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Stella by Starlight

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  11,604 ratings  ·  1,661 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 KKK…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.

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,604 ratings  ·  1,661 reviews

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Lois R. Gross
Nov 29, 2014 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
Swaroop Kanti
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But you know what, the best gift of all is the laughter. We never have enough laughter..."

A beautiful book about tears, struggles, hardships and loss. This book is also about laughter, hope, family and above all, the blessings!

Set in Bumblebee (never knew there was a place by that name), North Carolina, and in the year 1932, this story is narrated by a 11-year-old young storyteller, Stella Mills.

Rich, Compelling and Creative.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper is highly recommended!


Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the new President. He won in a landslide. Landslide makes me think of rocks and dirt falling down a mountain. Not sure what that has to do with an election.
But maybe it does. My papa voted. He is a pebble. Lots of pebbles make a landslide, right? His vote counted

The KKK has a long history in the U.S., but, despite that, I never connected the Klan's actions with upcoming elections. It turns out, right around the time that certain people of colo
Jan 06, 2015 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
Nov 17, 2015 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
Mar 28, 2015 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.
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
Kaytee Cobb
This is a great MG option for your kiddos to get introduced to some tough themes. They'll probably identify with Stella and her struggles to write the words and tell her story. And they'll have questions and get answers about the KKK and the ways that Black Americans were treated in the south in the 50s and 60s.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I read this a long time ago, but from what I remember it was a beautiful, important read.
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, 2017
You can read my full review on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom's Book Review: Stella by Starlight

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters; POC author

Stella by Starlight was a wonderful middle grade historical fiction.  I am so impressed with how Draper was able to write a book set in the 1930s in the deep segregated South that depicted the harsh realities of people of color during these times while still keeping it appropriate for her middle grade audience.

What a perfect book to teach children about l
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
1932, Bumblebee, North Carolina - segregation is rampart in most parts of the Southern U.S.
The KKK still terrorizes small communities, such as Bumblebee.

Stella and her younger brother "witness" a cross burning, one evening, when they have snuck out of their home, after they were supposed to be in bed. They are all well aware of what these men in white robes would do to them if they were discovered.

In our current state of affairs, with the ugliness of the return of "white supremacy" raising its h
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this as a companion to my students' Civil Rights book clubs. This a great historical fiction story!
C.E. G
Jul 19, 2015 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
Joyce Yattoni
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I do enjoy listening to books and this book was no exception. Although Stella is only about the age of a middle schooler she is wise beyond her chronological age. Growing up in Bumblebee, NC in 1933, during segregation, Stella and her family are forced to endure the humilities of being a black person in the South. The KKK is alive and well. The hatred shown toward her family is heartbreaking. My favorite scene in the story is when Stella's father and two other black men go to register to vote so ...more
Mike Zinn
Dec 02, 2014 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
Haley Duncan
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was sad, but inspiring. Stella's family is black and so are all their friends in Bumblebee, North Carolina. They live in a segregated town where the Ku Klux Klan is back and constantly threatening everyone. As Stella saves 4 peoples lives throughout the book, she realizes that anyone can be a hero and that being black doesn't make any difference.
Jan 02, 2015 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.
A hard book -- life is hard -- but ultimately a hopeful one.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me more aware of the things that colored people had to go through in the 1900's. I still cannot believe that the white doctor refused to treat her mother when she nearly died, as well as many other situations.
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
Ms. Yingling
Jul 24, 2014 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
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
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
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Critics
Jul 01, 2015 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
A fine historical fiction choice for upper elementary and middle school readers. Set during the Great Depression, we meet Stella, a young girl with a loving family living in Jim Crow south. The KKK becomes active putting Stella, her family, and community in danger. A story of perseverance, empathy, and strength.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
There were so many loose ends in this story! So many different storylines and no real resolutions. I was prepared to LOVE this book, and it does have interesting views into life for Black people in Depression era South, but the book itself was a disappointment.
Reviews May Vary
The story of a young black girl in 1932 North Carolina as she experiences the klan and small town racism, discovers her love of writing, and finds hopes for her future/ family.
Ms. Goldstein
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This unmatchable novel accomplishes the very difficult task of exposing some darker parts of American history, the Jim Crow Laws and the Klu Klux Klan in the segregated south, in a way that feels raw, real, and age-appropriate for young readers (ages 10-12). A remarkable tale of bravery, courage, and fighting for your rights in the face of danger, this story is told through the point of view of Stella Mills, a young black girl from Bumblebee, North Carolina. She is an extraordinarily dynamic cha ...more
Lauren Reed
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think you can probably call us super fans of author, Sharon Draper. ☺️ The author’s middle grade books, such as “Stella by Starlight”, (which we’re more than half way through), are perfectly written for children of my daughters’ ages, telling truth in history with great compassion and hope for a better tomorrow.

Stella is a Black girl around age 11, living in the still segregated south of the 1930s where Jim Crow Laws are in place, and the Klu Klux Klan is an alarmingly growing threat. In the c
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j, historical
Maybe I say it too much, but I have this thing in my head about not liking Historical Fiction. Which keeps being disproved, over and over again.

Sharon Draper was the Lacey Loves to Read feature author of 2020. Which was the last big community event before the Weirds. One of the events surrounding Draper's visit was a book discussion group for 9-12 year-olds about this book, which I hosted.

What stood out to me when I read this book was the characters. Stella and her family are specific, and I fe
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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.

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