Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

How I Heard About It:  I had a nine-hour drive to Michigan and a nine-hour drive back to the Twin Cities.  Yes, I was finally attending #nerdcampMI.  I hit my public library to look for novels on audio.  My particular library doesn't seem to house as many middle-grade and/or young adult novels as the adult audio section.  It was a pleasant surprise to find this title.  I actually had the hard copy at home, but thought it would be perfect for the long drive to Michigan.  

What It Is About:  Lily and Salma meet because of Lucky.  Lucky is a blind dog that has gotten away from Lily.  Salma comes to the rescue and "captures" this dog on the loose.  At first Lily and Salma aren't sure of each other, but after bonding over the painting of bee houses; the friendship blossoms.  Lily's best friend Hannah, isn't so sure about this new found friendship, and it gets even trickier when Salma decides to enter the local pageant to celebrate the blueberries of Maine.  Hannah and others aren't quite so sure Salma should be a contestant because she is an immigrant worker that is there only for the season.  Lily has to learn how to balance her "first" friendship with this "new" friendship.  All the while these girls are preparing for the big pageant, Lily is trying to find ways to raise money for a surgery she wants to be able to provide for Lucky to help with her eye sight.  

What I Thought Of It:  I don't think I had read a Cynthia Lord novel since Rules which is one of my favorites.  Because of this first book I was excited to read this newest book.  While I enjoyed the story, it wasn't quite like my experience with Rules.  The characters were so endearing and I think were the strongest aspect of the story.  The plot of the book moved a bit slow and lost my attention from time to time.  Just about when this would happen, there would be an increase in the "action."  Many thoughtful themes and ideas were sprinkled throughout the story which I adored.  The narrator of the audio was great and made it quite easy to listen to.  

Who Should Read It:  After finishing the audio (about 1/4 of the way into my drive) I realized this would be the perfect book for a female reader in grades four, five, or six.  They would be able to relate to Lily, Salma, and even Hannah.  I'm not sure our male readers would be the target for this novel.  Students in middle-school would also be an audience for the story.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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