*Stella Mills’ character is loosely based on the author’s grandmother who grew up in a small, segregated African-American town similar to the fictional town of Bumblebee. Like the protagonist in the story, Sharon Draper’s grandmother enjoyed writing by moonlight. Narrator Heather Alicia Simms’s rich and expressive voice is a perfect match for Stella by Starlight.
11-year-old Stella Mills lives in Bumblebee, North Carolina with her parents and younger brother, Jojo. One night, when Stella and Jojo should be asleep, they witness the KKK burning a cross; a sure sign that the Klan is back. This is an election year and the Klan’s renewed presence is meant as scare tactics to keep Bumblebee’s citizens from registering to vote. In this coming-of-age story, Stella yearns to find out if she has a special calling and what her place in this world might be. Despite the racism, hatred, and injustice that she witnesses and endures, she experiences the power of love, family, and community while discovering her own inner strength and courage.
Another great North Carolina book to listen to:
* Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Historical Focus: Biltmore Estate and the Vanderbilt family.
Note: This is a great Halloween read for those who like books about things that go “bump” in the night. It’s the first book I’ve read for this project that I’d label as “Horror”.