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Download Jump into the Sky Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Jump into the Sky Audiobook, by Shelley Pearsall Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (81 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shelley Pearsall Narrator: J. B. Adkins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780449014035
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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, 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.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Booklist Best of Children's Books 2012

  • Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2012:
    “Levi’s voice—humorous and acutely insightful—perfectly captures the viewpoint of a resilient young man whose feet sting from his first harsh landing in the adult world. Fans of Christopher Paul Curtis will fall right into line.”
  • Starred Review, Booklist, September 15, 2012:
    “This poignant, powerful tale of father and son getting to know each other in small, delicate steps is suffused with Levi’s yearning for approval. Strong characterizations on all sides support the weighty story line.”

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ericka | 2/20/2014

    " Eye opener great book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 2/15/2014

    " I liked it. It's sobering to read, for sure. I really liked the Author's Note explaining how so much of the story was based on real events and people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 1/2/2014

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 1/2/2014

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 12/28/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deena | 11/18/2013

    " Not sure how the "welcome" down south woulod be accepted by my elementary students. This might be a middle school book. The story is wonderful, and definitely worth a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 7/31/2013

    " Would be good for young adult. I like learning about situations I'll never experience and being a black paratrooper during WWII is definitely something I knew nothing about. the awful experience of the Jim Crow laws is well portrayed here also. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 7/19/2013

    " I have been waiting four years to read this book and the wait was worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Audrey | 1/30/2013

    " It's so easy to love Levi in Jump into the Sky. He's a 13 year old boy who has been left his whole life. When his aunt sent him off to find his father in North Carolina, he comes face to face with racism but also meets Cal and Peaches who help him understand the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 1/4/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli Gaither-banchoff | 11/29/2012

    " Learned a few new things and saw part of American history from a different perspective. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Omi | 11/5/2012

    " some mild swearing towards the end of the book. :( otherwise a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 10/28/2012

    " I may have mentioned this before, but, wow! Shelley Pearsall can really write. This is historical fiction as it should be written. I feel like I stepped into a time machine and got to know these people whose experiences happened (unbelievably)even before I was born. Bravo! "

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About the Author

Shelley Pearsall, a former teacher and museum historian, is now a full-time writer. Her first novel, Trouble Don’t Last, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.