Moore, David Barclay

Holler of the Fireflies

(2) 4-6 Twelve-year-old Javari Harris "felt like I had landed on an alien world" upon arrival at STEM camp in Horsewhip Hollow, West Virginia. He's "a thousand miles from home" (Bushwick, Brooklyn) and facing two weeks at Appalachian Ridge Christian College. Gifted at math, he's one of the few Black students at the camp and has already experienced a racist encounter on day one. When he befriends Cricket, a local Black boy ("light-skinned, kinda gold, with brown freckles on his face and hazel-colored eyes"), Javari is introduced to a community of Black people--Affrilachians--who have lived in the mountains for generations. Moore (The Stars Beneath Our Feet, rev. 11/17) packs his narrative with themes of racism, wealth and privilege, environmental degradation, opioid addiction, homelessness, and cancer, and he carries it all off with well-rounded characters, lively dialogue and action, and often beautiful sensory prose: "A hundred, no thousands, of tiny yellow and orange lights were winking on and off... It was like being planted in the middle of a silent fireworks show."


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