★ "Salma's artistic creativity and gumption awaken Lily to the power of imagination, the importance of embracing change and knowing when to let go of the past, and the rewards of venturing beyond one's comfort zone." —Publishers Weekly
★ "The treatment of Salma's migrant life is matter-of-fact but direct, and Lily plausibly deals with possibilities of local racism and swells with indignation on behalf of her new friend... It's the straightforward and unaffected prose (highly suitable for a readaloud as well as reading alone) that really allows Lily's story to shine... it's hard to resist joining her on her journey toward greater maturity." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A Handful of Stars
Scholastic Press / 2015
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?
Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love.