Review of A Sky Full of Stars

A Sky Full of Stars
by Linda Williams Jackson
Middle School    Houghton    307 pp.    g
1/18    978-0-544-80065-6    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-328-82907-8    $16.99

In this sequel to Midnight Without a Moon (rev. 1/17), thirteen-year-old Rosa Lee Carter, part of a struggling sharecropper family in segregated mid-1950s Mississippi, continues her search for self. In the first book, Rosa and her community were left reeling by the murder, in a nearby town, of Emmett Till and the subsequent not-guilty verdict for his killers; now, her world is further complicated by a series of unprovoked assaults on and murders of African American men. The increasing racial strife, punctuated by reports of the Montgomery bus boycott, poses a dilemma for Rosa as she is caught between two conflicting tactics to effect change: peaceful protest advocated by her friend Hallelujah, the preacher’s son, or retaliatory violence espoused by her cousin Shorty (“So you tell me. Which one go’n work? Boycotts or bullets?”). When her aunt in St. Louis again offers her the opportunity to come live with her, Rosa instead decides to stay in Mississippi and help another aunt develop a business, cultivate a relationship with her estranged father and his new family, and keep hope alive that change is gonna come. With captivating characterization, the author has again credibly woven real historical events into a poignant story of hope, friendship, and aspiration, resulting in an insightful historical novel that could serve as a resourceful complement to contemporary discussions about social justice.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Pauletta Brown Bracy
Pauletta Brown Bracy is professor of library science at North Carolina Central University. She is chair of the 2015-2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee and serves on the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards committee.

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