Written by Sharon M. Draper
Inspired by her grandmother’s diary, Draper relates the realistic tale of Southern black family during the Depression. The author dives right in with a cross being burned near Stella’s home on page one. The eleven-year-old does well in school, except for a continuing struggle with her writing. She has great ideas. She just can’t seem to get them on paper. So she goes to the barn at night to practice. When the Klan becomes more active and the weather turns colder, her parents plead with her to stay indoors. The year is 1932, and Stella’s father is determined to vote in the general election. He takes Stella with him when he registers to vote, and she sees the bravery he and two other men must show in order to get registered. The family faces many other battles as Stella’s brother suffers through the flu and Stella’s mother is bitten by a poisonous snake. The black doctor is unavailable and the white doctor refuses to treat her. The Klan burns the house of one of the men who also registered to vote. A man with thirteen children. Stella is a heroine when she finds the hiding place of one of the younger children, frightened by the fire. She also witnesses white men beat up her friend for no reason and saves the life of the daughter of the white doctor.
This exciting book will give fourth graders a good feel for both the Depression and the consequences of discrimination. Stella is a wonderful, though not perfect, child who everyone will identify with. Highly recommended.
- Title: Stella by Starlight
- Author: Sharon M. Draper
- Published: Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
- Grade Level: 4 to 8
- Genre: Fiction, History, Civil rights
- ISBN: 978-1-4424-9497-8