The Star That Always Stays (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
When bright and spirited Norvia moves from the country to the city, she has to live by one new rule: Never let anyone know you’re Ojibwe.
Growing up on Beaver Island, Grand-père told Norvia stories—stories about her ancestor Migizi, about Biboonke-o-nini the Wintermaker, about the Crane Clan and the Reindeer Clan. He sang her songs in the old language, and her grandmothers taught her to make story quilts and maple candy. On the island, Norvia was proud of her Ojibwe heritage.
Things are different in the city. Here, Norvia’s mother forces her to pretend she’s not Native at all—even to Mr. Ward, Ma’s new husband, and to Vernon, Norvia’s irritating new stepbrother. In fact, there are a lot of changes in the city: ten-cent movies, gleaming soda shops, speedy automobiles, ninth grade. It’s dizzying for a girl who grew up on the forested shores of Lake Michigan.
Despite the move, the upheaval, and the looming threat of world war, Norvia and her siblings—all five of them—are determined to make 1914 their best year ever. Norvia is certain that her future depends upon it... and upon her discretion.
But how can she have the best year ever if she has to hide who she truly is?
Sensitive, enthralling, and classic in sensibility (perfect for Anne of Green Gables fans), this tender coming-of-age story about an introspective and brilliant Native American heroine thoughtfully addresses assimilation, racism, and divorce, as well as everygirl problems like first crushes, making friends, and the joys and pains of a blended family. Often funny, often heartbreaking, The Star That Always Stays is a fresh and vivid story directly inspired by Anna Rose Johnson’s family history.
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR!
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!
A Parnassus Books Spark Club Pick!
"A NEW CLASSIC."—Southern Bookseller Review
"UNPUTDOWNABLE."—Anne Bustard, author of Parents' Choice Book Award Winner Blue Skies
"LOVINGLY WOVEN... PAIRS WELL WITH 'THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE.'"—Cynthia Leitich Smith, NYT-bestselling author of Ancestor Approved
About the Author
Anna Rose Johnson is a journalist, blogger, and seasoned correspondent for Inside Gymnastics. Anna is passionate about historical fiction, the Native experience, and writing for children. She is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; her debut, The Star That Always Stays (an NPR Best Book of the Year), is directly based on her great-grandmother. Find her at annarosejohnson.com.
"Johnson’s writing is gentle, unhurried and reflective—with touches of humor and heartbreak."—NPR
"Lovingly woven from the threads left for debut author Anna Rose Johnson by her ancestors from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. . . . She showcases Norvia, a courageous young hero navigating complex family dynamics, the pressure to pass, and universal daily-life challenges. . . . Pairs well with The Birchbark House."—Cynthia Leitich Smith, NYT-bestselling author of Ancestor Approved, Rain Is Not My Indian Name, and Sisters of the Neversea
"Unputdownable. You’ll cheer for Norvia as she navigates her way to joy in spite of change, prejudice, and heartbreak."—Anne Bustard, author of Parents’ Choice Book Award Winner Blue Skies
"This is a new classic in the making."—The Southern Bookseller Review
"Touching historical fiction."—Detroit Public Radio
"Johnson (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) combines family history with an homage to such classics as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Pollyanna. . . . An engaging work of historical fiction."—The Horn Book
"A beautiful historical novel, based on the author's family. . . . A heartfelt novel about embracing one's identity, appreciating what the past has taught, and finding the courage to move forward."—Booklist
"Inspiring. . . . [Based on] the author’s family history, this gentle novel nimbly and tenderly confronts topics including prejudice, the challenge of blending families, young love, and staying true to oneself."—Kirkus Reviews
"An intimate tale chronicling an Indigenous 14-year-old's life in a new city. . . . An introspective, unhurried debut, filled with personal touches."—Publishers Weekly
"Charming. . . Sweetly old-fashioned. . . . Sensitive."—Buffalo News
"[Johnson] has dealt affectionately but with honesty and clarity in describing a young girl's struggle. . . . The strength of this novel is the gentle warmth of its tone."—The Historical Novel Society
"A sensitive coming-of-age story about identity, prejudice, and confidence in your own skin."—A Mighty Girl
"Enchanting. . . Lots of Anne of Green Gables vibes, but from an Indigenous American perspective and with more modern sensibilities."—Book Riot
"This coming-of-age story with a strong heroine is perfect for fans of Anne of Green Gables."—Parnassus Books
"This coming-of-age story finds Norvia learning how to navigate high school, figuring out how to love both her absent father and new stepfather, and finding her own happiness in a world full of change."—Youth Services Book Review
"As Norvia contends with forming friendships and gossipy classmates, she must keep her Ojibwe heritage & parents' scandalous divorce secret. . . . For fans of Anne of Green Gables."—The New York Public Library