Friday, January 27, 2012
Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
The year is 1958, and although Little Rock High School was integrated the previous year, racial relations have not improved in this southern city. In fact, all the public high schools in the city, both white and black, have closed this year to try to stop any further integration. Marlee is a 12-year-old girl who almost never speaks outside of her own family. Her older sister sits at home because her school is closed, but Marlee still attends her all-white junior high. She is thrilled to meet a new student named Liz who becomes her friend and helps her so speak up more and more at school. But one day Liz is gone and rumor has it that she left school because it was discovered that she is really black but passing as white in order to go to a good school. Rather than give up on the friendship, Marlee finds ways to keep in touch with Liz, but Marlee doesn't understand the danger she is putting Liz in by continuing their friendship. This historical fiction book is both a good story and a good lesson in American civil rights history. Middle school readers, especially girls who like historical fiction, will enjoy it.