Diverse middle-grade historical fiction at its best. Fans of Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer will adore this similarly inspriring and thought-provoking coming-of-age tale set against a pivotal moment in American history.
Ebony-Grace is an irresistible, hugely sympathetic character. Zoboi paints a loving portrait of an African American girl who can close her eyes, rise to the stars, and conjure whole universes of stories, but with her eyes open and feet planted, she struggles to find a place she feels welcome. It’s impossible not to cheer for her.
Afrofuturism made accessible for middle grade. Zoboi deftly captures the historical intersection of the space race, popular science fiction, and early hiphop as she weaves real figures like Guion Bluford and black engineers who integrated NASA with beloved Star Wars and Star Trek references and allusions to the rap tracks that were the soundtrack of Harlem. The book is a subtle but powerful reminder that African Americans have always played a role in how America imagines a future in outer space.
Ibi Zoboi is a star. In addition to earning enormous critical acclaim for her first two YA jovels, Ibi spent the last year visiting schools across the country. She’s a charismatic speaker and deeply thoughtful critic, poised to claim a place as one of children’s literature’s most eloquent voices.
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