cover image The Magic in Changing Your Stars

The Magic in Changing Your Stars

Leah Henderson. Sterling, $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4549-3406-6

The value of family, perseverance, and believing in oneself takes center stage in this bighearted multigenerational story tinged with enchantment. An aspiring rapper and dancer, 11-year-old Ailey Lane is determined to play the Scarecrow in his school production of The Wiz, but the fifth grader bungles his audition, neglecting to learn his lines and forgetting his dance moves. When he informs his grandfather that he’ll never try out for anything again, the man tells Ailey about his own childhood choice, rooted in fear of failure, to pass up Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s invitation to “show him what I had,” a decision that scotched his tap dancing dreams and spawned lifelong regret. Trying on the tap shoes that Robinson gave to Grampa decades earlier, Ailey is transported to 1939 Harlem, where he doggedly tries to help his young grandfather “change his stars” by reversing his fateful decision. Henderson (One Shadow on the Wall) adds a dose of suspense as Ailey sorts out how, if at all, the tap shoes can help change history and return him home. The author leaves readers space for creative speculation and with genuine affection for the Lane family—in their past and present personas. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Clelia Gore, Martin Literary & Media Mgmt. (Aug.) [/em]