School's out! School's out! This summer you can not only keep your kids reading, you can make sure they get some exposure to varying cultures, as well! Multicultural Kid Blogs has just launched their second annual Read Around the World Summer Reading Series, in which books for kids ages baby to teen will be featured on weekdays in June, July, and August. Today is my turn, and I've chosen a chapter book perfect for kids 8 to 12. It was just published last winter and I know it is going to reap some major awards for 2015, because it is so beautifully written and so vert readable! It would make a perfect read aloud, too, if you're looking for a book to share with your kids as a group, or to listen to in the car on a long trip. Enjoy!
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (ages 8-12)
I'm thrilled that Sharon Draper has published a new chapter book! She's a phenomenal writer who has garnered several much-deserved awards. This time she uses her own family history as inspiration for the tale of a young African-American girl growing up in Depression-era North Carolina. Stella is 10 years old when she and her brother witness a Klan meeting that takes place very close to her home. Stella lives in a close-knit community that strives to overcome oppression and economic hardship with dignity and determination. Stella hopes to become a journalist when she grows up, and much of the novel consists of her journal entries. Her own journey is paralleled with an effort in the community to get three registered African-American voters to the polls.
There are several qualities that make Stella by Starlight a beautiful and engaging novel. First, Sharon Draper is a fine writer. She knows how to tell a story that is difficult to put down. Second, she's created a character that is extraordinarily brave, yet immensely humble and likable. Modern kids will find Stella, who is based on Draper's grandmother, a wonderful role model for creativity, courage, and strength of character. They'll also rip through Draper's storytelling, unable to put this novel down.
Find discussion questions, activities, and writing prompts based on this outstanding chapter book here.
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