Five Reasons Why You Should Read
A Handful of Stars,
by Newbery Honor Author
1. Setting: It’s summer in Maine, when the blueberries are ripe for picking, school is out, and it’s almost time for the local blueberry festival. What’s yummier than a blueberry enchilada topped with whipped cream?!
3. Diversity: Salma is a migrant worker. She looks different than the other girls entering the pageant, plus her talent is unusual. The message? Change is hard. But with courage, bravery, and help from friends (see #2), it’s possible to stand tall in front of an entire town.
4. Heart: Lily, earning money for a sight-saving operation for her dog. Salma, working the blueberry fields, yet hoping for a better life. Two friends, joined together by their love of painting, shared loss, and belief in change.
5. Voice: The spot-on middle grade voice grabbed me from the first sentence. (“The only reason I ever spoke to Salma Santiago was because my dog ate her lunch.”) Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:
“Today I’d only felt a little bit braver than I was scared. Just enough to tip the scales. But that was all I needed. I’d done brave and big-thinking things. I’d rented a booth. I’d gone to the camp by myself. I’d made a star friend, and I was swinging like I could fly. I imagined that little bit of extra brave as a beach stone, small and hard and smooth-worn. I wrapped my hand around that pretend stone to hold it tight and swung up again and again.
Until my toes touched the sky.”