Monday, July 22, 2013

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is a tale of racism in the south in 1958, Little Rock, to be precise. Taking place in Little Rock the year after the integration of the high school that divided the community, this story analyzes how the variety of people that lived here felt about race. The main character, Marlee, is twelve, white and struggling with friends and other middle school woes including the fact that she has a difficult time communicating with people outside of her family. She’s having a hard time standing up or even sharing, until a new girl, Liz joins the school and helps Marlee find her voice. Then one day Liz no longer attends Marlee’s school and rumor is that Liz, in fact, is a black girl who was passing for white. This brings to the surface the racism, the bystanders and the activists and eventually everyone has to take a side. Can Liz and Marlee bring this divided community together, or will their friendship rip Little Rock apart?
Really liked this book, as historical fiction but also as an exploration of deep seated racism and its roots. Grades 4-7