Jump into the Sky
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Jump into the Sky

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  249 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Levi Battle's been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, and the war is nearly over, a...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
86th out of 116 books — 1,085 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenHigh in School by Salman AdityaThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
152nd out of 343 books — 591 voters


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Ms. Yingling
Expected publication: August 14th 2012 by Alfred a Knopf
Levi has been living with an aunt in Chicago since his mother left him and his father is in the army during in WWII. When his aunt tires of having him, she sends him off to where his father is stationed in the south. This is quite a culture shock for the smart, well-behaved boy who is subject to the Jim Crow behavior in this part of the US for the first time. To make matters worse, his father's unit has just been shipped to Oregon. Luckily,...more
Kristina Cardoza
SUMMARY
Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall was a great historical fiction book! It's 1945 in Chicago, and 13-year-old Levin Battle is being left--again! First his mother ran away, then his brave father was enlisted, so the government took him to serve in the U.S. army, then his new guardian, his grandmother, left (entirely), and he was stuck with his strict Aunt Odella, and now she wants him to leave and go to the place that his father was stationed--down South! When Levi gets there, he finds...more
Margo Tanenbaum
In her new historical novel Jump into the Sky, award-winning historical fiction author Shelley Pearsall explores a little known footnote in World War II history--the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the first black paratrooper unit in the U.S. Army.

The story of the 555th unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year old Levi, who's been living with his aunt in Chicago while his father serves in a secret Army mission. It's May, 1945, and the war is drawing to close. Levi's aunt decides to send him...more
Barbara
It's 1945 and WWII seems to be winding down. The aunt with whom he has been living in Chicago decides that it's time for the father of thirteen-year-old Levi Battle to do his part. It might seem cruel for her to send Levi out on his own in that way, but the author makes it clear that Aunt Odella has spent so much of her life taking care of others that she has little time for herself. Levi takes a train from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and then on North Carolina where his father is stationed. He...more
Christina
Another winner from author Shelley Pearsall. It's 1945, and 13 year old Levi, after living three years in Chicago with his aunt, is suddenly sent away by her to live with his father on an Army base in South Carolina. Levi hasn't seen his father in three years, only has the occasional cryptic letter sent from a myriad of Army bases. But Levi is hopeful, despite being very nervous to travel alone for the first time on a train through the segregated South, that his dad will be glad to see him and t...more
Becky
Sep 15, 2012 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
It's been years since I've read a Shelley Pearsall novel, but I remember really loving those that I've read in the past. I really liked Jump Into the Sky. I'm not sure that I absolutely loved it. But it was a really good read. I just LOVED the main character, Levi Battle. I really loved his narrative voice, and I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes. I enjoyed many of the characters, I especially liked Cal, Peaches, and baby Victory. (I loved hearing their love story!) I was so happy that t...more
David
Katherine read this to me on the road. It is a very well written story of a young African American boy trying to link up with his father serving with the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (Triple Nickle) during WWII. The injustice of racism is clearly demonstrated, while the sacrifice made by those who served is highlighted. A GREAT read, very easy flowing book but one that will make you think and be very grateful for those who served ahead of us. The Paratrooper humor is well done!
Nancy
This is a great historical novel. I really love the endnote in which the author tells how the book was researched with interviews and which details were taken from real life. The book is based on a little known fact about WWII. A positive male African American character.
Chris Murray
Summary (Amazon.com)
Levi Battle has been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it's time for Levi to do some leaving of his own. Before he can blink, Levi finds hi...more
Abby Johnson
I like a little-known historical fiction story as much as the next person, but it was like I kept waiting for the story to get exciting and it kept ALMOST getting exciting, but then meandering away to something else. Levi's voice wasn't strong enough for me to enjoy the book on his character alone and the plot meandered too much to be compelling. Part of my disappointment might be with the cover and title, both of which seem to promise a lot of wartime action, which is not necessarily the fault...more
Laura
Text to Self- It was amazing to me read about the triple nickels and their impact on our country. I had never heard about the troop and actually looked up information to make sure it was real. It was sad to hear the treatment of the troops were not equal as troops that were white.
1. Why did Levi have to leave Chicago?
2. Explain why Levi had to sit in a separate section of the train once he entered the South?
3. What questions would you ask the general store owner who attacked Levi?
4. Why do you...more
Gayle Dill
Middle School - Historical Fiction
Levi Battle has lived with his aunt in Chicago for 3 yrs. when she decides to send him off unannounced to his father's base, Ft. Mackall, in NC. Levi experiences the Jim Crow south as he travels by train only to find his father's battalion has just shipped out to Pendleton, OR. Cal and Peaches take Levi under their wing, taking him along to OR when Cal gets orders to join his battalion. Levi become reacquainted with his father in OR and when the war ends, decide...more
Sandy Brehl
Heard of the Tuskegee Airmen? Most have, but few stories have been told of the segregated paratroop group, the "triple nickels", or 555th group who never made it off the continent into the war, despite training and excellence. The central character, Levi, is a thirteen year old Chicago kid who has been left behind all his life. He is launched into many rude awakenings as WWII nears its end and he finds himself leaving the familiar turf of his neighborhood, learning to deal with Jim Crow racism,...more
Julia Reynolds
Another historical fiction – and also set during WWII. However, instead of following a young white girl at the Manhattan Project, this book follows a young black man following his father all over the country, experiencing Jim Crow and racism and military family life while trying to reunite with his father, one of the black paratroopers in the 555th. Levi seems like a truthful narrator, and the plot moves along, but honestly the descriptions of Jim Crow and racism were really light and friendly –...more
Robin
I really liked this book. It was the story about the 555th in WWII. It was about black/white relations in different parts of the country. As a teacher, it would be a book that I would read/discuss with middle school students. I was very impressed with Pearsall's historical narrative.
Jen Van fleet
Jump Into the Sky tells a story of Levi, the teenage son of an African American military man serving in World War II. Levi has been left behind by his dad who is stationed at various places and by his mom who left him as a baby in the front seat of her car so that she could leave town to pursue her singing career. Levi seems to have accepted that his parents aren't around and that his lot in life is to live with various relatives and to live vicariously through the few letters his father writes....more
Lynn
No disappointments in this WWII historical fiction for middle-upper elementary readers. Pearsall was through in her research and she carefully wove the sights and sounds into Levi's journey to find his father. I was convinced his father was a low-life, but he wasn't. In fact, he was admirable and lent the story a happy ending. I also think Pearsall cleverly tied in many details, such as MawMawSands and her Secret Basket. Her use of figurative language made me want to read slowly to absorb the im...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I really enjoyed reading this but thought it was maybe a bit clunky (<-technical term). The historical parts (i.e. African American experience in WWII as paratroopers) are absolutely fascinating- I hadn't heard of the "Triple Nickels" before or considered how WWII would intersect with Jim Crow laws since both were before the Civil Rights movement. However, at times it felt a bit didactic- almost like a rough imitation of a Christopher Paul Curtis novel with a similarly endearing African ameri...more
Bookworm1858
I was very excited to give this book a read as it is set in America during the waning days of WWII (we actually experience V-E Day as well V-J Day). I haven't read many books during that time and lately have read mostly European-set war books.

Our protagonist is Levi whose aunt has been keeping him in Chicago while his father serves in the army but who is sent to join his father at camp in North Carolina. When Levi arrives, he discovers that he just missed his father and stays with an injured arm...more
Lisa
13 year old Levi knows a thing or two about leaving, or rather being left. For one, his illiterate, immature mother left him when he was just months old in the front seat of her abandoned car in front of a Chicago nightclub with a pinned note that read, "I am Levin." People mistook the misspelling for his name and became Levi over the years. For another, his father was a wanderer himself and was forever leaving Levi in the care of a relative in pursuit of the unknown. Most recently, Levi spent 3...more
Alex Baugh
Imagine being a 13 year old African American boy living in Chicago with your aunt during WWII while your father is away in the Air Force. Imagine further that one morning, out of the blue, your aunt tells you it is time for you to see your father again and that afternoon, without even saying good-bye to your best friend, you find yourself on a train heading to Camp Mackall in North Carolina. Sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it?

Jump into the Sky begins in May 1945. The war has ended in Europe but not...more
Lara
It’s the spring of 1945. Levi Battle’s aunt Odella has decided that the war is close to ending and it’s time for Levi to leave her house and go find his father, an officer in the army stationed in North Carolina. Levi is used to people leaving him ever since his mother left him on the seat of a car when he was just a few months old, but he isn’t used to people making him leave them! Levi’s adventures begin when he has to switch trains in Washington, D.C. He learns the hard way that because of th...more
Chris
I really enjoyed the audio version of this book. The narrator did a great job of portraying the character of Levi. I love historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint. Levi is a 12 or 13 (sorry I can't remember) year old African-American boy who feels as if he is always getting left behind. First his mom left, then his father left for the war (WWII) and then his aunt sends him away to find his father. That is the only part of the book I have trouble with, as it is hard to imagine putting...more
Amber
Levi Battle is accustomed to family members leaving him. His mother abandoned him on the seat of a Ford when he was just a baby, and his father left him many times over the years. But Levi is unprepared to be the one leaving when his Aunt Odella abruptly decides to send him from Chicago to live with his paratrooper father down south at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. When Levi arrives in the South, the thirteen-year-old boy receives an abrupt and frightening introduction to Jim Crow laws and racia...more
Becky
Mar 21, 2013 Becky marked it as to-read
Great cover!!

Goodreads description is a great booktalk, as is the excerpt on the back:

"Levi Battle's been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, and the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it's time for...more
Sidney
This is the first middle school fiction book that I have found that helps the reader understand life for African Americans during World War II. The book makes segregation and prejudice real, and is based on the black paratroopers of the 555th Parachute Battalion.

Levy, the main character is realistic and likeable, and he tells his story with fitting similes and metaphors "we arrived in downtown Chicago faster than a German Panzer tank division entering Paris." (21) and humor "he missed a Tip-Top...more
Sheila
Reading a book and finding something racist in it is like sitting in a restaurant and noticing a roach swimming around in your soup. So it was with "Jump Into The Sun." The book is about racism faced by African Americans in World War Two, but the protagonists refer to the Japanese as "J-ps." ??? What is that teaching kids who read this book? One might say, "that is historically accurate." But, it is also historically accurate that some people did NOT use racist terms for anyone, and hey, this is...more
Sharie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Arendt
I was drawn to this book because it was set during WWII, and I am always looking for military fiction for the boys at my school. While this book is about the 555th Paratroopers Triple Nickels, the story is less about military action than about the segregation of African-Americans during the time. Levi's father is serving as a Lieutenant in the Triple Nickels and has not seen him in three years. Levi's Aunt Odella, after three years of taking care of Levi, decides it is time for him to see his fa...more
Zoe
Listened to this on road trip with my aunt who loves WWII history. Great insight into the 13 y.o. African American boy who gets sent from Chicago to the Jim Crow South to find his father, a paratrooper, at an air force base only to discover he's been shipped out to Oregon!
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32301
I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Cleveland called Parma where I used to write stories in a bedroom closet (aka my writer’s office). I tried to get my first novel – a 40 page handwritten story called “I am the Only One Left” - published when I was thirteen. As you can probably guess, it was rejected!

It took about twenty years before I finally had my first published book, Trouble Don’t Last (Kno...more
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