Stella by Starlight
By Sharon Draper
New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015.
Pages 320. Grades 5 and Up.
I think this might be my favorite book by best-selling author Sharon Draper. It is an historical fiction book set back in the 1930’s; some seventy years after the end of the civil war when African Americans were free but as you find out in Draper’s novel they were free, but not equal. This story is based on events from her father and grandmother journal talking about growing up in North Carolina. It opens with Stella and her younger brother Jojo witnessing a cross burning by the KKK. In the town of Bumblebee there is not just segregation but there is true hatred of the black people and the Ku Klux Klan’s goal is to terrorize blacks and instill fear. Stella does not understand this hatred and when her father decides to go to town with two other black men to register to vote—something that blacks did not get to do in the south, it stirred the KKK into action. Stella’s courage and bravery get tested over and over in this coming of age novel about giving voice to what you know is right.