The Stars Beneath Our Feet

Author(s): David Barclay Moore

Senior Fiction

"The right story at the right time. . . . It's not just a narrative; it's an experience. It's the novel we've been waiting for." --The New York Times

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother's death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity.

It's Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren't celebrating. They're still reeling from his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly's mother's girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly's always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
His path isn't clear--and the pressure to join a "crew," as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape--and an unexpected bridge back to the world. 
David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge--of adolescence, of grief, of violence--and shows how Lolly's inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

Lucy's Review:

Where I live, it's all about borders. And territories. And crews. When you're a little kid in Harlem, you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything as long as you're careful. But when you start to get old - about my age, twelve - things start to change.

Lolly Rachpaul is having a hard time figuring out how to be following the gang-related death of his older brother. His sadness is starting to turn into anger and he's scared at how good being mean to other kids can feel. Then at Christmas, his mother's girlfriend gives him two binbags full of Lego and Lolly starts building, and building, and building. But can he find a way to build a better life or will it always be determined by a blueprint, just as his old Lego kitsets were?

A powerful and positive story about grief, community, creativity and growing up that is reminiscent of both The Hate U Give and R.J. Palacio's Wonder. Highly recommended for 10+.


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Product Information


New York Times Notable Book
Time Top 10 Children's Books of the Year
Boston Globe Best Children's Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of the Year
Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of the Year
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

"A fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us. David Barclay Moore is an exciting new voice. We definitely haven't heard the last of his brilliance." --Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning of Brown Girl Dreaming

"The Stars Beneath Our Feet is about the weight of the world on the back of a child, and the creative tools necessary to alleviate that pressure. I found myself rooting for Lolly, and you will too." --Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner for As Brave As You

General Fields

  • : 9781524701277
  • : Random House Children's Books
  • : Red Fox
  • : December 2018
  • : .688 Inches X 5.188 Inches X 7.625 Inches
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 813.6
  • : 304
  • : David Barclay Moore