By: Cynthia Lord
A Handful of Stars is a sweet story of friendship between two young girls. 12-year-old Lily is an orphan who lives with her grandparents in Maine. Lily meets a new friend during the summer that she otherwise wouldn’t have met if her dog, Lucky, hadn’t brought them together. Salma is in Maine for the summer with her family, migrant workers who work in the blueberry fields. Lily and Salma soon become fast friends and bond over their love of dogs, painting, and blueberry enchiladas. Salma wants to help Lily raise money so she can pay for an expensive eye surgery for her dog. The girls paint wooden mason bee houses and sell them in the general store. Salma also decides that she would like to enter the annual Blueberry Queen pageant and Lily is worried about her chances because a migrant worker has ever entered the pageant before. Hannah, who is Lily’s other friend, has won the contest for the past two years in a row. She offers to loan Salma a dress for the pageant. This is a sensitive coming-of-age tale that explores the importance of embracing change.