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Jump Into the Sky

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  483 Ratings  ·  142 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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Ms. Yingling
Jan 04, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
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,
Kristina Cardoza
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 find
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
Dec 03, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 15, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
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
Mar 30, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 06, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 02, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
Historical fiction about a boy being sent to live with his father who is a member of the first African American paratroopers, the 555th Triple Nickles. Very true to the time period and the events of the 555th.
Summary (
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
Apr 21, 2015 William rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2015 Sha'Niece rated it really liked it
Abby Johnson
Apr 08, 2013 Abby Johnson rated it it was ok
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
Gayle Dill
Feb 24, 2013 Gayle Dill rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 21, 2015 Darrien rated it really liked it
I loves when Jester/Levi found his dad for the first time in a long time.I think it was an OK book.I don't like this book because,it was so sad.People where dying and one of the solders named Micky. This story is mainly about a boy named Levi got left by his mother Queen Bee Walker.His aunt bring him in and she raised him.He rod to Pendiltan from Chicago. He found his dad and it was a good moment. His Dad fount out about the japes made balloon bombs. And you haft to read the rest for the book
Kenneth Jackson
Apr 21, 2015 Kenneth Jackson rated it it was amazing
I think that jump into the sky is a good book I recommend this book to audiences. Even if you don't like historical fiction . in the beginning Levi/Chester is living with His aunt O Della His life was good until one day...
Oct 30, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 13, 2015 Msjodi777 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, 2015
An excellent story, made even better by the perfect narrator.
Nov 08, 2016 Library rated it really liked it
Nice book for students who want to read World War 2 material. Based on a true story of black soldiers who were not allowed to go into battle. It starts with Levi, whose mother left when he was a baby and father left him with his aunt. His aunt send him to his father's camp and finds that he has been shipped out. He makes friends along the way, learns what Jim Crow is, and learns about life in different areas of the country. A nice story about civil rights during the 1940s as well as relationship ...more
Alex Baugh
Oct 24, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
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
Oct 10, 2016 Casertalaura rated it really liked it
This was great story of historical fiction surrounding a piece of WW2 history I have never heard of before. It has to do with a troop of African American paratroopers on a special mission out West. Great story!!
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
Apr 22, 2015 Aukeviaah rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen Van fleet
Dec 28, 2013 Jen Van fleet rated it really liked it
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
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
Lisa Nocita
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
Dec 13, 2013 Amber rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 21, 2016 Del rated it it was ok
I read this book so I could have a meaningful discussion with my 12yr white nephew...I am an adult black female.

In 1945, WWII, Aunt Odella no longer wants to continue taking care of her nephew Levi. She packs his suitcase and puts him on a train from Chicago to Washington DC to final destination, North Carolina where his father is stationed with the "colored" Army team.

On the train Levi meets a white woman who tells him about her impending visit with her boyfriend. When the train arrives in DC
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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
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