The Magic in Changing Your Stars
The Magic in Changing Your Stars

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Annotation: Can you change your fate --and the fate of those you love-- if you return to the past? Journey to 1939 Harlem in this ti... more
Catalog Number: #240795
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Sterling
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 304
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-454-93406-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8726-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-454-93406-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8726-0
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Ailey Benjamin Lane can dance outta this world and even drop a dope rhyme, but he struggles to perform his best under the spotlight.Henderson’s characters have such powerful names, evoking a legacy of black excellence that dovetails triumphantly with this story of facing regrets and achieving redemption. (A list of these names is appended.) At the center, there’s Ailey Benjamin Lane, named for black dancer Alvin Ailey and astronomer/inventor Benjamin Banneker. Ailey is headed into stiff competition for the role of the Scarecrow in the school’s production of The Wiz. Ailey struggles through his first audition, and his stress is compounded when he arrives home to learn that his grandfather, who has shared with Ailey his love of the stars, is hospitalized. At the hospital, Grampa now shares a secret about a prized possession he’s held onto all these years: the tap shoes of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Ailey tries on the shoes and is transported to 1930s Harlem. There, he meets a young street tapper who looks an awful lot like Grampa and who is seeking to make a name for himself but must overcome his own doubt and anxiety. Through these magical shoes and this historic journey, there’s a way for Ailey to rewrite the story and “with every bit of heart and grit you have to seize…possibility.”Black excellence, black fantastic, and black family combine for a transformational story of passion and persistence. (Fantasy. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
The value of family, perseverance, and believing in oneself takes center stage in this bighearted multigenerational story tinged with enchantment. An aspiring rapper and dancer, 11-year-old Ailey Lane is determined to play the Scarecrow in his school production of The Wiz, but the fifth grader bungles his audition, neglecting to learn his lines and forgetting his dance moves. When he informs his grandfather that he-ll never try out for anything again, the man tells Ailey about his own childhood choice, rooted in fear of failure, to pass up Bill -Bojangles- Robinson-s invitation to -show him what I had,- a decision that scotched his tap dancing dreams and spawned lifelong regret. Trying on the tap shoes that Robinson gave to Grampa decades earlier, Ailey is transported to 1939 Harlem, where he doggedly tries to help his young grandfather -change his stars- by reversing his fateful decision. Henderson (One Shadow on the Wall) adds a dose of suspense as Ailey sorts out how, if at all, the tap shoes can help change history and return him home. The author leaves readers space for creative speculation and with genuine affection for the Lane family-in their past and present personas. Ages 8-12. Agent: Clelia Gore, Martin Literary & Media Mgmt. (June)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 47 Eleven-year-old Ailey is a dancer, all the way to his bones. But when he chokes at a school audition for The Wiz , he thinks he's finished. Then his grandpa tells him something amazing: He was a tap dancer so talented that Bojangles himself gave him a special pair of shoes and a chance to audition--and Grampa choked, too. Ailey finds the shoes, tries them on, and is whisked back to 1939 Harlem where he might have the chance to change both Grampa's life and his own. Ailey's story may have elements of fantasy, but it reads like a work of realistic and historical fiction. The historical setting is well researched and immersive, making any reader feel that they, too, have plunged into 1930s Harlem. Parallels to The Wizard of Oz are unmistakable, but this is no simple retelling. Ailey and Grampa are their own heros, and Ailey's quest to get home is filled with twists and turns, raps and tap dancing. A "Black Excellence List" at the end provides extra information about the famous people and places referenced in the book. VERDICT A fast-paced story about family, bravery, and the arts, this story will have readers wanting to visit Harlem and tap alongside Ailey, Grampa, and Bojangles himself. Kristin Brynsvold, Tuckahoe Elementary School, Arlington, VA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Ailey Benjamin Lane can dance outta this world and even drop a dope rhyme, but he struggles to perform his best under the spotlight.Henderson’s characters have such powerful names, evoking a legacy of black excellence that dovetails triumphantly with this story of facing regrets and achieving redemption. (A list of these names is appended.) At the center, there’s Ailey Benjamin Lane, named for black dancer Alvin Ailey and astronomer/inventor Benjamin Banneker. Ailey is headed into stiff competition for the role of the Scarecrow in the school’s production of The Wiz. Ailey struggles through his first audition, and his stress is compounded when he arrives home to learn that his grandfather, who has shared with Ailey his love of the stars, is hospitalized. At the hospital, Grampa now shares a secret about a prized possession he’s held onto all these years: the tap shoes of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Ailey tries on the shoes and is transported to 1930s Harlem. There, he meets a young street tapper who looks an awful lot like Grampa and who is seeking to make a name for himself but must overcome his own doubt and anxiety. Through these magical shoes and this historic journey, there’s a way for Ailey to rewrite the story and “with every bit of heart and grit you have to seize…possibility.”Black excellence, black fantastic, and black family combine for a transformational story of passion and persistence. (Fantasy. 8-12)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Rappin', dancing Ailey Benjamin Lane is convinced that he's a shoo-in for the role of the Scarecrow in his middle school's production of The Wiz. But after freezing up at his audition and finding out that his grandfather is in the hospital, Ailey isn't so sure that the part is in his stars. Then Ailey learns that Grampa, who always advised, "Don't let the dust settle on nothin' you do," has been holding on to his own disappointment secret until he shares his box of regret with Ailey. Inside, a pair of Bojangles Robinson's tap shoes looks like an old man's dream forgotten but becomes a time-travel catapult to 1939 Harlem. Together, Ailey and Grampa's younger self, Taps, work to become better versions of themselves, learning to show up when it matters most. The only question is how changing the stars will affect the present. Henderson weaves magical realism and historical fiction together, offering hard lessons about trying and grit, alongside overwhelming love of family, a lot of laughs, and a "smidgen of magic." Included at the end is a "Black Excellence List" offering a brief history of figures and events mentioned. Ailey's charisma is overwhelmingly enjoyable, and his faults and missteps add relatability. Readers will revel in how he navigates the past, while also coming to understand the depth of his relationship with Grampa.
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7

Can you change your fate --and the fate of those you love-- if you return to the past? Journey to 1939 Harlem in this time-travel adventure with an inspiring message about believing in yourself. Eleven-year-old Ailey Benjamin Lane can dance --so he's certain that he'll land the role of the Scarecrow in his school's production of The Wiz. Unfortunately, a talented classmate and a serious attack of nerves derail his audition: he just stands there, frozen. Deflated and defeated, Ailey confides in his Grampa that he's ready to quit. But Grampa believes in Ailey, and, to encourage him, shares a childhood story. As a boy, Grampa dreamed of becoming a tap dancer; he was so good that the Hollywood star and unofficial Mayor of Harlem, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, even gave him a special pair of tap shoes. Curious, Ailey tries on the shoes . . . and instantly finds himself transported to 1930s Harlem. There he meets a young street tapper and realizes that it's his own grandfather Can Ailey help the 12-year-old version of Grampa face his fears? And, if Ailey changes the past, will he still be able to get home again? Featuring an all-African-American cast of characters, and infused with references to black culture and history, this work of magical realism is sure to captivate and inspire readers.


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