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Monday, November 26, 2018

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

A Handful of StarsJust looking at the cover should make you want to open this book.  Who can resist a dog with a blueberry on its nose?  The cover, plus the fact that Cynthia Lord is the author, were enough to make me pick up the book and I'm so glad I did.

It's summertime in Maine and blueberry season.  The story begins with Lily trying to catch her dog as he has gotten lose on her during their walk.  While that's not the ideal situation, Lily's dog is blind and she is worried he will get hit by a truck.  Lucky, Lily's dog, stops when Salma entices him with her peanut butter sandwich.  Salma is a migrant worker who spends her summers moving around with her family harvesting crops.  This encounter leads to a friendship between the two girls.  Through Ms. Lord's writing, you just can't avoid loving all the characters, even Lily's friend, Hannah, who you think is going to be a villain but surprises you.

A Handful of Stars is a short book with a great story of friendship and perfect for a read-aloud.  You'll learn a lot about blueberries (I really want to try a blueberry enchilada), mason bees (new to me), and the hardship of migrant workers, especially the children whose education is often interrupted due to the constant movement of their families.  If you've never read Cynthia Lord before, check out some of her other titles:  Rules, Touch Blue, and Half a ChanceIt's no wonder she has been nominated for Illinois's Bluestem award more than once.

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