Monday, January 30, 2012

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Edition: Hardcover, 304 pages
Publisher: Penguin, Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: January 2012
Genre: Contemporary fiction, historical fiction, 1950s, Civil Rights Era, Friendship
Other Books By Author: Best Bad I Luck I Ever Had
Overall Rating: 4/5

Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958.
Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.
But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

There are quite a few books now about the civil rights movement or integration in the 1950s/60s. After awhile I kind of felt like that once I read a few books with this topic, I read them all. With The Lions of Little Rock, it was not just another integration was way more. Although it followed the classic white girl meets black girl scenario, it had a unique twist and a lot of history. 
The main character in The Lions of Little Rock is twelve year-old Marlee who struggles with shyness and speaking for herself. When she meets the new girl in school, Marlee becomes fascinated with her. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be...and soon they become inseparable friends. After a troubling discovery one morning at school, Marlee realizes that although Liz wasn't what she seemed, their friendship and Liz's lesson about being courageous is more important. Even though being friends with Liz is fast becoming dangerous as the racial tensions between whites and blacks rise, Marlee learns to find her voice.

Combining a heartfelt come-of-age story in the backdrop of a turbulent time in American history, Levine shows us that friendship and making a stand are sometimes the most important lessons learned in life.
The Lions of Little Rock was nice, different look on the segregation wars. Taking place a year after the "Little Rock 9", Levine incorporates alot of history–sometimes little known–into a wonderful story of a very shy girl on the brink of change. Levine's writing was very lyrical and I'm glad the the events that were going on didn't take over the entire story of Marlee. I liked how everything was presented much better than any other novel I've read about this topic in history. Great book for middle graders and teens. (Ages 11+)

1 comment:

annaaainafairytalee. said...

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Fond Regards,

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