Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

It seems that these days I get all of my book recommendations from Twitter, and this one is no different. I am always looking for new books to put into my Civil Rights collection. I love introducing kids to this time in history that seems so close, but so hard for them to understand. The Lions of Little Rock takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas the year after the "Little Rock Nine" worked to integrate the local high school under much tension. I found that alone to be quite interesting. It was fascinating to read about what happened to not only the nine black students after their year at the high school, but also the fall out of a year of forced integration. In this story, we hear about integration through the eyes of Marlee, a 12 year old girl who doesn't really understand what is happening. When a new girl moves into her school, she finally finds a kindred spirit and someone who she can confess her biggest fears and dreams. Marlee and Liz are inseparable until the unthinkable happens. Liz has been 'passing' as a white person and this causes the whole school to be in a huge uproar. Marlee doesn't understand what the big deal is, she recognizes Liz for who she is as a person, not the colour of her skin. Marlee quickly learns about segregation and the effect it has on everyone, she must decide what she believes and what she can do to support her friend. I really enjoyed this book. I love the relationship Marlee has with the lions at the local zoo and the relationship between her and Liz. This book does a really great job explaining some of the issues surrounding integration and segregation. It will be passed onto many kids this year I know it!

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