A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
June 20, 2020 Alexandra Adlawan

5th Grade and Up

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?


Yet another dime a dozen story about a kid who loses their parents at a young age. But this book does manage to stand apart from others with many interesting subjects: blueberries, migrant workers, mason bees, etc.


One of the things Salma has to do in the blueberry pageant is answer questions about blueberries so this book has everything you would ever want to know about Maine blueberries. Here are a few of my favorite blueberry facts:


The top of a wild blueberry is called a calyx.

Wild blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants.

Early Wabanakis called blueberries ‘star berries’, because there’s a five-pointed star on the top of each one. They believed the Great Spirit sent them down from the sky once when there was no other food to eat.


The blue orchard mason bee is a solitary bee that pollinates blueberries and lives in holes. Also, they’re blue.

According to Wikipedia, a migrant worker is ‘a person who either migrates within their home country or outside it to pursue work such as seasonal work. Migrant workers usually do not have an intention to stay permanently in the country or region in which they work’. Salma makes it clear that the life of a migrant worker is not easy, especially for a kid, constantly moving from place to place, making and leaving friends.


In conclusion, this is a quick read that’s worth a look.


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Blueberries

Some blueberries are pink.


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