Levi Battle's been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, and the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it's time for Levi to do some leaving of his own. Before he can blink, Levi finds himself on a train from Chicago to Fayettville, North Carolina, where his father is currently stationed—last they knew.
So begins an eye-opening, life-changing journey for Levi. First lesson: there are different rules for African Americans in the South than there are in Chicago. And breaking them can have serious consequences. But with the help of some kind strangers, and despite the hindrances of some unkind ones, Levi makes his way across the United States—searching for his father and finding out about himself, his country, and what it truly means to belong.
Shelley Pearsall has created an unforgettable character in Levi and gives readers a remarkable tour of 1945 America through his eyes. Jump into the Sky is a tour de force of historical fiction from a writer at the very top of her game.
About the Author
A former teacher and museum historian, Shelley Pearsall is now a full-time author. Her first novel, Trouble Don t Last, won the Scott O Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Her other books include Jump into the Sky, Crooked River, All of the Above, and All Shook Up.
Booklist Best of Children's Books 2012
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2012:
“Levi’s voice—humorous and acutely insightful—perfectly captures the viewpoint of a resilient young man whose feet sting from his first harsh landing in the adult world. Fans of Christopher Paul Curtis will fall right into line.”
Starred Review, Booklist, September 15, 2012:
“This poignant, powerful tale of father and son getting to know each other in small, delicate steps is suffused with Levi’s yearning for approval. Strong characterizations on all sides support the weighty story line.”