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Social Justice Book List - Anti-Racism - Middle Grade Books

Posted on: June 15, 2020

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

by David Barclay Moore

"The right story at the right time. . . . It’s not just a narrative; it’s an experience. It’s the novel we’ve been waiting for." —The New York Times

A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine Top 10 Children’s Books of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Children’s Book of the Year

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity. Winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent and soon to be a major motion picture directed by Michael B. Jordan!

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

His path isn’t clear — and the pressure to join a "crew," as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape — and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge — of adolescence, of grief, of violence — and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

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