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The Lions of Little Rock Paperback – January 10, 2013
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In Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1958, as politicians rage for and against the struggle to integrate schools, Marlee, 13, is a math whiz but she has a personal problem with mutism—she’s terrified to say things aloud in public. Then she makes friends—and more importantly, talks—with Lizzie, the new girl in her middle school, who encourages Marlee to even do an oral presentation in class together. Then one day Lizzie is thrown out of school. It turns out that she is a light-skinned black passing for white, and the locals refuse to follow the federal integration order. (Several kids and rabid adults use the n-word.) Marlee and Lizzie meet secretly, until it becomes too dangerous, with threatening phone calls and the KKK always around. Marlee discovers dynamite in a classmate’s car, and yet still the police do nothing. Marlee’s first-person narrative brings home the standoffs with classmates, family, and officials, but what is most moving is that while most do not change, some do. Readers who want more about the history can start with the long final note and bibliography. Grades 5-8. --Hazel Rochman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Creating a book that reads as though written in one effortless breath requires a rare talent . . Readers will root for a painfully shy girl to discover the depths of her own courage and find hope in the notion that even in tumultuous times, standing up for the people you love can’t be wrong. Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty—this authentic piece of work has got soul."—The New York Times Book Review
“Kristin Levine’s The Lions of Little Rock, the story of a black girl and a white girl who become friends during the integration of that city’s schools in 1958, has been awarded the New-York Historical Society’s first children’s history book prize.”—New-York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize Award
“A story of friendship between two girls in the civil-rights-era South.”—The New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Award
* “The remarkable story of the Little Rock Nine is familiar to many, but what happened next? In this quietly powerful page-turner, Levine focuses her attention on the events that unfolded in Little Rock the year after the integration of the city’s public schools.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “With remarkable depth and clarity, Levine unflinchingly portrays racial tension in the 1950s Deep South. Reader will be moved by Marlee and Liz’s strong bonds and inspired by Marlee’s unwavering tenacity in the face of what seems like insurmountable adversity.”—School Library Journal, starred review
* “Successfully weaving historical events with a dynamic personal narrative, Levine (The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had) offers a riveting, frequently tense portrait of 1958 Little Rock, Ark., the tumultuous year when the governor refused integration by closing local high schools.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
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