It's 1932 in segregated Bumblebee, North Carolina, and times are tough for the tiny town. The residents of Stella's African American neighborhood scrape together what they can to get by, and that spirit of cooperation only grows stronger when Stella and her brother, Jojo, spot a Klan rally close by. Tensions are high, and nearly everyone is frightened, but Stella's community bands together to lift each other's spirits and applaud one another's courage, especially when Stella's father and a few other men register to vote, undaunted by the cruel and threatening remarks of some white townspeople. Brave Stella, meanwhile, dreams of becoming a journalist and writes down her feelings about the Klan. Inspired by her own grandmother's childhood, Draper weaves folksy tall tales, traditional storytelling, and hymns throughout Stella's story, which is punctuated by her ever-more-confident journal entries. This uplifting and nostalgic tale of community and family movingly captures both 10-year-old Stella's relatable experiences as well as the weighty social issues of the period. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
After 11-year-old Stella and her brother witness late-night Ku Klux Klan activity, word spreads through their North Carolina town. It's 1932, and every "Negro family in Bumblebee knew the unwritten rules—they had to take care of their own problems and take care of one another." Draper (Panic) conveys a rich African-American community where life carries on and knowledge is passed along ("My mama taught me. I'm teachin' you. You will teach your daughter"), despite looming threats. While in town, Stella notes the white children's fine school building and speculates about who might be Klansmen; in her parents' backyard, spontaneous potluck celebrations chase away gloom as adults trade tall tales: "remember last summer when it got so hot we had to feed the chickens ice water to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs?" Stella's desire to become a writer parallels her father's determination to vote. In a powerful scene, the entire black community accompanies three registered black voters to the polling location and waits silently, "Ten. Fifteen. Twenty-five minutes," until the sheriff steps aside. This compelling story brims with courage, compassion, creativity, and resilience. Ages 9–13. (Jan.)
[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 4–8—Coretta Scott King Award winner Draper draws inspiration from her grandmother's journal to tell the absorbing story of a young girl growing up in Depression-era, segregated North Carolina. One frightening night Stella and her brother Jojo witness a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, practically in their own backyard. This meeting is the signal of trouble to come to the black community of Bumblebee. The townspeople must come together to find strength and protection to face the injustices all around them. This is an engrossing historical fiction novel with an amiable and humble heroine who does not recognize her own bravery or the power of her words. She provides inspiration not only to her fellow characters but also to readers who will relate to her and her situation. Storytelling at its finest.—Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
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Growing up in the segregated South where they accept the disparities in how they are treated, Stella and her little brother witness a terrible event that compels them to fight back and trigger fundamental changes. By the Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of Out of My Mind. - (Baker & Taylor)
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town. - (Baker & Taylor)
Sharon M. Draper presents &;storytelling at its finest&; (School Library Journal, starred review) in this New York Times bestselling Depression-era novel about a young girl who must learn to be brave in the face of violent prejudice when the Ku Klux Klan reappears in her segregated southern town.
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 folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn&;t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they&;re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella&;s community&;her world&;is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don&;t necessarily signify an end. - (Simon and Schuster)