I won an ARC of this book from Brandy at Random Musings of a Bibliophile last year, waited to read it until it was close to coming out… and am now behind on posting my review of it. It is still excellent, however!
A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
When we left Rose Lee at the end of Midnight without a Moon, she had made the very tough decision to stay at her home rural Mississippi, despite the oppressive racism both from the whites and her grandmother who takes care of her. There have been more random and unprosecuted shootings of blacks, adding to the general air of fear. Still, Rose finds out that her real given name is Rosa, and decides to start calling herself that both to feel more adult and to identify with Rosa Parks. She and her best friend Hallelujah are determined to find something they can do. Rosa’s older cousin Shorty even starts coming to school from time to time to talk about what can be done, although he is open to using the same violent scare tactics on whites, something Rosa and Hallelujah do not want to do.
But even as Shorty wants to go too far and the adults in their life believe that laying low and being “good Negros” is the best course and are forceful in their opposition to any protests, the kids are determined to make a difference. She works not just for general improvement but also to help those in her life trying to break out of the cycle of poverty and oppression, including her pregnant cousin Queenie and an aunt who’s escaping an abusive relationship. The times are dark, but Rosa’s spirit and strength again shine brightly.
I was struck by the author’s note, where she says that she grew up in the 1970s in an old sharecropper’s shack that still had no light switches or door knobs, lending extra reliability to her accounts of Rosa.
Read Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer for a somewhat lighter look at the Civil Rights movement.