Read Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall Online

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Levi Battle's been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, and the war is nearly over, aLevi Battle's been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, and the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it's time for Levi to do some leaving of his own. Before he can blink, Levi finds himself on a train from Chicago to Fayettville, North Carolina, where his father is currently stationed—last they knew.So begins an eye-opening, life-changing journey for Levi. First lesson: there are different rules for African Americans in the South than there are in Chicago. And breaking them can have serious consequences. But with the help of some kind strangers, and despite the hindrances of some unkind ones, Levi makes his way across the United States—searching for his father and finding out about himself, his country, and what it truly means to belong.Shelley Pearsall has created an unforgettable character in Levi and gives readers a remarkable tour of 1945 America through his eyes. Jump into the Sky is a tour de force of historical fiction from a writer at the very top of her game....

Title : Jump Into the Sky
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375836992
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jump Into the Sky Reviews

  • Ms. Yingling
    2018-10-26 03:58

    Expected publication: August 14th 2012 by Alfred a KnopfLevi has been living with an aunt in Chicago since his mother left him and his father is in the army during in WWII. When his aunt tires of having him, she sends him off to where his father is stationed in the south. This is quite a culture shock for the smart, well-behaved boy who is subject to the Jim Crow behavior in this part of the US for the first time. To make matters worse, his father's unit has just been shipped to Oregon. Luckily, one of his father's men, Cal, takes him in to help out with his wife, Peaches, who is expecting and soon has a baby girl. Eventually, Cal is sent to join the 555th, and Levi is reunited with his father. WWII is winding down, but the Japanese are sending bombs into the US on balloons, and the 555th, while fighting against racial prejudice, is also trying to keep those at bay.Strengths: I have two reading speeds, Review Speed With Laser Focus and Enjoying Myself. Pearsall is a great writer who frequently lulled me into leisurely enjoying her prose. This is also an under represented area of WWII history, and the research is well done.Weaknesses: As with most books set in the home front, this lacks action. There is some at the end, with the balloons, but there isn't even as much racial tension in the south as I thought there would be. Aside from one big incident, most of the book is very quiet. That's not a weakness until you try to give this book to one of the war mongering preteen boys who want things to blow up in every chapter. They will be attracted to the great cover.

  • Kristina Cardoza
    2018-11-11 01:13

    SUMMARYJump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall was a great historical fiction book! It's 1945 in Chicago, and 13-year-old Levin Battle is being left--again! First his mother ran away, then his brave father was enlisted, so the government took him to serve in the U.S. army, then his new guardian, his grandmother, left (entirely), and he was stuck with his strict Aunt Odella, and now she wants him to leave and go to the place that his father was stationed--down South! When Levi gets there, he finds out that his father has been moved to Oregon! Now he's on a quest across the United States to find his father, and encounters many difficulties involving race along the way... What will Levi do, and can he survive the harsh treatment outside Chicago?ABOUT THE AUTHORI was very surprised that the author, Shelley Pearsall, was not African American. Ms. Pearsall did an outstanding job of describing the past--from an African American boy's point of view! The author mostly writes historic fictions about people and their struggles. Other books written by Ms. Pearsall are Trouble Don't Last, All Shook Up, All of the Above, and Crooked River. For more information about the author, visit shelleypearsall.com.MY OPINIONI really liked this book! It was a remarkable African American historical novel for ages 10 and up. It is a wonderful adventure story focusing on the life of a boy about my age. If you enjoy learning about the past as I do, you will truly enjoy this story. It's a great way for kids to see how African Americans were treated in the 40s. I couldn't have imagined living in the South in the 1940s. This book, through the eyes of Levi, showed me a glimpse of what my life might have been like in that era since I'm half black--it makes me appreciate the life that I have today even more. It's amazing how different it was when Levi traveled from the Northern to the Southern states. The end of the story filled me with pride and made me feel like I, too, can be that brave and stand up for what is right despite the dangers it might cause!**I received a copy of this eBook for free from Random House Children's Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation.** Jump Into the Sky book review on KC's Best Reviews and MoreKristina Cardoza

  • Margo Tanenbaum
    2018-10-20 01:14

    In her new historical novel Jump into the Sky, award-winning historical fiction author Shelley Pearsall explores a little known footnote in World War II history--the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the first black paratrooper unit in the U.S. Army.The story of the 555th unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year old Levi, who's been living with his aunt in Chicago while his father serves in a secret Army mission. It's May, 1945, and the war is drawing to close. Levi's aunt decides to send him off by train to stay with his father at his dad's last known address, an army post in North Carolina. Not only does his father not know he's coming, Levi arrives in the Jim Crow South without a clue as to the behavior expected of a "colored boy" and almost gets himself killed for trying to buy a Coke at the wrong store. And to make things more difficult, his father's unit has been sent all the way to Oregon. Will Levi have to go back to his aunt, who doesn't want him any more, or will he be able to find his father in Oregon? And will his father survive the dangerous mission assigned to the 555?This novel is a powerful story of racism and courage in the not-too-distant days of the Jim Crow South and a segregated American military. Although the main characters of Levi and his father are fictitious, the novel is carefully researched and many of the incidents described really happened, including the scene at the country store with the Coca Cola. Moreover, the novel is peppered with colorful real soldiers from the 555th, including "Tiger Ted" Lowry, who once fought Joe Louis in an exhibition match. An author's note describes how she first learned of this battalion, which was part of a secret operation to protect the U.S. from Japanese balloon bombs. This balloon bombing strategy of the Japanese is certainly a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. Pearsall was fortunate to interview a veteran of the unit, Walter Morris. Further details on the 555th can be found at the unit's website, triplenickle.com. I would highly recommend this book to middle schoolers looking for a good adventure story that brings a little known part of World War II history to life.

  • Christina
    2018-11-07 05:52

    Another winner from author Shelley Pearsall. It's 1945, and 13 year old Levi, after living three years in Chicago with his aunt, is suddenly sent away by her to live with his father on an Army base in South Carolina. Levi hasn't seen his father in three years, only has the occasional cryptic letter sent from a myriad of Army bases. But Levi is hopeful, despite being very nervous to travel alone for the first time on a train through the segregated South, that his dad will be glad to see him and their relationship will take up right where it left off. Unfortunately, when Levi arrives, his father is gone! Shipped out! The only person still on Base is Cal, a buddy of his dad's whose injury prevented him from shipping with his crewmates. So Levi has to figure out if he can stay here or how he'll find his dad, and is it true what Cal is saying, that Levi's father jumps out of airplanes? Really? An all-African-American paratrooper squadron? Levi's never heard of such a thing!Based on the true-life stories of the 555th "Triple Nickle" squadron, and full of great period detail, memorable characters, action and humor, told by a warm and funny teen character you'll love to meet. At times this book reminded me of "Bud Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis, in its tone and the sweet funny nature of Levi.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-01 22:11

    It's 1945 and WWII seems to be winding down. The aunt with whom he has been living in Chicago decides that it's time for the father of thirteen-year-old Levi Battle to do his part. It might seem cruel for her to send Levi out on his own in that way, but the author makes it clear that Aunt Odella has spent so much of her life taking care of others that she has little time for herself. Levi takes a train from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and then on North Carolina where his father is stationed. He learns first hand about segregation, prejudice, and hatred along the way where even the simple act of buying a soft drink in Fayetteville can have disatrous consequences. After Levi realizes that his father's squadron has relocated to Pendleton, Oregon, he is befriended by a kind-hearted couple, Cal and Peaches. Not only do they provide him a home, but they bring him along when Cal is sent to Pendleton too to join the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the nation's first African-American paratroopers. The relationship between father and son may have been a bit bumpy as might be expected, but the author creates several likeable characters and tells the story of a ground-breaking military unit while also capturing perfectly the flavor of those times and the different forms in which prejudice existed. It's hard not to root for Levi and wish for him to have a happily ever after.

  • Becky
    2018-10-26 23:07

    It's been years since I've read a Shelley Pearsall novel, but I remember really loving those that I've read in the past. I really liked Jump Into the Sky. I'm not sure that I absolutely loved it. But it was a really good read. I just LOVED the main character, Levi Battle. I really loved his narrative voice, and I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes. I enjoyed many of the characters, I especially liked Cal, Peaches, and baby Victory. (I loved hearing their love story!) I was so happy that this couple was able to open their hearts and home to Levi when he really needed someone--anyone--to care. And I was pleased that Levi had the opportunity--at last--to get to know his father. The book was set during the last months of World War II, and it was an interesting read. I enjoyed learning about this historical period. I didn't know about the balloon bombs OR the African American paratroopers. So that was good. I enjoyed the characters, the writing, the details great and small.

  • David
    2018-11-18 02:13

    Katherine read this to me on the road. It is a very well written story of a young African American boy trying to link up with his father serving with the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (Triple Nickle) during WWII. The injustice of racism is clearly demonstrated, while the sacrifice made by those who served is highlighted. A GREAT read, very easy flowing book but one that will make you think and be very grateful for those who served ahead of us. The Paratrooper humor is well done!

  • Nancy
    2018-11-11 02:08

    This is a great historical novel. I really love the endnote in which the author tells how the book was researched with interviews and which details were taken from real life. The book is based on a little known fact about WWII. A positive male African American character.

  • Chris
    2018-11-02 06:06

    Historical fiction about a boy being sent to live with his father who is a member of the first African American paratroopers, the 555th Triple Nickles. Very true to the time period and the events of the 555th.

  • Chris
    2018-11-09 22:00

    Summary (Amazon.com)Levi Battle has been left behind all his life. His mother could sing like a bird and she flew away like one, too. His father left him with his grandmother so he could work as a traveling salesman—until Levi's grandmother left this world entirely. Now Levi's staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it's 1945, the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it's time for Levi to do some leaving of his own. Before he can blink, Levi finds himself on a train from Chicago to Fayettville, North Carolina, where his father is currently stationed—last they knew. After a hair- raising and eye opening trip into the Jim Crow South, Levi finds that he has arrived too late. His father has been reassigned and shipped out the day before to Camp Pendleton Oregon with the rest of his troop. The 555 Paratroopers, an all black unit, have been sent on a not too secret mission to fight forest fires as they “guard” the West Coast against rumored attacks by Japanese bomb-carrying balloons, an idea so preposterous that even the soldiers believe it’s just a ruse to keep them sidetracked for the duration of the war. Levi and another trooper left behind in North Carolina to recuperate from a jumping accident, set by train to rejoin the others in Oregon.My CommentsAs a historic fiction book, I think Jump into the Sky does a great job of capturing the mood and feel of America during World War II and also the lives of blacks living and serving in a segregated country and military. Pearsall takes some little known facts of history, the “Triple Nickel” 555th Paratrooper Infantry Battalion composed entirely of black men, and Japanese hot air balloon bombs, and makes them into an interesting backdrop for the story. I did not know about either of these two things before reading Jump into the Sky. Since then I have come across an interesting nonfiction book, Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone, which explains the story of these black paratroopers in greater detail. Pearsall also does a great job of capturing the authentic feel of the times with her descriptions and references to people and events, (Lena Horne, Joe Lewis, and Uncle Otis’ Chevrolet sedan pulling into a parking space “like an Allied warship docking.”)Dealing with segregation is a major theme in this book, but the author is very careful to leave out the “n” word or anything else that might be overly offensive to blacks. However, the terms “Jap” and “Japs” are used extensively. As a resident of Chicago, I loved the local setting and references to Union Station and Wrigley gum among others. Jump into the Sky, despite its title doesn’t have much action, and is slow paced, but it does have interesting and well developed characters, including Levi, his Aunt Odella and great Uncle Otis. This book would appeal to boys, history lovers and people of color – best for grades 5 and up.

  • William
    2018-11-16 01:13

    Jump into the sky by Shelley Pearsall was a great historical fiction book. It take place during 1945 a kid named Levi Battle lives with his Aunt in Chicago. When he was younger his mom Queen B. Walker left him and his father alone together. His father soon joined the army to fight against the Japaneses and to protect his country he was also part of the African American Paratroops. When Levi is at the age of 13 his aunt had had enough raising Levi and sent him off to North Carolina to find his father. During his journey he runs into some difficult parts of the country where segregation is still happening. Levi has never witnessed segregation before. He see signs all over the place marked Colored and White. Meanwhile he also runs into some of his fathers friends. A man named Cow was also part of the army but had a bad leg so he was taking a break and his wife named Peaches who was pregnant. Cow promises they will help him find his father. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read historical fiction books.

  • Laura
    2018-10-29 04:55

    Text to Self- It was amazing to me read about the triple nickels and their impact on our country. I had never heard about the troop and actually looked up information to make sure it was real. It was sad to hear the treatment of the troops were not equal as troops that were white. 1. Why did Levi have to leave Chicago?2. Explain why Levi had to sit in a separate section of the train once he entered the South?3. What questions would you ask the general store owner who attacked Levi?4. Why do you think Cal and Peaches allowed Levi travel across country with them? 5. What is your opinion with the author having one of the members of the triple nickels get killed during their last mission?6. How do you predict Levi’s life will turn out now that he is rejoined with his father Charles?(2012, September 1). School Library Journal. http://www.booksinprint.com.leo.lib.u...

  • Sha'Niece
    2018-10-24 06:07

    THIS STORY JUMP INTO THE SKY WAS AN OKAY BOOK. WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS IT HAD SOME GOOD/FUNNY PARTS IN IT. BUT IT ALSO HAD SOME BORING PARTS IN IT TOO. THE BOOK WAS ABOUT A BOY NAMED LEVI AND HIS LIFE HIS MOM QVEEN BEE WALKER LEFT HIS AT A CLUB AND TOOK OFF. SO LEVI LIVED WITH HIS AUNT ODELLA BECAUSE HIS DAD CHARLES WAS A PARATROOPER. BUT ONE DAY HIS AUNT TOLD LEVI HE HAD TO MOVE OUT AND GO LIVE WITH HIS DAD.SO THAT SAME DAY LEVI GETS ON THE TRAIN. HE WENT THROUGH A LOT BEFORE HE FINALLY REACHED HIS FARTHER.BUT WHEN HE GOT THERE SOMEBODY TOLD HIM THAT HIS DAD GOT SHIPPED TO A DIFFERENT PLACE. SO CAL AND PEACHES WERE GOOD FRIENDS WITH HIS DAD SO THEY LET LEVI STAY WITH THEM.MONTHS WENT PASS AND LEVI FINALLY GETS TO MEET HIS DAD AFTER SO MANY YEARS.AFTER THEY MEET LEVI'S WHOLE LIFE CHANGES.THE BOOK JUMP INTO THE SKY HAD SOME REALLY GOOD PARTS AND SOME BORING PARTS.THE PEOPLE THAT I WOULD SAY WILL LIKE THIS BOOK ARE KIDS THAT HAVE PARENTS IN THE ARMY.

  • Abby Johnson
    2018-11-12 01:01

    I like a little-known historical fiction story as much as the next person, but it was like I kept waiting for the story to get exciting and it kept ALMOST getting exciting, but then meandering away to something else. Levi's voice wasn't strong enough for me to enjoy the book on his character alone and the plot meandered too much to be compelling. Part of my disappointment might be with the cover and title, both of which seem to promise a lot of wartime action, which is not necessarily the fault of the author, but I don't feel like the insides matched. So... it was okay? I think teens who enjoy a more leisurely-paced historical fiction would probably like it, or anyone with a special interest in the lives of African Americans on the WWII homefront. Readalikes: BUD NOT BUDDY by Christopher Paul Curtis for the historical (1930s) adventures of a young black boy traveling on his own. FLYGIRL by Sherri Smith for another story about African Americans on the homefront during WWII.

  • Gayle Dill
    2018-11-13 23:02

    Middle School - Historical FictionLevi Battle has lived with his aunt in Chicago for 3 yrs. when she decides to send him off unannounced to his father's base, Ft. Mackall, in NC. Levi experiences the Jim Crow south as he travels by train only to find his father's battalion has just shipped out to Pendleton, OR. Cal and Peaches take Levi under their wing, taking him along to OR when Cal gets orders to join his battalion. Levi become reacquainted with his father in OR and when the war ends, decides to make a life with his dad at the base in NC. Historical note: the 55th Parachute Infantry Battalion was an all black group of paratroopers who never saw war action (racism), but fought forest fires in the NW while watching for Japanese balloon bombs.

  • Sandy Brehl
    2018-11-12 04:07

    Heard of the Tuskegee Airmen? Most have, but few stories have been told of the segregated paratroop group, the "triple nickels", or 555th group who never made it off the continent into the war, despite training and excellence. The central character, Levi, is a thirteen year old Chicago kid who has been left behind all his life. He is launched into many rude awakenings as WWII nears its end and he finds himself leaving the familiar turf of his neighborhood, learning to deal with Jim Crow racism, his absent father, sorting out truths from assumptions and stories, and finding out if he is even capable of trusting or believing anyone who matters.

  • Darrien
    2018-11-07 22:06

    I loves when Jester/Levi found his dad for the first time in a long time.I think it was an OK book.I don't like this book because,it was so sad.People where dying and one of the solders named Micky. This story is mainly about a boy named Levi got left by his mother Queen Bee Walker.His aunt bring him in and she raised him.He rod to Pendiltan from Chicago. He found his dad and it was a good moment. His Dad fount out about the japes made balloon bombs. And you haft to read the rest for the book

  • Kenneth Jackson
    2018-10-19 00:04

    I think that jump into the sky is a good book I recommend this book to audiences. Even if you don't like historical fiction . in the beginning Levi/Chester is living with His aunt O Della His life was good until one day...

  • Robin
    2018-11-10 01:56

    I really liked this book. It was the story about the 555th in WWII. It was about black/white relations in different parts of the country. As a teacher, it would be a book that I would read/discuss with middle school students. I was very impressed with Pearsall's historical narrative.

  • Msjodi777
    2018-11-13 22:13

    An excellent story, made even better by the perfect narrator.

  • Philip Guzman
    2018-11-09 01:56

    I read books with my special needs son as part of our time together. We recently completed reading "Jump Into the Sky" and loved it. It is a very special book which tracks the life journey of one young thirteen year old African American boy during the last year of World War II. From his home in Chicago, he travels about the country to reunite with this army father - first to the Jim Crow South where he experiences for the first time the hatred and bigotry that is, sadly, still found in the hearts of many today. His travels continue to the western part of the country, as do his life-changing experiences. It is a book about growing up, bonding with a missing parent, the heartaches of abandonment, bigotry in its truest and ugliest forms in the old South, and the ironies of serving your country and still being faced with the hatred of your fellow citizens. . . The book masterfully blends these themes -- but not in a heavy-handed way -- but with much humor and sage thinking by a boy who is wise in the ways of the world well beyond his years. . . . My son and I laughed and cried with the many wonderful characters who are encountered in this book. The book is listed for a "YA" reader, but I believe that it blends historical fiction, life-lessons, and humor and is so well-written that it should be considered splendid reading material for people of all ages, not simply young adults. . . . The book is especially relevant in today's times where hatred, bigotry, and the like are back in the news (not that these themes have ever left us!) following the riots and death in Charlottsville, VA and the responses of all people on all sides of the political spectrum. . . Pick up this book! You will learn much, not only about the 555 African-American Paratroop Division during World War II, but about family, and living together in harmony, as well.

  • Lavin Bendt
    2018-10-19 22:06

    This book was very interesting. It was a good book to inform the readers on what was going on during this time frame. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about historical fiction.

  • Alex Baugh
    2018-10-31 22:02

    Imagine being a 13 year old African American boy living in Chicago with your aunt during WWII while your father is away in the Air Force. Imagine further that one morning, out of the blue, your aunt tells you it is time for you to see your father again and that afternoon, without even saying good-bye to your best friend, you find yourself on a train heading to Camp Mackall in North Carolina. Sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it?Jump into the Sky begins in May 1945. The war has ended in Europe but not in the Pacific. And not in the south either, where Jim Crow stills reigns. Young Levi's first experience of that happens when he changes trains in Washington DC and is put in an almost empty car right behind the coal-burning engines. There he meets an older man who gives him his first lesson in Jim Crow laws. Levi is astounded by what he hears, so much so he doesn't believe what he has been told until he finds himself looking down the barrel of a gun while trying to buy a Coke in a store at the end of his journey in Fayetteville. He manages to get out of the store alive, though not before experiencing a little more Jim Crow welcome. Afraid and humiliated, Levi starts walking the miles to Camp Mackall, where is father is stationed. Along the way, he is picked up by a black soldier, but discovers that his father, Lieutenant Charles Battle and the rest of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the country's only all black unit in the Air Force, has been moved on to Oregon. Luckily for Levi, the one member of his father's Battalion still around because of an injury finds Levi and takes him home, where he ends up living for the first part of the summer. Cal and his wife Peaches both know Levi's father, so there is some comfort in that. And as soon as Cal's injury is healed, he gets his orders to head to Oregon, too. What a surprise when they find that 555th's assignment is to fight fires along the west coast. In Oregon, the story begins to diverge. On the one hand, Levi and his father had been separated for three years and both have changed a great deal. Now, they must get to know each other and for Levi that means learning to trust his father as well as himself. Levi has a history of people leaving him, including his father and his mother. And now he has an aunt who no longer wants to take care of him. Can things work out somehow so that he and his father can get along and live together?On the other hand, there is the historical aspect of this novel. Pearsall, who I was surprised to discover is not African American, has managed to convey the scathing hatred most whites had towards blacks in the south. The fact that Levi was so naive about the rules and mores makes his time spent there all the more poignant. Twice I felt myself getting angry and scared for Levi as he went through his baptism by fire. And there is the other historical aspect - the heroes of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. No one back in Chicago really believed that his father was really doing what he said he was doing for the war but it turned out to be true, much to Levi's surprise. In Oregon, the 555th were assigned to fight the fires resulting from fire balloons the Japanese were sending over. These balloon bombs carried incendiary devices meant to explode and start fires wherever they landed. Most people really didn't believe this was happening including the men of the 555th, and Pearsall realistically portrays the frustration these men must have really felt after all their elite training and knowing they were being laughed by people. **Not a spoiler, but an historical fact** It turns out, the Japanese really did send over 9,000 of these balloon bombs.Jump into the Sky is a nice coming of age adventure story with well developed characters and realistic settings. I thought Pearsall gave us a clear, informative window into what life may have been like for some African Americans on the American home front at that time in Chicago, North Carolina and Oregon. One more thing - why was Aunt Odella so anxious to get rid of Levi? Well, I didn't see the answer to that coming.This book is recommended for readers age 10+This book was obtained from the publisher

  • Casertalaura
    2018-11-04 04:56

    This was great story of historical fiction surrounding a piece of WW2 history I have never heard of before. It has to do with a troop of African American paratroopers on a special mission out West. Great story!!

  • Kenzie Fredericks
    2018-10-21 02:15

    Jump into the sky is an amazing book written by Shelley Pearsall. This book is about a young boy named Levi Battle, and how he makes an extreme journey across the United States that helps him learn a lot of new things. He doesn't have much company throughout his life, but he finds a way to lift himself up without anyone to guide him. "Wish I was a little rock a-settin' on a hill, Without another thing to do, but just a-settin' still." A quote memorized by Levi, and he says, "It's a tune about coming and going, living and dying." I think this quote is inspiring not only for readers but to help understand the rest of the book and Levi himself. I do recommend reading this book, I really enjoyed it and I think it is inspiring.

  • Bookworm1858
    2018-11-07 04:59

    I was very excited to give this book a read as it is set in America during the waning days of WWII (we actually experience V-E Day as well V-J Day). I haven't read many books during that time and lately have read mostly European-set war books.Our protagonist is Levi whose aunt has been keeping him in Chicago while his father serves in the army but who is sent to join his father at camp in North Carolina. When Levi arrives, he discovers that he just missed his father and stays with an injured armyman before they journey to Oregon to meet up with the rest of the men. It's not exactly the most exciting novel given that it's all in the US but I appreciated it (just a warning for other readers).There are however several bursts of intensity surrounding Levi's trips through the South, where he experiences Jim Crow laws and receives threats based solely on the color of his skin. This is scariest when a shopkeeper turns a gun on Levi, who's really one of the sweetest book boys I've ever read, while forcing him to drink. I was actually prepared for even worse things to happen based on the time period and location but that was definitely the most overt aggression although there are many other instances of discrimination.One place of discrimination is in the army (remember that troops were still segregated although integration will be coming soon). Levi's father was part of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, an all-black airborne unit, whose members crave to serve their country overseas but who are relegated to the homefront, including fighting fires in Oregon and searching for elusive Japanese fire balloons, the very existence of which they come to doubt although their work is eventually justified. Again this isn't something I know much about so it was great to learn something new.Lastly I wanted to mention themes of family and sticking together. The members of Levi's family always seem to leave, starting with his mother and continuing with his father's wanderings. It makes Levi wonder about his own constancy until the events of this book prove his loyalty and consistency. I also really loved the family Levi stays with in North Carolina. They are a young couple who have a child during that time and they are just good people trying to do their best under difficult circumstances and of course I loved that they took care of Levi.Overall: A sweet slower-paced book about the homefront toward the end of WWII; vivid descriptions and characterizations reward the reader.Cover: I'm not a huge fan of the cover given the huge face on the cover although at least he's not staring at me but I do like the plane and paratrooper superimposed over his head.

  • Aukeviaah
    2018-10-22 00:01

    I think jump into the sky is a good book.I say this because all the characters were good.I think teenagers and adults should read this book.Why because it's good for people to read this book.Levi Battle is the main character,he is telling the story.he is eleven years old.When the book started off he was living with his Aunt Odella in Chicago.and she out him out.So Levi wen to his dad;his dad is a paratrooper.When Levi was going to go stay with his dad he didn't know he was coming.On the train Levi meet this lady who gave him a cake.Then Levi went to a store in the south were white's can come to the front door,and black's had to go around back.But Levi didn't know they had to do that.Levi went through the front door and asked for a soda,and the man went to the back and got Levi and old soda.The man told Levi to drink right there.And Levi did the man was going to shoot him,Levi gave the man a dollar but the man kept his change,and Levi ran as far away from the store as he could.and that's when he almost threw up.Levi reaches his dad but his dad wasn't there he meet this man name cow one of his dad's friend.He told him everything cow even recognized that Levi was Boots son.Then Levi meet cow's girlfriend named peaches.Levi meet MawMaw Sands she always sits on the porch and make baskets,and she knew everything about Levi before he went to her house.Levi's dad got back and told him everything about what Aunt Odella did,and him and his talked on and on.They where in Fayetteville,SC.Then they went to Pendleton,OR,but before they left Peached had her baby named Victory.and MawMaw Sands gave Levi a basket.Then when cow and Levi's dad and the other troops went back to war with other countries Peaches,Levi,and baby Victory had to go stay with the Dalanies.and Levi meet the girl named Willa Jean.She told Levi to kiss her because she never been kissed before and kissed her on cheek This was my favorite part.Then when the trooper's got back they said that Mickey had died. which was sad.Peaches,Cow,and baby victory had to take Mickey body home to his family.Levi and his dad went back to Chicago and saw that Aunt Odella got married.

  • Jen Van Fleet
    2018-11-11 00:52

    Jump Into the Sky tells a story of Levi, the teenage son of an African American military man serving in World War II. Levi has been left behind by his dad who is stationed at various places and by his mom who left him as a baby in the front seat of her car so that she could leave town to pursue her singing career. Levi seems to have accepted that his parents aren't around and that his lot in life is to live with various relatives and to live vicariously through the few letters his father writes. He finds himself constantly trying to determine whether he believes that his father is even doing something important elsewhere or if he just doesn't want to be around Levi. Soon after the story starts, Levi's aunt decides that he needs to go and find his father and leave her custody. Levi hops a train from Chicago and heads south where he soon faces experiences of racism and inequity. He perseveres and soon meets people who know his father. Much of the book is spent on the journey to find his father, and then the later third of the story tells how Levi and his father reunite and get to know each other again. Levi and his father have to make some important decisions about who is going and who is leaving, and everyone has to face the consequences of their choices.This story reflects true events and experiences of African American servicemen during World War II. The historical accuracy is good, but I found the theme of leaving/going and the impact of choices to be an even more compelling reason to finish the book. I found a few scenes that felt like real raw emotion was expressed, but throughout much of the novel, I felt like Levi was a bit disconnected and uninterested in what was happening to him. This could be part of Levi's defense mechanism after having been left so many times, but I would have liked to see a little more passion come out when reading about a very dynamic family living through an amazing part of our history. This book would be age appropriate for late elementary through middle school students.

  • Chris
    2018-10-31 04:03

    I really enjoyed the audio version of this book. The narrator did a great job of portraying the character of Levi. I love historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint. Levi is a 12 or 13 (sorry I can't remember) year old African-American boy who feels as if he is always getting left behind. First his mom left, then his father left for the war (WWII) and then his aunt sends him away to find his father. That is the only part of the book I have trouble with, as it is hard to imagine putting a young kid on a train to find his father without at least confirming with the father that he will be ready to receive him. A cast of great characters support Levi on his journey of self-discovery - from Chicago to North Carolina to Oregon and back again. The reality of being an African-American in the south in the 1940s is painfully portrayed, but that does not bring the story down, rather it helps point Levi in the direction of some wonderful people who help him along his way - Peaches and Cal and Mama Sands. The book is filled with metaphors - one of my favorite being the idea that a basket represents life - there is beauty woven into every basket, but every basket starts with a knot of pain. That is a great image. Baskets can hold secrets - you can never truly know what might be in someone else's basket. The WWII backdrop for this book tells the story of the 555, a group of all black paratroopers that participated in a secret mission in Oregon. This story is compelling and I can see why Pearsall chose to tell it. I appreciate her author's note at the end, as it provided some insight into her inspiration for writing the story and gives readers a little more detail. There was one particular scene in the book that I wasn't sure was true given the time (I won't give it away), but Pearsall confirms its truth in her note.

  • Lisa Nocita
    2018-11-09 03:02

    13 year old Levi knows a thing or two about leaving, or rather being left. For one, his illiterate, immature mother left him when he was just months old in the front seat of her abandoned car in front of a Chicago nightclub with a pinned note that read, "I am Levin." People mistook the misspelling for his name and became Levi over the years. For another, his father was a wanderer himself and was forever leaving Levi in the care of a relative in pursuit of the unknown. Most recently, Levi spent 3 years with Aunt Odella, a middle-aged spinster. It is 1945 and World War II grips the world. Levi's dad says he's a lieutenant and part of the first ever negro paratroopers stationed in North Carolina. Aunt Odella decides one day that she's had enough of taking care of other people's trouble and that it's high time for her brother to own up to his fatherly obligations. She puts Levi unannounced on a one way train to Fayettville, NC where nothing is as Levi expects or hopes for. Levi has a rude and frightening welcome to the South only to discover that his father's regiment shipped out the previous day destination unknown. Levi is taken in by another soldier, recovering from an injury, and his expectant wife, until other arrangements can be made. Levi is eventually reunited with his vagabond father. Levi has a spunky narrative voice and there are some interesting moments of historic significance. Unfortunately, the story never gains much momentum, the emotional tension never really develops, and the historical moments are a bit shortchanged. I had never once heard about the Japanese sending balloon bombs across the Pacific, something I'd like to learn more about. And though I know about the Tuskegee Airmen, I didn't know anything about the Triple Nickels. Still, a pleasant read.