Nine-year-old Starla Claudelle is almost always in trouble or on the verge of being in trouble from her sassy mouth and temper. Starla lives with her grandmother who has just about had it with her. This year Starla is grounded from the Fourth of July celebrations, but she goes anyway. When the nine-year-old is caught she decides to run away to Nashville where her estranged mother is a singer.
Starla is not sure how she will get there and ends up along an isolated country road when a car pulls up beside her. Eula is a black woman traveling with a white baby and offers Starla a ride. It is 1963 in Mississippi, and the three make unlikely traveling companions which does not go unnoticed.
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall is a coming-of-age story set in the turbulence of the sixties. This pilgrimage is about Starla’s simple hope that finding her mother will solve everything, but along the way Starla discovers some hard truths about family and the world.