A Sky Full of Stars

Linda Williams Jackson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-544-80065-6
Jackson’s novel—a sequel to Midnight Without a Moon, but easily read as a standalone—takes place in the town of Stillwater, Miss., in 1955, during the charged months following the death of Emmett Till and the acquittal of his killers. Thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter struggles with questions of race relations and political activism in her family and community. Rose and her brother are being raised by their grandparents—mean-spirited Ma Pearl and gentle Papa—who tend to a white family’s house and cotton plantation; the siblings’ parents are married to others and are absent from their lives. Jackson presents the lingering racist perspectives of white Southerners (“I wish the coloreds up north would realize how happy the coloreds are down here”) and, a little less smoothly, includes a lot of black history under the guise of conversation. The relentless killing of black men by whites is uncomfortably timely, as are the conflicts between Rose’s friend Hallelujah, who advocates peaceful demonstrations, and her cousin Shorty, who believes violence should be responded to in kind. Readers will be left with much to consider and discuss. Ages 10–12. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Genre: Children's
Audio Product - 978-1-328-82907-8
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