The Lions of Little Rock

Linda B from the Slice of Life Challenge introduced me to this little meme.  It’s hosted at Teach Mentor Texts.

I just picked up this book called The Lions of Little Rock and I haven’t been able to put it down.  It’s a masterfully crafted story about the year after the Little Rock Nine took place.  In the author’s note Kristin Levine writes about how when she began research for this book she initially wanted to have it take place during 1957 when the Central High School was first integrated.  But, when she began to interview people they mostly talked about the year after that 1958 when all the schools closed down to prevent integration.  So she decided to place her characters in 1958 instead.

The main character Marlee is shy to the point where she doesn’t speak to people outside of the family.  Her brother has gone to college and her sister is being sent away so that she can attend school.  Marlee struggles to socialize in school but when  a new girl comes that all changes.  Marlee has a real friend in Liz and then one day Liz disappears.  The rumor is that she was a colored girl “passing” for white.

This is a story about overcoming great obstacles, about doing the right thing instead of the easy thing.  It is masterfully told through the eyes of this young girl who struggles to understand why no one wants her to keep her one true friend.  Levine has captured a very real story.  I can’t wait to pick up her other book The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had.

This book would make a great book club book for fifth and sixth graders.

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7 Responses to The Lions of Little Rock

  1. Yay! I read The Lions of Little Rock this week also and LOVED.IT!!!! It was my top pick of the week…over Wonder if you can believe it! :) I sent recommendations via Goodreads to everyone I could think of!

    I loved Marlee’s character, the friendship between she and Liz, and thought the conflict within the family on which side of the segregation issue they were on was an interesting and unique twist. The sides her mom and dad chose were not “expected”.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have a great week among the pages!

  2. Jen says:

    I have Lions of Little Rock! I really want to read it. I read Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals and it is amazing so I’m really curious to see how this book compares…seems like they would belong on the same reading ladder!

  3. Kathryn says:

    I haven’t read or even heard of this book, but I am heading over to place it on my wish list, it sounds great.

  4. pamelahodges says:

    Oh, I am so excited to read the books you suggested. You told enough to get me excited, without giving it away. I was born in 1958, so now I want to read it more!!

  5. Tara says:

    Oooh, this one looks great for book club. This would be a wonderful addition to our historical fiction collection – there is so much nonfiction available now about this era, and I’m trying (as per my last workshop at TC) to weave together the two. Thanks!

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