Praise for The Star That Always Stays


A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

A Parnassus Books Spark Book Club Selection for July 2022

#1 New Release in Children’s Historical Fiction

“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

“Inspired by 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. A coming-of-age story with a kind heart and strong spirit.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This introspective, unhurried debut, filled with personal touches from the author’s ancestry … is populated by memorable characters, such as Norvia’s larger-than-life younger sister.” –Publishers Weekly

“This is a new classic in the making and I hope we will have more stories about Norvia and her extended family.” –The Southern Bookseller Review

“[A] beautiful historical novel … about embracing one’s identity, appreciating what the past has taught, and finding the courage to move forward.” –Booklist

“Johnson does an exquisite job channeling the structure and language of vintage girls’ books while updating Norvia’s story nicely.” –Ms. Yingling Reads

“This coming-of-age story with a strong heroine is perfect for fans of Anne of Green Gables.” –Parnassus Books

“[The author] 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

“This is a sensitive coming of age story about identity, prejudice, and confidence in your own skin.” –A Mighty Girl

“This is a rich coming-of-age historical fiction story set around the first World War about an introspective girl dealing with racism, prejudice, and knowing herself.” –Imagination Soup




(Holiday House, July 12, 2022)


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—both professionally and socially—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 serious issues like assimilation, racism, and divorce, as well as everygirl problems like first crushes, making friends, fitting in, 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.

Cover art by Stephanie Son

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