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Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall

Jump into the Sky

by Shelley Pearsall

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Another winner from author Shelley Pearsall. It's 1945, and 13 year old Levi, after living three years in Chicago with his aunt, is suddenly sent away by her to live with his father on an Army base in South Carolina. Levi hasn't seen his father in three years, only has the occasional cryptic letter sent from a myriad of Army bases. But Levi is hopeful, despite being very nervous to travel alone for the first time on a train through the segregated South, that his dad will be glad to see him and their relationship will take up right where it left off. Unfortunately, when Levi arrives, his father is gone! Shipped out! The only person still on Base is Cal, a buddy of his dad's whose injury prevented him from shipping with his crewmates. So Levi has to figure out if he can stay here or how he'll find his dad, and is it true what Cal is saying, that Levi's father jumps out of airplanes? Really? An all-African-American paratrooper squadron? Levi's never heard of such a thing!

Based on the true-life stories of the 555th "Triple Nickle" squadron, and full of great period detail, memorable characters, action and humor, told by a warm and funny teen character you'll love to meet. At times this book reminded me of "Bud Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis, in its tone and the sweet funny nature of Levi. ( )
  GoldieBug | Sep 19, 2015 |
Falling. The ground so far away it feels like the distance is forever. As your parachute opens you get jolted to a sudden stop. Then you continue to drift down slowly with the farms spread out below you in neat little rows. This is an everyday experience for Levi's dad who is in the colored army during World War 2. Jump Into the Sky is a historical fiction book by Shelley Pearsall. In this book Levi spent 3 years with an aunt on his dad's side of the family before one day she shipped him off to the army base in North Carolina where his dad is working. Levi has a horrible ride on the train learning about what colored people were treated like back then in the south. When he arrives at the army base, he learns that his dad was shipped out to another army base and nobody knows what base that is. This story is about Levi's experiences trying to find out where is dad is, and what it was like for colored people back then.

This book is extremely exciting. I think that the author did a great job making me feel the fear that Levi felt on the train and after learning that his dad had already left the army base. I think that this book would be great for middle schoolers because it has drama but it also has its happy moments. This is a book for anyone who likes to experience what it would be like to have your dad in a war and never know exactly where he is. ( )
  chgrbr14 | Sep 7, 2014 |
I like a little-known historical fiction story as much as the next person, but it was like I kept waiting for the story to get exciting and it kept ALMOST getting exciting, but then meandering away to something else. Levi's voice wasn't strong enough for me to enjoy the book on his character alone and the plot meandered too much to be compelling. Part of my disappointment might be with the cover and title, both of which seem to promise a lot of wartime action, which is not necessarily the fault of the author, but I don't feel like the insides matched. So... it was okay? I think teens who enjoy a more leisurely-paced historical fiction would probably like it, or anyone with a special interest in the lives of African Americans on the WWII homefront.


BUD NOT BUDDY by Christopher Paul Curtis for the historical (1930s) adventures of a young black boy traveling on his own.

FLYGIRL by Sherri Smith for another story about African Americans on the homefront during WWII. ( )
  abbylibrarian | Apr 8, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375836993, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:06 -0400)

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In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father's unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Includes historical notes.… (more)

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