Monday, September 14, 2015

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

While up late one night Stella and her younger brother witness a Ku Klux Klan meeting very close to their house.  When she tells her parents the entire black community assembles at her house to try to figure out what to do.  Stella is suddenly more aware of the racial tensions in her town and unsure who all were under those sheets.  Things get even more heated when Stella's father decides to join the group of men taking a stand about voting despite the danger to himself and his family.

The setting of this book is unusual in that most books about prejudice seem to take place either during the Civil War or during the Civil Rights Movement.  Our teens know very little about race relations outside of those two events so it's a good thing to have this showing problems somewhere in between those time periods.  However, this book is like many other historical fiction books in that it is MAKING A POINT which does not appeal to teens.  After the powerful opening scene of the Klan rally the story loses steam until it finally picks up again when Stella's dad tries to register to vote.  I wish that some of that storytelling was more visible throughout.