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Download Jump into the Sky Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Jump into the Sky, 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:
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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 US 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

Listener Opinions

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

    " Eye opener great book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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