A Handful of Stars (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

That difficult to capture period, when children are 11sh and have one toe in adolescence and the rest of their weight still resting behind that line, is the specialty of Maine author Cynthia Lord. She hits the mark yet again with  A Handful of Stars. The book is the story of a friendship between a small town Maine girl, Lily, and Salma, a girl Lily's age whose family is in the area to work Maine's blueberry harvest. A terrific story with universal childhood themes is made richer here for the inclusion of an element of social significance, the lives of migrant workers in rural Maine.

— From DDG Store Favorites Middle Grade & YA


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 gorgeous novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love.

About the Author

Cynthia Lord is the award-winning author of Rules, a Newbery Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award winner, as well as the critically acclaimed Half a Chance and A Handful of Stars. She made her picture-book debut with Hot Rod Hamster, which won several awards, including the Parents' Choice Award, and is the author of the Shelter Pet Squad chapter book series. She lives in Maine with her family. Visit her at cynthialord.com.

Praise For…

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

“[A] warm-hearted, thoughtfully written tale of a memorable friendship.” -- The Horn Book Guide

“This sensitive coming-of-age tale compassionately explores prejudice and multiculturalism.” -- Kirkus Reviews

“A thoughtful work that examines cultural bias and will spark discussion.” -- School Library Journal

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 review

Praise for Rules:

Newbery Honor Book
Schneider Family Book Award
Product Details
ISBN: 9780545700276
ISBN-10: 0545700272
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Pages: 192
Language: English