Reviews for Jump into the Sky

AudioFile Reviews 2012 September
Fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Levi Battle, who was abandoned by his mother as a baby and raised by his aunt, is sent to live with his father in North Carolina. His dad was a rarity during WWII, a black paratrooper. Narrator J.B. Adkins skillfully recounts how Levi's urban background and naiveté poorly prepare him for the Jim Crow South. Since his dad is no longer in North Carolina, Levi is befriended by a military couple, Calvin and Peaches. They make a home for him until he's reunited with his father. Adkins particularly shines as Calvin and Peaches, black Georgians who help the boy navigate the cruel and confusing South. Levi grows up, and along with him listeners learn about war, 1940s America, and how to jump from an airplane. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

Gr 5-8--Thirteen-year-old Chicagoan Levi Battle has been living with his Aunt Odella ever since his father departed for the Army three years ago. Tired of this responsibility, his aunt announces that it's about time Levi's father started raising him, so she puts the boy on a train bound for North Carolina. It's 1945, and Levi is shaken by the segregation and bigotry in the South. When he finally reaches Camp Mackall, Levi discovers that his father's unit is no longer there. With the help of a soldier and his wife, Levi travels cross-country to Oregon where the Triple Nickles, an African-American paratrooper unit, is stationed on a secret mission. Reunited with his father, Levi eventually confronts and resolves his feelings about family, love, and loyalty. J. B. Adkins's heartfelt narration perfectly captures Levi's innocence and wonder at the experiences and challenges he faces over the course of the story. At times, his voice breaks, whether due to emotion or Levi's bourgeoning maturity, lending greater believability to the character. Adkins seamlessly switches between characters and gives each a distinctive voice, whether it's MawMaw Sands's lilting Southern drawl or Cal's earnest way with words. While Pearsall's use of local color and word choice add authenticity to the story (Knopf, 2012), it's Adkins who breathes life into the words. This coming-of-age tale will appeal to a broad audience, and particularly to fans of Christopher Paul Curtis.--Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH

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