Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

Book Summary

Salma Santiago is the person who finds Lucky, Lily's dog. Salma is only in town for blueberry season, because she is the daughter of migrant workers who have traveled to Maine or the summer. Lily and Salma build a friendship that has to face questions about whether or not Salma should be eligible to compete in the annual beauty pageant, and if so, whether she has a fair chance to win.
A Handful of Stars book cover
A Handful of Stars

Book Review

I like how well this author handles pre-teen main characters and their serious concerns about friendships, family, and the right thing to do. There is a delightful part as the friends paint designs together, and Lily, who is trying very hard, is a little put-out that customers seem to enjoy Salma's fanciful, imaginative designs more than hers. Small moments like this are places we choose - whether we will grow and expand our thinking, or shut someone else out and make excuses about our habits and decisions. Cynthia Lord, author of Rules, writes beautifully, and this book is no exception.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Dogs
  • Friendship
  • Migrant Workers; Prejudice
  • Family Relationships
  • Ethics
  • Blueberry Season; Maine Summer

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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