Reviewed by Megan Schliesman
Offering hope, acknowledging hardship. Debut author David Barclay Moore writes with open eyes about the challenges of Lolly’s life as a Black boy in a poor neighborhood on the cusp of young adulthood, and with eyes just as wide he shows the many things Lolly has going for him: his terrific mom and her wonderful girlfriend; his dad, who may not be around every day but is a constant regardless; the community center director; the neighbor who gave him the book; his best friend Vega; the list goes on. Lolly’s creativity, too, is a force he can harness. Continue reading.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 15th 2017
Genres: Death and Dying, Family, OwnVoices, Teen Years
Reading Level: Grades 6-8
Review Source: Reading While White
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's synopsis: 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's been described as a "fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us" by Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson. 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. Advance praise "The Stars Beneath Our Feet is the book I've been waiting for. Rarely do you see this side of New York rendered so authentically and generously. So much heart here. And so much talent." --Matt de la Pena, Newbery Award-winning author of Last Stop on Market Street
"The Stars Beneath Our Feet is a fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us. David Barclay Moore is an exciting new voice. We definitely haven't heard the last of his brilliance." --Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning of Brown Girl Dreaming"The Stars Beneath Our Feet is about the weight of the world on the back of a child, and the creative tools necessary to alleviate that pressure. I found myself rooting for Lolly, and you will too." --Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Honor Winner for As Brave As You