Many people know about the Little Rock Nine and the integration of Little Rock, Arkansas schools in 1957. Most do not know about "the lost year" of 1958-59, when the state government chose to close all public high schools in Little Rock rather than accept integration for another year. Join the book club families and author Kristin Levine to discuss this book, which takes place during the lost year, and the complicated history of integration. We'll also take a look at artifacts from the New-York Historical Society collection related to the history of segregation in American schools.
About The Lions of Little Rock
It's 1958, and Arkansas is divided over the subject of school integration. In fact, Governor Faubus has already shut down all public high schools to keep them from being integrated like they were the year before by the Little Rock Nine. Marlee isn't thinking about all this too much when she starts middle school and meets Liz. Up to now, Marlee has struggled with a painful shyness, but with Liz, that shyness starts to crumble. Then suddenly Liz is removed from school after it's discovered that she is a light-skinned African American who was passing for white. Marlee can't imagine losing her friend; however, Liz and Marlee's attempts at remaining friends mean danger for their whole families. In the process of fighting to keep her friend, Marlee and those around her learn the value of speaking up against injustice.
About the Reading into History Book Club
Each month families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book together at home. At the end of each month, families can attend a Book Wrap event where they will share reactions to the book, see cool museum artifacts and documents related to the book, and meet other history detectives and special guests! Past guests have included authors Walter Dean Myers, Avi, Neela Vaswani, and Donna Jo Napoli.
This program is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.