The Magic in Changing Your Stars
By Leah Henderson (Author)
Eleven-year-old Ailey Benjamin Lane, a gifted dancer, is certain that he'll land the role of the Scarecrow in his school’s production of The Wiz. But when a classmate overshadows him at auditions, a deflated Ailey confides in his Grampa that he is going to give up dancing. Not ready to give up on Ailey, Grampa shares a story from his past. As a young boy, Grampa gave up his dreams of tap dancing even after the unofficial Mayor of Harlem, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, encouraged him to perform. Robinson also gifted him a special pair of tap shoes. A curious Ailey tries on the shoes and is instantly transported back to 1930s Harlem. There he meets a young street tap dancer and realizes it's his grandfather. Ailey thinks he can help the 12-year-old version of his Grampa face his fears, but he must tread lightly—if Ailey changes the past, can it affect his future, and will he ever make his way home? Featuring an all-Black cast of characters and many moments infused with Black culture and history, this is a time-travel adventure that has been waiting to be told.
PRAISEPraise for The Magic in Changing Your Stars
“Black excellence, Black fantastic, and Black family combine for a transformational story of passion and persistence.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A fast-paced story about family, bravery, and the arts, this story will have readers wanting to visit Harlem and tap alongside Ailey, Grampa, and Bojangles himself.”
—School Library Journal (starred review)
“Henderson weaves magical realism and historical fiction together, offering hard lessons about trying and grit, alongside overwhelming love of family, a lot of laughs, and a ‘smidgen of magic.’”
—Booklist (starred review)
“The value of family, perseverance, and believing in oneself takes center stage in this bighearted multigenerational story tinged with enchantment.”
This story is family,
plus tap (and rap),
with a dash of The Wiz.
Come and get it.
—Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me and The List of Things that Will Not Change
“The Magic in Changing Your Stars is an enchanting story of a boy whose dream of becoming a star will take readers on a most wonderfully magical journey—a heartfelt tribute to legendary African American performers and their place among the stars.”
–Ibi Zoboi, New York Times bestselling author of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
“Leah Henderson brings heartfelt magic to this culturally rich journey of hope, self-discovery and familial love.”
—Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times bestselling author of The Gaither Sisters trilogy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Leah Henderson's writing is filled with stirring stories featuring Black heroes and heroines. She is the author of the middle-grade novel One Shadow on the Wall and Together We March: 25 Protest Movements That Marched into History. She lives in Washington, DC.