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Stella by Starlight

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,609 Ratings  ·  703 Reviews
When the Ku Klux Klan's unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella's segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.

Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Caisha Abdirahman Stella by Starlight is about a bright young girl that has to live through the Jim Crow Era as a black. She has to face many challenges such as the…moreStella by Starlight is about a bright young girl that has to live through the Jim Crow Era as a black. She has to face many challenges such as the KKK, A fire, her mom being bitten by a snake and more. It is a good read and suggest you read it too.
Claire YES!!!!! You should definitely read this it is an amazing book with some information with it. Sharon M. Draper is a wonderful author I would also…moreYES!!!!! You should definitely read this it is an amazing book with some information with it. Sharon M. Draper is a wonderful author I would also recommend Out of my mind. (less)
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2016 Mock Newbery
10th out of 87 books — 328 voters
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2015 YA/MG Books With POC Leads
17th out of 212 books — 186 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lois R. Gross
Nov 29, 2014 Lois R. Gross rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle readers
This is the type of book that I dearly wish young people would read instead of Wimpy Kids or SpongeBob. This is a book with depth and history and real feeling and one that speaks to how young people can be brave and special when the opportunity presents itself. Stella is a young African American girl in the segregated south during the time between the wars. Her parents work hard to give her and brother education and ethics in a world where they can see that they are treated unfairly because of t ...more
Taryn Pierson
Jan 30, 2015 Taryn Pierson rated it it was amazing
I first encountered Sharon Draper's work when I was teaching freshmen who read below grade level. Her books are written for a middle grade audience, but they deal with complex and compelling themes, so they were perfect for my students. Now that I've escaped the teaching profession, I read her books for my own edification and enjoyment. Stella by Starlight may be written with younger readers in mind, but adults will find plenty to like too.

It's 1932 in Bumblebee, North Carolina, where Stella Mil
Book Riot Community
This is Draper’s newest release, following the success of her best-seller Out of My Mind. In Stella by Starlight, Draper brings us to the segregated south in the middle of the Depression. The story begins when eleven-year-old Stella and her little brother Jojo happen across nine robed figures dressed all in white. Stella and her family, along with the small black community they live among in Bumblebee, North Carolina, confront this new reality with fear and anger and courage. In one scene, in wh ...more
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Jan 15, 2015 Kelly (Diva Booknerd) rated it it was amazing
Stella By Starlight was phenomenal, poignant and inspirational. Told through the eyes of twelve year old Stella in 1932, after witnessing the Ku Klux Klan burning a sacrificial crucifix in the middle of the night. Stella lives in a world of segregation, where one day she dreams of a world where everyone is equal, regardless of colour. Slavery may have ended, but the community of Bumblebee will never be free. Living in fear of being the next victims of the
Barb Middleton
In 1932 Jim Crow laws were in full swing and African Americans were threatened by the Klu Klux Klan. Racism and prejudice was rampant, but bonds and connections made blacks united and connected to their community like family. The strength of this novel is the atmosphere created and wonderful dialogue, voice, and rhythms that Sharon Draper rat-a-tats throughout the pages. Stella by Starlight, the title, is a song by the famous African American singer, Ella Fitzgerald. This is a tale to dance by u ...more
Mike Zinn
Dec 30, 2014 Mike Zinn rated it it was amazing
First of all- I received this book for free. Now that I've taken care of that, I loved it and can't wait to pass it on to my granddaughters to read. As others have said, this is the kind of book I want them to be reading. I have no problem with Harry Potter, or Hunger Games etc., but I think they need to mix in a few things more attached to the world they live in, and this book does a great job of it. Stella is a great character, and her story is told in such a beautiful way that most anyone wou ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 14, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Stella and her brother are sneaking around in the woods near their house in Bumblee, North Carolina one night, and see the Klu Klux Klan burning a cross. They know how serious this is, and run right home to tell their parents, who are scared and angry at the children for putting themselves in danger. The community is aware that African Americans in the south in the 1930s are supposed to keep to their "place", but they also know that things are changing. Stella questions why the school for white ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
I have really mixed feelings about this book. Parts of it I really loved, but other parts seemed really uneven. The book seemed to leave too many things hanging, it did not feel completed. I really loved Stella's writing, probably my favorite part of the book.
Feb 24, 2015 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story about segregation and hate, the power of a group, writing, and listening to your inner voice. I loved it.
Angela Critics
Jul 07, 2015 Angela Critics rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Monica
Absolutely beautiful work of historical fiction for middle grade readers about an amazingly strong young girl. This story is loosely based on the author's grandmother and is dedicated to her father. It speaks directly to the heart. There are so many layers to this book. Storytelling and singing and a real sense of community serve as a counter to the awful experiences of segregation and discrimination. So while the book doesn't shy away from the horrors of the Ku Klux Clan and other evils of race ...more
I am late reading this, another book on the tall stack that kept getting put aside, and so many of you said how much you loved it! Well, now I love it, too, at least I love the people like Stella and her family who live in Bumblebee, North Carolina, a town of African Americans who stick together. Draper manages to show us the love and care among the community, but at the same time show the restrictions they live under, and the hate they endure. “Red fire. Black Cross. White Hoods. They’re here, ...more
C.E. G
Jul 19, 2015 C.E. G rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Stella by Starlight is possibly the most complex, poignant, moving writing for children on modern race relations I've read, which is depressing considering the story is about the KKK in 1930s rural North Carolina.

In this book, we're reminded that there are no neatly tied up, harmonious, happy endings to the destructive forces of racism. Stella's family and neighbors are beat up, denied life-saving medical care, terrorized, and disenfranchised politically and economically. The power of the black
Jul 29, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015, audiobooks
Did I enjoy it? Yes. I listened to the audiobook (narrated very well by Heather Alicia Simms), and even though I’m a bit out of the 9-13 age range, I enjoyed the story.
Would I read it again? Sure. I like listening to it, but I might want to read the print version at some point in the future.
Who Would I Recommend It To? People interested in historical fiction, especially historical fiction set in the 1930s south, which is not a time period/area that has a lot of literature focusing on people of c
Jun 24, 2015 Patrice rated it it was amazing
When Stella receives a typewriter as a surprise gift from her neighbor, she decides to try to be a "reporter", even if she is the only one who ever reads the Stella Star Sentinel. Stella lives in a small community in rural North Carolina, somewhere close to Raleigh. Her friends and neighbors are segregated from the town folks, and are struggling to make a living, but rich in family love and neighborly friendship. That is not to say that all is wonderful in Stella's world, there are many struggle ...more
Carol Royce Owen
Feb 25, 2015 Carol Royce Owen rated it really liked it
Teachers take note! Here is a new one from Sharon Draper that is sure to be one you will want for Civil Rights studies. The book is Stella by Starlight and gives a portrayal of a black community's existence in the deep south during the 1930s.

Stella is a young girl growing up in Bumblebee, North Carolina in 1932, a town with both blacks and whites, but with stores and businesses that will allow blacks, but some which do not. It is a time when segregation still exists, but voting rights have been
Abby Johnson
Stella has the soul of a writer, but not the talent of one... not yet. She longs to put down on paper the things she feels so strongly about - how it feels to witness the Ku Klux Klan rally across the pond from her African-American neighborhood - but she always makes mistakes and the words don't come out how they sound in her mind. Self-conscious about it, Stella steals away in the night to practice writing outside at night - nobody judges her writing by starlight. Trouble is here in the small t ...more
Stella Wenny
Feb 13, 2016 Stella Wenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I bought this book at a local bookstore because they had discounted this and it became afforadable to me. And look at that gorgeous cover!! But really, the main reason why I bought this book because it has my name on it <3 And I didn't regret it at all. It is a wonderful tale for children which still enjoyable for adult reader. There is no single problem that is not happily solved in this book. Every problem has a happy ending, and I think I need that right now—lately real life doesn't give m ...more
Jun 10, 2016 Kelsey rated it liked it
This book was good and would be a really great historical recommendation for kids getting into reading longer chapter books. It does involve some tough things like the Klan burning down the house of a man trying to vote and the main character's mother being bitten by a snake. However, the hopeful, innocent voice of the narrator makes this a perfect read, even for 3rd grade. A great introduction to a tough period of American history. Sharon Draper is at it again.
Mar 08, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Stella by Starlight is a powerful, moving story ideal for young and old readers alike. 11-year-old Stella lives in Bumblebee, North Carolina during the 1930's--a time in which our country was in the throes of the Great Depression and extreme racism fostered by the Klu Klux Klan. Stella and her brother Jojo see the threatening force of the KKK firsthand, as the story begins with the two witnessing a burning cross across the pond in the middle of the night. For Stella, her family and the rest of t ...more
AudioBook Review:
Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5

The year is 1932 and eleven year old Stella and her little brother Jojo are witness to a cross burning deep in the North Carolina woods. Now Stella knows that the world isn’t always fair to her: she walks past the white school daily, she can’t enter the stores using front doors, and somehow, this new sight makes her feel unsafe for the very first time in her life.

The small town of Bumblebee is divided: segregation is a fact of life, and the
Jun 29, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Here's where ratings get tricky and why audio can help or hurt a book. Was this a good children's book? Absolutely. Was it as good a book as others I've enjoyed by Sharon Draper? No. Was this a great historical fiction novel? Yup. Is it a book kids would enjoy on their own if not assigned in a class? I don't think so. That's my rub with this and with The War That Saved My Life. They teach great lessons for time and place (though I think Stella suffers from the time and place being the entire plo ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book just for the cover alone, which I think is absolutely gorgeous. I want a framed poster of that cover. I love it that much.

While the writing is not up to the standard set by her incredible book Out of My Mind, it's still a lovely and worthy read.
Mar 15, 2015 Yapha rated it really liked it
Stella wants to be a writer, but she has a hard time getting the words from her head onto paper, so she writes late at night, when she does not feel as much pressure. Growing up in North Carolina in the 1930s, she accepts the realities of her segregated town, although she does not like them. But when she sees the Klan burning a cross late one night a new kind of fear settles over her community. It is against this shadow that several of the men register to vote in the upcoming election, and Stell ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
I appreciated the sentiment behind this. The author's notes at the beginning and end describe how Draper was inspired by the lives of her grandmother and father. The close-knit black community of Bumblebee and its traditions were my favorite part of the book: the food, the school, the church services. The writing was colorful and vivid. My other favorite part was Stella's writing practice, including all of her scratched out words and changes. This was a good way to show her thought process and h ...more
Grace Zaleski
May 18, 2016 Grace Zaleski rated it it was amazing
Stella Is a young girl who lives in Bumblebee North Carolina. Bumblebee is a segregated town. One night Stella was woken up by her little brother Jojo to find the Klu Klux Klan or the KKK burning a cross on the other side of the river close to Stella's home. That one experience basically developed the story of Stella. From heartache to overjoyed Stella stays strong for her family and pushes through. This story is about being yourself know matter what and is a very heartwarming, encouraging, Empo ...more
Alex Baugh
Mar 16, 2015 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
It's 1932 and the country is still in the throes of the depression. But for the black residents of Bumblebee, North Caroline, the depression may be the least of their troubles after Stella Mills and her younger brother Jojo see the Ku Klux Klan burning a crossing on night across the river from their house. And Stella thinks she recognizes who one member of the whited-sheeted group.

Stella has been sneaking out at night after everyone's in bed to practice her writing. Writing is the one area in sc
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Sharon Draper makes you feel how it would be to live as an African American in the segregated South in 1932. She makes you feel the fear of the Ku Klux Klan watching what you do and the cruelty and violence coming from some of the white people in the community. She also makes you feel the support and strength that family and community can provide. Stella has a loving, brave family living through some very scary times. The love of family and friends helps her to hold on to her dreams.
A hard book -- life is hard -- but ultimately a hopeful one.
I had started listening to Stella by Starlight months ago, but had the e-audiobook expire with only 8 minutes left to go. Recently I decided to just re-download the book and finish it (plus an extra 20 minutes or so to catch myself up on what I may have forgotten). Stella by Starlight, narrated by Heather Alicia Simms, is a top-notch audiobook. I picked it up because it was a finalist for the Odyssey award (for children's and YA audiobook production). The award went to Echo, which was a fantasti ...more
Nov 17, 2015 Grace rated it liked it
I loved this book . . . until the end. It would have been 5 stars, if not for the ending. What happened? Stella is a lovely girl. She likes to learn, loves her family and is brave when confronted with challenging, scary and dangerous events. She deals with racism every single day, but still hopes for the future. She leaps off the page like a real person, and so do the families in her neighborhood, and her supportive, creative teacher. Suspense built quickly, through the chapters with the KKK, an ...more
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Mock Newbery 2017: March Read - Stella by Starlight 23 221 Oct 28, 2015 09:08PM  
RDNG 636 Fall 2015: Stella by Starlight 1 4 Sep 27, 2015 07:22PM  
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Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award, and is a New York Times bestselling author. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
More about Sharon M. Draper...

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“Words fall out of the sky like leaves, girl. Grab a couple and write ’em down.” 3 likes
“There is an unseen river of communication that forever flows -- dark and powerful.” 1 likes
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