So much YA literature has been written about the World War II experience that you’d think we’d be running out of stories to tell–but thankfully we’re not and Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall is a great story recently added to the mix.
Levi Battle has been left his whole life. His mom left him on a car seat one night and fled, his dad has moved around the Midwest selling encyclopedias and playing baseball with traveling African-American teams. And now Levi’s aunt, Odella, is saying the war is almost over and he needs to go live with his daddy in South Carolina.
The only problem is, his daddy is a paratrooper in the army and has no idea Levi is on his way south. Leaving Chicago and heading to the deep south during the time of Jim Crow laws and hatred for African Americans is a rude wake-up call for Levi. As he travels around the country trying to reunite with his dad, we get a glimpse into the ill-treatment blacks received as civilians and as servicemen fighting for our country.
Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall would be a great companion novel for a unit on World War II. It offers the often-forgotten black voice and shares the war being fought at home while most of our troops were overseas. The historical accuracy of many events and stories would make this book a good segue to research projects too.