with a severe disability! I don't get it. So, this book is recommended, but with a reservation about the end.

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-06-18 09:57

    This is Draper’s newest release, following the success of her best-seller Out of My Mind. In Stella by Starlight, Draper brings us to the segregated south in the middle of the Depression. The story begins when eleven-year-old Stella and her little brother Jojo happen across nine robed figures dressed all in white. Stella and her family, along with the small black community they live among in Bumblebee, North Carolina, confront this new reality with fear and anger and courage. In one scene, in which the black men of the community gather to register to vote for the first time, the voting registrar warns, “You’re gonna be real sorry you did this.” The pastor replies, “Sorrow is part of life.” And sorrow is so clearly etched in this story, but joy and triumph too. Geared for readers 9 to 13, I would recommend this historical novel for any middle grader and beyond. — Karina Glaserfrom The Best Books We Read in April:

  • Donna
    2019-06-22 01:49

    I have really mixed feelings about this book. Parts of it I really loved, but other parts seemed really uneven. The book seemed to leave too many things hanging, it did not feel completed. I really loved Stella's writing, probably my favorite part of the book.

  • Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
    2019-06-12 05:48 By Starlight was phenomenal, poignant and inspirational. Told through the eyes of twelve year old Stella in 1932, after witnessing the Ku Klux Klan burning a sacrificial crucifix in the middle of the night. Stella lives in a world of segregation, where one day she dreams of a world where everyone is equal, regardless of colour. Slavery may have ended, but the community of Bumblebee will never be free. Living in fear of being the next victims of the Klan, Stella's own father is determined to make a stand, if not for himself, but for his children to find strength in his own actions. He enrolls to vote. 'For once in my life, I must be a man,' Papa replied. 'I'd like to think I am standing up, along with Mr. Spencer and Pastor Patton, standing up for all of us. If I don't stand up, I feel like I'm crouching low. And I ain't gonna feel low no more.'Throughout the storyline, Stella begins to share her inner thoughts in the form of short stories. She's a strong willed girl living in a time of prejudice and injustice, but shares the underlying message of hope. I loved her fiercely, wavering between wanting to protect her against the cruel history of segregation and championing her to spread her wings. As the saying goes, It takes a village to raise a child, no truer word has been spoken about the Bumblebee community. They band together through the threats of the Klan, a devastating house fire and a child beating. It's confronting, uncomfortable and incredibly emotional. But a story that needs to be told.But beneath the brutality, lies a beautiful story about family, hope and the spirit of a community that won't be broken.Nearly the entire negro population of Bumblebee stood in the street, quietly waiting while the three men voted.This isn't just another middle grade novel, it's an experience.

  • Haley Duncan
    2019-06-09 03:08

    This book was sad, but inspiring. Stella's family is black and so are all their friends in Bumblebee, North Carolina. They live in a segregated town where the Ku Klux Klan is back and constantly threatening everyone. As Stella saves 4 peoples lives throughout the book, she realizes that anyone can be a hero and that being black doesn't make any difference.

  • Joyce Yattoni
    2019-05-26 04:47

    I do enjoy listening to books and this book was no exception. Although Stella is only about the age of a middle schooler she is wise beyond her chronological age. Growing up in Bumblebee, NC in 1933, during segregation, Stella and her family are forced to endure the humilities of being a black person in the South. The KKK is alive and well. The hatred shown toward her family is heartbreaking. My favorite scene in the story is when Stella's father and two other black men go to register to vote so they can vote for FDR for President. The hoops they made these men jump through just to vote was ridiculous. Did you know you had to pay a fee and take a test in order to get your voter's registration card in NC at this time? Stella showed courage throughout the story when she first noticed the clan, again when she found a lost girl in the woods, saved her Momma from a snake bite, and stood up to racist bigots in town. Throughout all of this Stella begins to write about her experiences. I loved how the author showed her struggle with the writing process. If you enjoy learning about history and the racism and hatred that permeated society this is the book for you.

  • Mike Zinn
    2019-06-08 07:53

    First of all- I received this book for free. Now that I've taken care of that, I loved it and can't wait to pass it on to my granddaughters to read. As others have said, this is the kind of book I want them to be reading. I have no problem with Harry Potter, or Hunger Games etc., but I think they need to mix in a few things more attached to the world they live in, and this book does a great job of it. Stella is a great character, and her story is told in such a beautiful way that most anyone would find the book enjoyable. And yet, it deals with serious subjects, like racism and poverty, but is also full of the love that can exist within family and community. this should be on the must-read list for middle graders.

  • Kirsten
    2019-06-25 04:07

    Beautiful story about segregation and hate, the power of a group, writing, and listening to your inner voice. I loved it.

  • Barb Middleton
    2019-06-11 07:41

    In 1932 Jim Crow laws were in full swing and African Americans were threatened by the Klu Klux Klan. Racism and prejudice was rampant, but bonds and connections made blacks united and connected to their community like family. The strength of this novel is the atmosphere created and wonderful dialogue, voice, and rhythms that Sharon Draper rat-a-tats throughout the pages. Stella by Starlight, the title, is a song by the famous African American singer, Ella Fitzgerald. This is a tale to dance by under a full moon. Eleven-year-old Stella Mills lives in segregated Bumblebee, North Carolina with her mom, dad, and younger brother, JoJo. When the two kids spot the Klan burning a cross across the pond from their home, fear sears through the tight-knit community for the last time that happen a man was murdered. The African American community gathers at Stella's house to discuss the events and look out for the children. Everyone is on edge and expecting changes because it is an election year with Hoover and Roosevelt running against each other for the presidency. When Stella's father decides to take a stand and vote with two other African American men, the tension mounts even more and things get ugly. I'm starting to see the same story threads over and over in children's books. One is the child that struggles in school with reading or writing and learns to rise above it and believe in himself or herself. Ella struggles with writing that seems to be the result of serious writer's block and being left-handed. She edits heavily before getting her story on paper that makes it difficult for her to get started. The only time she can write is outside under the moon in the middle of the night. I was a bit bored with the beginning when we first learn of her battle with putting pencil to paper, mainly because I've read quite a few books like this as of late. But the author makes it interesting as Stella learns to deal with her writing handicap. Stella can write but struggles with conventions. Her writing is thought-provoking, truthful, and full of edits. That first draft for her is painful, like it is for many of us. She is persistent at trying to improve and her hard-work shows at the end with improved writing and a desire to maybe become a reporter. The injustices are ticked off throughout the story. The African Americans can't vote, can't go to the white doctor, can't go to the library, can't go to the new, better-resourced school, and so on. This is balanced by how rich their community is in caring for each other and showing solidarity when the Klan tries to intimidate them. There are some white people that show kindness, but for the most part it shows how Stella and Tony discover evil and hatred in other humans. The overarching theme is Stella discovering the power of the human spirit. People can choose to be evil or good, to hate or love, to lie or be honest, to fear or be brave. Stella finds power in writing and speaking the truth and she sees how to face the ugliness of racism by the strength of her community and making different choices. She learns to stand up against social injustices. These themes are woven by characters that sing and tell folk tales that gives the story a rhythm, voice, and cadence that is beautiful. While it shows the tightness of the African American community, some might find the song and community building slow. The songs show how it gave them strength to rise above social injustices, to be joyful, and to find hope. The storytelling was another way to rise above circumstances and the peddler and school teacher's story add depth. I thought the incidence with the white girl predictable. However, it supports the overarching theme of choice in human beings regardless of the color of their skin. This can be a starting point for discussions on fear, humaneness, and courage. Storytelling, oral traditions, writing and song are ways to get people to unite, to think about social injustices, and live a life that is full of potential. Draper is a terrific writer. The rhythms and steady beat of family and friends point to bigger truths for all of us. Don't miss this one.

  • Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
    2019-05-30 02:42

    You can read my full review on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom's Book Review: Stella by Starlight Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters; POC authorStella by Starlight was a wonderful middle grade historical fiction.  I am so impressed with how Draper was able to write a book set in the 1930s in the deep segregated South that depicted the harsh realities of people of color during these times while still keeping it appropriate for her middle grade audience.What a perfect book to teach children about life in the 1930s under heavy segregation.  This book addresses things like the fear of hate groups like the KKK, the separation of white and black children in schools, the fact that professionals could refuse services to people of color, and so much more that people of color had to deal with during these times.Can I also say how much I appreciated that Draper chose to write a main character who struggles in school?  More often then not, many characters within the middle grade genre are all either advanced or the other end of the spectrum and are too lazy and don’t care about school.  It isn’t too often I come across a character who legitimately struggles in school, but wants to do well.  I think that many children will see a bit of themselves in Stella.  I admired Stella’s hard work and determination in her commitment to self improvement.There are so many great themes within these pages: family, bravery, perseverance, community, etc.  A big part of this book is standing up for what is right, despite those who are trying to bring you down.  Another big part was the sense of community and how this black community was such a tight-knit group who stood together in the good times and in the bad.  It was very empowering and uplifting, despite the fact that this is a book centered around such a horrible subject like racism.This would be a great book to read along with your children to open up a dialogue about life in the 1930s under segregation laws.  This could also be a wonderful book to utilize in a classroom setting, possibly for black history month, but really any time of the year.  No need to wait until February.The author mentions on the back cover flap that she was inspired for this book from a diary of her Grandmother’s she found.  Her Grandmother was not able to attend school past the 5th grade, but that didn’t stop her from going out every night to write by the moonlight.  I love learning where author draw inspiration for their works.  I was interested to learn that Sharon M. Draper actually lives an hour south of me in Cincinnati OH.  Maybe I will get the opportunity to see her at an event in the future.

  • C.E. G
    2019-06-14 04:44

    Stella by Starlight is possibly the most complex, poignant, moving writing for children on modern race relations I've read, which is depressing considering the story is about the KKK in 1930s rural North Carolina. In this book, we're reminded that there are no neatly tied up, harmonious, happy endings to the destructive forces of racism. Stella's family and neighbors are beat up, denied life-saving medical care, terrorized, and disenfranchised politically and economically. The power of the black community is also depicted beautifully by Draper, but black creativity, faith, and connection doesn't abate the cruelty of the white characters.I have to share one passage that just killed me. There's a thread of the story in which Stella discovers one of the identities of a KKK leader, and she wrestles with whether or not to expose his identity. Exposing his identity would potentially endanger her family, but there's also this impulse that beats in her to bring the truth to light. But then, some things happen toward the end, and she writes this journal entry:[The KKK member] is full of hate. [His family] knows that is the truth. So does every living soul in Bumblebee.So there is really nobody to tell.This lack of listeners just resonated so strongly - it feels like every week, if not more frequently, my newsfeed is lit up with another black person murdered by the state. The truth is being told over and over, and over, and over. I hope that this truth telling is changing structures and hearts and mindsets, but if that change is happening, it's slow, and being met with reactive, angry dismissal. And telling the truth can still endanger you - see Sandra Bland; see the MOA organizers.The white characters would be interesting to discuss with teens or adults as well - there's a diversity of "good intentions" here, and none of them are there to make white people feel good about themselves.Great read, great book club choice. Strongly affecting book.

  • Ms. Yingling
    2019-06-25 03:09

    Stella and her brother are sneaking around in the woods near their house in Bumblee, North Carolina one night, and see the Klu Klux Klan burning a cross. They know how serious this is, and run right home to tell their parents, who are scared and angry at the children for putting themselves in danger. The community is aware that African Americans in the south in the 1930s are supposed to keep to their "place", but they also know that things are changing. Stella questions why the school for white children is so much better; she struggles with her writing, but works very hard in school, and starts her own newspaper when she is given a typewriter. Stella's father and several other local men decide to register to vote-- they jump through all of the unnecessary hoops that the white men set for them, and manage to go vote, even though the reaction of the Klu Klux Klan is to burn down the house of one of the men, displacing his large family. The community rallies to help. There are more ordinary events going on in Bumblebee, and Stella and her family enjoy Christmas pageants, visits from a traveling vendor (my mother referred to the one that visited her family as "the dish man", so that was fun to read!), and soldiers on through triumphs and tragedies. Strengths: This was clearly a labor of love on Draper's part, and she has drawn on the childhood of her mother to put together these stories. Civil Rights in the 1930s are covered occasionally in middle grade literature, but not very often, so this is an interesting book to add to Draper's oeuvre. Weaknesses: Historical fiction is a hard sell in my library, and at 336 pages, this is rather lengthy. I would have liked to see this without the lengthy stories and songs that are included; I know this follows the African American tradition of storytelling, but slowed the story down for me. While they give more atmosphere to the setting, they dilute the Civil Rights message. Still, I will look forward to the book Ms. Draper is going to write about her father's childhood experiences.

  • Angela Critics
    2019-05-31 07:47

    Absolutely beautiful work of historical fiction for middle grade readers about an amazingly strong young girl. This story is loosely based on the author's grandmother and is dedicated to her father. It speaks directly to the heart. There are so many layers to this book. Storytelling and singing and a real sense of community serve as a counter to the awful experiences of segregation and discrimination. So while the book doesn't shy away from the horrors of the Ku Klux Clan and other evils of race relations, it doesn't feel like a dark, depressing story. It's a story of human determination, mutual support and love, and the importance of family and friends.

  • Mary
    2019-06-22 06:44

    A fine historical fiction choice for upper elementary and middle school readers. Set during the Great Depression, we meet Stella, a young girl with a loving family living in Jim Crow south. The KKK becomes active putting Stella, her family, and community in danger. A story of perseverance, empathy, and strength.

  • Catherine
    2019-05-29 01:54

    Sharon M. Draper’s historical fiction, Stella By Starlight, has a beautiful overall message over all. The story takes place in the mid 1900s in Bumblebee, North Carolina. Stella is African American girl. Being an African American girl and living during the 1900s is a tough time for her. The black people of Bumblebee are highly discriminated against and get very little money, public services, support and respect from white people. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) makes their way into town. The Ku Klux Klan is a group of extreme racists that commit hate crimes against African Americans. Stella, her family, and the black community need to stay strong and stick together in this time of hardship. One theme in this story suggests in times of hardship it is very important to have faith in the others around you. This theme is shown in many places around the book to when Stella was going to school and eating dinner with her family. A few main moments were this theme was shown was when the Spoon man comes, when the Spencer's house burns on fire, and when Mr. Spencer, Mr Hobart, and Stella's father go to register to vote.Even though Stella by Starlight had a good theme this story will not go on my favorites list. I found the pace of the story very slow and I felt it dragged on through Stella's everyday life. The story also was an easier read for me which could also have caused me to not like it as much. I also did not like how everything in the story happened at the end. There was no dramatic buildup to anything that happened. Overall I gave Stella by Starlight two stars. I gave Stella by Starlight two stars because the story itself did not grab my attention but the story has a beautiful theme and the author does a very good job showing it in the story.

  • Alan 김 승 주
    2019-05-27 07:00

    Good book, it was very deep into the matter of segregation.One part that I think could've been made better is the difference between the main events and not as important events, there weren't many events that felt important to me in the beginning in the story but in the final parts of the story there were some very key moments, such as (spoilers) Tony getting injured/beaten up, and Stella and Jojo finding their mom has been bitten by a snake. I also felt as if some events were a bit added on, but at the same time, I think they were necessary to the plot/story. So, my feelings are a bit mixed. I am not criticizing this book, obviously, it was a very good book and it was fun to read. Overall, though, this was a great book and I liked it.

  • Aaron
    2019-06-25 03:47

    A slice of life story of a young girl and her family living in North Carolina in 1932. Stella's family lives through some of the racial turmoil of that time. Full of thrilling events that test her family's mettle, readers will be excited with the action and also distressed at the racism they are forced to endure. The ending of the novel was not the tidy conclusion that you would expect from a story, because Stella's family had to continue to persevere. That racism did not end, and life went on. This, it seems, is one of the points of the book. Indeed, there is a moment in which Stella has to decide whether to let the people in the town know about a particularly egregious event that takes place late in the book. She decides that everyone in town already knows that the perpetrator is a racist, and responsible for many despicable acts. She doesn't really announce it to townsfolk. I struggled with this one part of the ending for a while. We teach kids to speak up, and I'm not saying they don't fight racism in this book, they certainly do, but at one of many pivotal moments the response is a little muted. I have been thinking that this is likely realistic for people in that situation, and perhaps they had to fight battles that they had a chance to win, instead of all of the ones that worth fighting. Certainly, this is a novel full of points worth discussing and this is one of them for me. This is a really well written, thought provoking read.

  • Terris
    2019-06-19 08:02

    This story of Stella, a young girl living in North Carolina during the depression, tells of her family's and neighbors' experiences with prejudice, need, and the Ku Klux Klan. It seems fairly realistic, except for the three different times that Stella saved people's lives. This made it seem more juvenile, however, it is a children's book (Grades 4-8), so it didn't harm the book at all (this is just from an adult's point of view). Otherwise, it was a sweet story and a sweet girl trying to do her best. I enjoyed it a lot!

  • RA
    2019-06-11 01:42

    Would recommendI think this is great historical fiction for younger readers, and that's hard to find. In the first scene, Stella and her brother see the KKK in their town, and I expected to see a big triumph over them at the end, but I'm kind of glad that there wasn't resolution to that scare. Obviously, we are still dealing with that today, so to "resolve" the KKK in the space of one book wouldn't have been realistic. I really appreciated the parts about getting registered to vote and the inequity in the process through the eyes of young Stella. It's all just really well done.---ETA notable quotes that I flagged: Her father looked to the distance, out across the pond. "Sometimes I just get tired of bowin' down and givin' up, you know?"It was Dr. Hawkins who nodded in agreement. He placed a hand on Papa' broad shoudler, but then he added, "You know, Jonah, sometimes it's best to wait till times get better.""And when will that be?"Stella hunkered over her toes. She knew none of them had an answer. (Chapter 12)---If you are afraid, then those who foster hatred will win. Is that what you want? (Pastor Patton, Chapter 17)---"Everybody knows colored folks don't have money to buy the stuff in this catalog," Carolyn reasoned. "It's pretty much a book for white people, so that's who's in it."Stella looked at her friend in frustration. "But colored people need shoes and hammers and nice dresses. They spend their money too.""That's why I'm gonna be rich," Carolyn asserted. "So it doesn't matter what color I am." (while the girls are looking at the Sears Roebuck catalog, Chapter 26)---"There are no answers," Papa said. "You just gotta keep goin' for your family, like the pastor told us. Sometimes bravery is just doin' what you gotta do." (Chapter 30)Nobody had everything, but everybody had something to offer. (helping the Spencer family after the fire, Chapter 32)

  • Cathy
    2019-06-05 05:00

    There were so many loose ends in this story! So many different storylines and no real resolutions. I was prepared to LOVE this book, and it does have interesting views into life for Black people in Depression era South, but the book itself was a disappointment.

  • Maryellen Greer
    2019-06-17 05:58

    Break out the tissues, you'll need them for this one. There is so much to love in this book, but one absolute gem is getting to watch Stella as she becomes a better nonfiction writer, first by hand and then as she tries to master writing on a typewriter.

  • Carol Royce Owen
    2019-06-19 08:01

    Teachers take note! Here is a new one from Sharon Draper that is sure to be one you will want for Civil Rights studies. The book is Stella by Starlight and gives a portrayal of a black community's existence in the deep south during the 1930s.Stella is a young girl growing up in Bumblebee, North Carolina in 1932, a town with both blacks and whites, but with stores and businesses that will allow blacks, but some which do not. It is a time when segregation still exists, but voting rights have been given to blacks, although few dare to try to register. Stella's dad and two others do dare, however, and with Ku Klux Klan trouble already stirring in their town, they know their actions could result in more. Stella accompanies her dad to register and sees first hand the injustice as white men need only sign their name while blacks are forced to take a test on the Constitution and pay for registering.This is a book about decisions that black people were forced to make in their daily lives, whether to be submissive, and remain in bondage to some white people who wanted to ground them underfoot, or whether to rise up for their rights. Stella, herself, faces decisions, too. Having been a witness to a recent KKK rally, does she have the bravery to write about it for an essay contest? Can she face the white doctor, a known KKK member, to get medical help? Can she overcome her own doubts and write down all of her thoughts and ideas even when she doesn't think she's very good at it?There is no "happily ever after" in this book, because as we know, that's not how history happened for many blacks in the south. There was hatred. There was fear. There was injustice. But there were also those who went about their jobs every day, making a living so they could support their families. White people and black alike, who were willing to give when hardship and devastation came, even when it meant going against family beliefs. And there were those who were willing to rise and take a stand so the evil would know it would not always win. Grades 4-8

  • Maggie
    2019-06-03 09:52

    Did I enjoy it? Yes. I listened to the audiobook (narrated very well by Heather Alicia Simms), and even though I’m a bit out of the 9-13 age range, I enjoyed the story.Would I read it again? Sure. I like listening to it, but I might want to read the print version at some point in the future.Who Would I Recommend It To? People interested in historical fiction, especially historical fiction set in the 1930s south, which is not a time period/area that has a lot of literature focusing on people of color readily available.Any other thoughts? There were parts of the story that I didn’t necessarily like, the characters were very morally black or white (in that, they either were completely good, like the lady who owned the candy store, or completely bad, like Doctor Patton, with no shades of gray), and Stella seemed to spend most of her time being the hero of her small town (what on earth would they do without Stella around to save the day all the time?!). That being said, I think a lot of that comes from the intended age range of the readers. It’s not an adult book, so it skims over a lot of the more adult discussions of race relations and civil rights in the south (not that I don’t think younger readers should be sheltered from those types of discussions, but I understand why the author might choose to simplify things a bit).I did enjoy the inclusion of storytelling and spirituals used throughout the story. From what I understand that is a real and important aspect of African American storytelling and history, and I enjoyed seeing it used here (I may be wrong, please correct me if I am. I’m actually very interested in learning more about the oral traditions of African American culture!). Heather Alicia Simms has a lovely voice, and brought the whole town of Bumblebee to life.I also enjoyed Stella’s writing practice. You could see how she was becoming more confident throughout the story, and her short observational pieces were fun.

  • Patrice
    2019-06-11 03:50

    When Stella receives a typewriter as a surprise gift from her neighbor, she decides to try to be a "reporter", even if she is the only one who ever reads the Stella Star Sentinel. Stella lives in a small community in rural North Carolina, somewhere close to Raleigh. Her friends and neighbors are segregated from the town folks, and are struggling to make a living, but rich in family love and neighborly friendship. That is not to say that all is wonderful in Stella's world, there are many struggles. Their school is a ramshackle affair, without modern books, and heated with a potbelly stove, and most of the children don't have shoes, there is even a family with 13 children who attend school every other day so they can stay at home to help with chores. A fire destroyes a neighbors home, and the community comes together to help.Stella struggles to write, and likes to sit on the porch steps at night after everyone is asleep so she can practice alone. One night she witnesses a Klu Klux Klan gathering and recognizes one of the Klansmen. The families of Stella's community face the struggles of early 20th century America, prejudices, the right to vote, segregation. This book is written in a charming way, but not too sweet.I enjoyed reading about Stella and her family, and would read more if another book were to come along.

  • Sara
    2019-06-09 05:49

    I appreciated the sentiment behind this. The author's notes at the beginning and end describe how Draper was inspired by the lives of her grandmother and father. The close-knit black community of Bumblebee and its traditions were my favorite part of the book: the food, the school, the church services. The writing was colorful and vivid. My other favorite part was Stella's writing practice, including all of her scratched out words and changes. This was a good way to show her thought process and how she was progressing in her writing skill.However, the depiction of the community also seemed romanticized and therefore too simplistic to me. The book flap says ages 9-13, but to me it read younger because of this. It didn't add anything to my understanding of racism, its causes, or effects. Not all of the white people were racist, but all the racists were cartoonishly malicious. Draper made a half-hearted effort to develop the character of Paulette, daughter of the worst racist doctor and KKK Grand Dragon, but her backstory was pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be. The two incidents towards the end involving sickness felt like devices to move the plot forward, rather than naturally arising out of the story.Overall, a pleasant read but I had to force myself to keep going because the plot just wasn't very compelling.

  • Abby Johnson
    2019-06-03 03:41

    Stella has the soul of a writer, but not the talent of one... not yet. She longs to put down on paper the things she feels so strongly about - how it feels to witness the Ku Klux Klan rally across the pond from her African-American neighborhood - but she always makes mistakes and the words don't come out how they sound in her mind. Self-conscious about it, Stella steals away in the night to practice writing outside at night - nobody judges her writing by starlight. Trouble is here in the small town of Bumblebee, North Carolina, and when Stella's papa and two other men in town try to register to vote, the Klan starts rearing its ugly head. This is the story of a town coming together to fight against injustice and protect their own. This is an interesting portrait of a small town in the 1930s and the story is told with a lot of heart. I kept thinking of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry as I was reading - a lot of similar issues are addressed here: the black kids going to the black school while the white kids have a nicer school and newer books, the struggles of poor families to survive, hate crimes from the KKK. While I found Stella's voice occasionally too mature to be believable, I enjoyed experiencing her story.

  • Harun Harahap
    2019-06-17 10:02

    Gue besar tidak sebagai minoritas kecuali kulit gue yang terlalu terang untuk orang sekitar. Namun, selebihnya gue adalah bagian dari mayoritas. Terkadang tentu rasanya tidak mengenakkan menjadi minoritas. Apalagi ketika keputusan dan aturan dibuat hanya menguntungkan pihak mayoritas. Ini juga yang bisa kita lihat dari novel berlatar belakang tahun 1935 di Amerika Serikat ketika masih terjadi pemisahan berdasarkan ras.Kulit putih merasa lebih tinggi derajatnya daripada kulit hitam. Hal ini didukung oleh perbedaan keadaan ekonomi kedua belah pihak. Seakan-akan penderitaan kulit hitam tidaklah seberapa, hidup mereka jauh lebih suram ketika ada kelompok Ku Klux Klan yang berbuat kriminal seenaknya. Hukum menjadi bias karena sekali lagi yang berkuasa adalah pihak mayoritas.Di balik kekejaman yang dilakukan Ku Klux Klan, kita dapat melihat sinar kebaikan gadis kecil di dalam buku ini. Dari buku ini kita belajar bahwa kejahatan tidaklah selalu harus dibalas dengan kejahatan. Namun, dengan kebaikan ada terang yang membuat hidup menjadi lebih damai.

  • Jessica
    2019-06-17 04:52

    Here's where ratings get tricky and why audio can help or hurt a book. Was this a good children's book? Absolutely. Was it as good a book as others I've enjoyed by Sharon Draper? No. Was this a great historical fiction novel? Yup. Is it a book kids would enjoy on their own if not assigned in a class? I don't think so. That's my rub with this and with The War That Saved My Life. They teach great lessons for time and place (though I think Stella suffers from the time and place being the entire plot as opposed to the time and place guiding the characters like in The War, thus the higher rating), but are kids really interested? Parents and teachers, I would love to hear this from you. My problem with the audio of this book wasn't the performance; it was that a lot of the book sounded clunky and out of place, where if I was reading, my brain wouldn't focus on who was "saying," "focused," "shrieking," etc.