Bibliographic Information: Spinelli, Jerry. (2002). Stargirl. New York: Knopf.
Plot Description: Leo is intrigued by Stargirl from the moment he hears about her. She is new to his high school and behaves differently than everyone else he knows. Stargirl does what she wants, without thinking about how others will view her because of it. She wears crazy clothes like kimonos and pioneer dresses, plays ukulele in the cafeteria, sings to people she doesn’t know and dances in the rain. She is truly unique, confident and caring. The students at Micah High value conformity, so Stargirl does not fit in. Slowly she wins over the students with her positive attitude and cheerful demeanor. However, her popularity is short lived. Leo, who has begun a romance with Stargirl, has trouble dealing with being shunned for dating her. Leo tries to convince Stargirl to be more normal and she begins conforming to regular teen fashion and behavior and plots to become popular. Will Stargirl achieve what Leo wants for her or be true to herself?
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 590L Interest Level: Upper Grades ATOS Book Level: 4.2
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story is told in the first person, by Leo, who is in love with Stargirl. He is a reliable narrator, but we only see things through his eyes and his perspective colors his narration. The organization of the story is mostly sequential and easy to follow. Themes and meanings are not always stated, but are clearly implied, thus easy for the reader to identify. Figurative language is used in the telling of the story, such as personification, metaphors and idioms. Most readers will not have difficulty understanding these uses. Language closely adheres to the readers linguistic base and register is familiar and conversational. Genre is familiar. Prior knowledge needed to understand the text is familiar. Readers will be able to connect with the experiences portrayed in the novel, as it touches on common issues facing teens like, trying to fit in while staying true to yourself.
Content Area: Reading, Literature
Content Area Standard:
English Language Arts Standards for Writing: Text Types and Purposes: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
English Language Arts Standards for Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
English Language Arts Standards for Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5.a Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.
Curriculum Suggestions: Have students record problems encountered in the story and their solutions. Have students create an acrostic poem using their names and traits that celebrate their personality and individuality. Have students look for examples of figurative language, such as idioms, metaphors, personification, etc and record their findings.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: YALSA Top Ten; Parent’s Guide Book Award; Parent’s Choice Award/Honor Book; ABC (Assoc. of Booksellers for Children) Choice; Young Reader’s Choice Award/Nominee; Book Sense Book of the Year Award/Honorees; Publishers Weekly Best Book
Series information: Stargirl Series
Character names/descriptions: 10th grade new girl, Stargirl is easy going, friendly, altruistic, unique and caring. 11th grade Leo loves Stargirl, but he is not as comfortable with himself as she is and might not be able to take being shunned by his peers.
Personal Thoughts: This is a good book to get students thinking about conformity. It deals with themes of identity and fitting in, which are very relatable high school issues.
High interest annotation: Everyone is talking about the new student, Stargirl. Who is she? Where did she come from? Why does she dress like that and carry a ukulele? These are just a few of the questions Leo and the rest of his high school have when Stargirl joins their ranks.