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A Handful of Stars
Cover of A Handful of Stars
A Handful of Stars
This powerful middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES explores a friendship between a small-town girl and the daughter of migrant workers. When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win? Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love. Praise for A Handful of Stars: *"Salma's artistic creativity and gumption awaken Lily to the power of imagination, the importance of embracing change and knowing when to let go of the past, and the rewards of venturing beyond one's comfort zone." — Publishers Weekly, starred review *"The treatment of Salma's migrant life is matter-of-fact but direct, and Lily plausibly deals with possibilities of local racism and swells with indignation on behalf of her new friend... It's the straightforward and unaffected prose (highly suitable for a readaloud as well as reading alone) that really allows Lily's story to shine... it's hard to resist joining her on her journey toward greater maturity." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review Praise for Half A Chance: *"[Lord] has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill... A deeply enjoyable read." — School Library Journal, starred review *"With winning results, Lord brings the same sensitivity to the subject of dementia that she brought to autism in her Newbery Honor book, Rules." — Kirkus Reviews, starred reviews Praise for Rules: Newbery Honor Book Schneider Family Book Award
This powerful middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES explores a friendship between a small-town girl and the daughter of migrant workers. When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win? Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love. Praise for A Handful of Stars: *"Salma's artistic creativity and gumption awaken Lily to the power of imagination, the importance of embracing change and knowing when to let go of the past, and the rewards of venturing beyond one's comfort zone." — Publishers Weekly, starred review *"The treatment of Salma's migrant life is matter-of-fact but direct, and Lily plausibly deals with possibilities of local racism and swells with indignation on behalf of her new friend... It's the straightforward and unaffected prose (highly suitable for a readaloud as well as reading alone) that really allows Lily's story to shine... it's hard to resist joining her on her journey toward greater maturity." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review Praise for Half A Chance: *"[Lord] has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill... A deeply enjoyable read." — School Library Journal, starred review *"With winning results, Lord brings the same sensitivity to the subject of dementia that she brought to autism in her Newbery Honor book, Rules." — Kirkus Reviews, starred reviews Praise for Rules: Newbery Honor Book Schneider Family Book Award
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  • ATOS:
    4.4
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  • Text Difficulty:
    3

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Reviews-
  • DOGO Books aub112705 - The main character is just like me she lives in Maine, picks blueberries,and has a blind dog
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 23, 2015
    It is a summer of change for 12-year-old Lily, who lives with her grandparents above their general store in rural Maine. Having grown apart from her boy-obsessed best friend and coping with her dog’s increasing blindness, Lily finds a kindred spirit in Salma, whose migrant family works in the local blueberry fields. One constant in Lily’s life is her longing for her absent mother, whose personality and fate Lord (Half a Chance) reveals measuredly. Salma, too, is grieving, having lost her own dog and many friends due to her family’s frequent moves. Lord links images beautifully: Lily shows Salma how the fluted top of a blueberry resembles a star, and Salma confides that she is comforted knowing that the stars overhead are the same ones shining on her loved ones far away. Salma’s artistic creativity and gumption awaken Lily to the power of imagination, the importance of embracing change and knowing when to let go of the past, and the rewards of venturing beyond one’s comfort zone. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2015
    Lily, an orphaned 12-year-old who lives in a small eastern Maine town, becomes fast friends with Salma, a Latina migrant worker who has come with her family to pick blueberries.At first glance the distance between the pair seems vast, but they share some common interests, including finding a way to help Lily's elderly, blind dog, Lucky, regain his eyesight. Lily, who lives with her caring Franco-American grandparents, is plucky and determined; she's painting special houses for native mason bees to sell to raise money for expensive though risky surgery for Lucky. She's also dealing with the apparent unwinding of her BFF status with Hannah, reigning Downeast Blueberry Queen, a role that comes with a big monetary prize. Against all odds, including Lily's own incipient prejudice, Salma decides to run for queen, and, unexpectedly, Hannah offers useful assistance. Lord tenderly explores Lily's growing understanding of her own emotional boundaries, defined by her frustration over never having known her mother, fear of expressing her individuality, and wariness of change-all aspects of her personality that Salma gently reveals to her. Lily's likable voice believably discloses her maturing awareness of the limitations she's built around herself while also offering an accurate and appreciative depiction of a unique setting: the blueberry barrens of Downeast Maine. This sensitive coming-of-age tale compassionately explores prejudice and multiculturalism. (Fiction. 9-12)

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2015

    Gr 4-6-Two girls from seemingly different backgrounds bond over a blind dog and blueberries in Lord's latest heartwarmer. Lily lives in Maine, raised by her maternal grandparents, Memere and Pepere. Her black lab, Lucky, is her strongest connection to her deceased mother. Lucky is slowly going blind and Lily is determined to raise money for an expensive and risky eye surgery to cure him; she paints wooden mason bee houses and sells them in her grandparent's general store. Salma is in Maine for the summer with her family, migrant workers who live and work in the blueberry barrens. Lucky unexpectedly brings the girls together and they immediately bond over their love of dogs, art, and blueberry enchiladas. Salma is creative and artistic, something that Lily both admires and envies. When Salma decides to enter the Blueberry Queen pageant-something no migrant girl has ever done before-Lily's eyes are opened to the microaggressions of some of the townsfolk. There's also the surprising support from Hannah, Lily's former best friend and reigning Blueberry Queen, who offers to loan Salma a gown. Through her friendship with Salma, the protagonist finds a confidence she didn't know she had and she begins to recognize and question her own previously unexamined biases. Despite the slim page count, this middle grade novel's plot evolves organically. Lord's characters reveal themselves slowly within the narrative and the Maine setting is richly described. The bright cover featuring an adorable black lab is pure shelfbait; though readers looking for a animal tale will instead find a story that centers more on family, friendship, and growing pains. VERDICT A thoughtful work that examines cultural bias and will spark discussion.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A Handful of Stars
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