Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color

Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color

by Elizabeth Alexander, Marilyn Nelson, Floyd Cooper
     
 

Two renowned poets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her black students, who endured the cruelty of prejudice and hateful actions for the sake of their education. Miss Crandall faced legal proceedings for opening her school of African American women. But her young students knew that Miss Crandall had committed no crime. They knew that the real criminals were

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Overview

Two renowned poets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her black students, who endured the cruelty of prejudice and hateful actions for the sake of their education. Miss Crandall faced legal proceedings for opening her school of African American women. But her young students knew that Miss Crandall had committed no crime. They knew that the real criminals were the rich white residents of Canterbury, Connecticut, who had poisoned the school's water and set fire to the schoolhouse. But hatred could not destroy their patience and compassion. From March of 1833 to September of 1834, when persecution forced the school to close, these African American women learned that they deserved an education. What they needed was the courage to go after it. Poets Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson have re-created the remarkable story of Prudence Crandall's school in this ALA Notable Children's Book, using the sonnet form with innovative style. Floyd Cooper's powerful illustrations reveal the strength and vulnerability of Miss Crandall and her students.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
The authors wrote this book of poems upon completing their research on Prudence Crandall's school, which was located in Canterbury, Connecticut, specifically in in Windham County not far from the Rhode Island border. A sonnet format was chosen for sharing aspects of Miss Crandall's school and the life of her students. There is a chronology of the trials and tribulations that Miss Crandall and the students endured at the hands of the white citizens of the community who protested and eventually destroyed the school. However, it is clear that it did not destroy the young ladies' hunger for and commitment to education. The beauty of the fourteen-line sonnet format is complemented by the lifelike illustrations, which clearly portray the emotions and bravery of Miss Crandall and her twenty-four students. The school building was designated as a National Historic Land Mark in 1969 and was opened as a museum in 1984. Reviewer: Leila Toledo
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up
Twenty-four sonnets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her efforts to educate young African-American women in Canterbury, CT, 1833-1834. The school began as a boarding school for white girls; when two black women inquired about taking classes and Crandall agreed, the townspeople withdrew their daughters. As she accepted more black students, the town became more vocal in its resistance, poisoning the school water supply, refusing to sell it supplies, and charging Miss Crandall and others with a variety of "crimes." The sonnet format is challenging but compelling. Each poem addresses an individual aspect of the story; therefore, the tone and cadence change depending upon the person speaking or the event being depicted. The introduction gives essential information, but readers with no background will still need help understanding the political, social, and historical context. Cooper's pastel mixed-media illustrations sometimes illuminate the poems, but at other times seem solely decorative. His portraits for "Tao of the Trial" and "Miss Ann Eliza Hammond" are powerfully rendered, while the nature scenes add little to the poetic experience. The art's sketchiness, however, does suit the poetic form. There are empty spaces in the pictures just as the language of the poetry leaves openness for readers' interpretation. A heartfelt, unusual presentation, this book rewards patient readers.
—Lucinda Snyder WhitehurstCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Two years after Suzanne Jurmain's nonfiction chronicle, Forbidden Schoolhouse (2005), comes a glorious poetic celebration of the teacher and students at a Connecticut school that defied mid-19th-century convention to educate African-American girls. Divided into six sections, four sonnets in each, the voices of the 24 girls tell, one by one, the tale, from hope and excitement at the beginning of the enterprise to fear and defiance as forces both institutional and vigilante conspire to destroy Miss Crandall's School. Nelson's sonnets adhere to a strict form while Alexander's explore the boundaries of the form; each distills the powerful emotions inspired by the story. For example, "Fire from the Gods": "I didn't know how much I didn't know, / Like Brer Mosquito on Brer Elephant, / now I know my capacity for awe / is infinite. . . . " Cooper's soft pastel illustrations provide a muted counterpoint to the text, mixing depictions of school and students with images of the natural world in a lovely rhythm. A foreword provides a brief prose history of the school; a concluding authors' note explains their collaborative process. (Poetry. 10+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590784563
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
836,981
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 14.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

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