Jump Into the Sky, an historical fiction novel for middle-grade readers by Shelley Pearsall, tells the story of the summer that everything in Levi's life changes.
Levi's mother left the family when he was young, and with his father enlisted in the military during World War II, Levi has been living with his aunt in a small apartment in Chicago. After his aunt gets a feeling about the end of the war nearing, she sends Levi on a train to the South to meet up with his father on his military base. The rural South is a much different place than urban Chicago, and Levi comes face to face with the harsh realities of racial prejudice. While he does not find his father at the base, his does meet up with one of his father's fellow soldiers--and Levi learns that his father's claims of jumping out of airplanes are in fact true. His father is one of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Throughout this thoughtful, moving historical novel, Levi travels the country, becomes acquainted with the kind and not-so-kind characters in the world, and learns the true meaning of honor. Levi's young, developing voice makes for compelling and interesting narration, and the reader really gets a feel for what Levi goes through emotionally during the summer his life entirely changes course. Readers of historical and military fiction will love the rich detail of the novel, but all young readers who enjoy developing a relationship with a character will find this a captivating read.
Jump Into the Sky will be released by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, on August 14, 2012.