The Lions of Little Rock

( 34 )

Overview

 As twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, it feels like her whole world is falling apart. Until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be: she's brave, brash and always knows the right thing to say. But when Liz leaves school without even a good-bye, the rumor is that Liz was caught passing for white. Marlee decides that doesn't matter. She just wants her friend back. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are even willing to take on segregation and the dangers their ...

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The Lions of Little Rock

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Overview

 As twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, it feels like her whole world is falling apart. Until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be: she's brave, brash and always knows the right thing to say. But when Liz leaves school without even a good-bye, the rumor is that Liz was caught passing for white. Marlee decides that doesn't matter. She just wants her friend back. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are even willing to take on segregation and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

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Editorial Reviews

Tanya Lee Stone
I had two near-simultaneous thoughts upon closing Kristin Levine's latest novel…The first, as a reader, was simply, Ahhhhh. The second, as a writer, was of admiration. Creating a book that reads as though written in one effortless breath requires a rare talent…Marlee and Liz's love for each other, the lengths they are willing to go to fight back against the injustice of their plight, and the larger integration struggle playing out in Little Rock drive the book's story. Readers will root for a painfully shy girl to discover the depths of her own courage and find hope in the notion that even in tumultuous times, standing up for the people you love can't be wrong. Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty—this authentic piece of work has got soul.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Successfully weaving historical events with a dynamic personal narrative, Levine (The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had) offers a riveting, frequently tense portrait of 1958 Little Rock, Ark., the tumultuous year when the governor refused integration by closing local high schools. The story is told through the sensitive voice of painfully quiet 12-year-old Marlee Nisbett, who makes a rare friend in Liz, a new student at her middle school. Liz instills some much-needed confidence in Marlee, but when it’s revealed that Liz is “passing” as a white student, Liz must leave school abruptly, putting their friendship to the test. The girls meet in secret, and Marlee joins an antisegregationist organization, both actions inviting serious risk amid escalating racist threats. Levine’s characters fall on both sides of the integration issue, but she avoids painting them too broadly, and many of their views evolve over the course of the book. The best evolution, though, belongs to Marlee, who starts off almost pathologically shy and gradually learns to face her fears, find her voice, and speak up for what’s right. Ages 10–up. Agent: Kathryn Green Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Tanya Lee Stone

 "Creating a book that reads as though written in one effortless breath requires a rare talent...Readers will root for a painfully shy girl to discover the depths of her own courage and find hope in the notion that even in tumultuous times, standing up for the people you love can’t be wrong. Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty — this authentic piece of work has got soul." 

The New York Times Book Review
"Creating a book that reads as though written in one effortless breath requires a rare talent...Readers will root for a painfully shy girl to discover the depths of her own courage and find hope in the notion that even in tumultuous times, standing up for the people you love can’t be wrong. Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty — this authentic piece of work has got soul." —The New York Time Book Review
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Virginia author Kristin Levine brilliantly conveys the zeitgeist of the late ?50s in Little Rock, Arkansas. She focuses on the tumultuous year following the integration of Central High School by the Little Rock Nine. In 1958, high schools, black and white, closed to avoid mandated desegregation. New to middle school, timid Marlee befriends outspoken Liz, who then strangely disappears. As she searches for her friend and the truth, Marlee helps an organization working to reopen the schools, deals with racist dynamite-carrying boys and learns to speak up for herself and others. Forgotten moments of history leap again to the fore in this powerful novel. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this stunning piece of historical fiction, Levine sheds light on the little-known period immediately following the Little Rock Nine's integration of Central High School in 1957. In September 1958, Governor Orval Faubus ordered the closure of all public high schools in the city. This novel depicts the tumultuous era through the eyes of 12-year-old Marlee Nisbett, who is painfully shy but eventually reclaims her voice by having the courage to do the right thing. On her first day at West Side Junior High, Marlee meets Liz, a new girl unafraid of speaking her mind. Emboldened by her friendship with Liz, Marlee begins talking and interacting more with her classmates. When Liz abruptly disappears amid rumors that she is a black girl—"Can you believe it….A nigger at our school?"—passing for white, Marlee is bereft but determined to uphold the friendship, at great cost to both girls' safety. In trying to sustain her relationship with Liz, Marlee ultimately realizes that there is a bigger cause at stake. With remarkable depth and clarity, Levine unflinchingly portrays racial tensions in the 1950s Deep South. Her descriptions of the Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) and the Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP) campaign further lend an air of historical authenticity to the book. Readers will be moved by Marlee and Liz's strong bonds and inspired by Marlee's unwavering tenacity in the face of what seems like insurmountable adversity.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
The remarkable story of the Little Rock Nine is familiar to many, but what happened next? In this quietly powerful page-turner, Levine focuses her attention on the events that unfolded in Little Rock the year after the integration of the city's public schools. Readers meet quiet, 12-year-old Marlee and her outgoing and warm-hearted best friend, Liz, who is instrumental in Marlee's burgeoning ability to speak her mind to anyone outside of her family. To Marlee's dismay, Liz suddenly vanishes from school, and the rumor is that she has been passing for white. Marlee initially feels betrayed by her friend, but her understanding of the complicated nature of race relations and politics matures. Levine sensitively portrays her process as she sorts out these feelings, finds a way to stay friends with Liz and becomes involves with the Womens' Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) after the city shuts down all of its public schools to prevent integration. When Marlee's father, a schoolteacher, is fired because of his pro-integration stance, the entire family becomes involved in the Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP) campaign in an attempt to have all of the teachers rehired and the public schools reopened. This engaging story, with its emphasis on the impact of friendship and on finding one's voice when it is most important to be heard, will no doubt appeal to a broad range of readers and inspire many interesting conversations. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142424353
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/10/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 44,685
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristin Levine (www.kristinlevine.com) is the author of The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    MUST READ!!!

    I really love this book! It's overpowering and it shows how it was for people during this time period. I also really like the character development. You feel a connection with Marlee by the end of the story. I think this book should have won the Newberry Award or honor award. Loved this book.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    AMAZING!!!!!!!

    I absolutly LOVED this book! The story of Marlee and Liz's freindship is just touching and amazing! It made me cry a little towards the end when integrigation trys to keek them from being best friends! I would DEFINATLY recommend this book to everyone!!!!!! : )

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Must Read

    A very thoughtful and thought provoking book that will help adolescent readers understand race relations in the late 1950's.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Best book

    Wow im not a big reader but i serouisly cant put the book down buy this book it is awesome

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    REALLY GOOD!

    My friend Korrina lent me this book! It was really good and well written with a playful twist to it! A must read for all!:) There should be an epilogue though.... -Kate

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    AWESOME!!!!!!!;)

    This book is great, it teaches you about history but is super fun and exciting io read too. Definetly recomended!!! :}

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Must must must read

    This is the second best book ever

    First is wonder

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013

    Bravo!

    Best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Great

    The lions of little rock is amazing must read!!!!!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    AWESOME

    I love this book it is the best book and my favorite book. I think everyone should read it i am glad the world is the way it is now ( without slavery)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Booklover

    Oh my gosh! This.is one of the best books Ihave ever read! I cant believe that this is what are world was like this. Im in love with this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    best book ever

    best book ever

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    G H

    This is awsome!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Read it

    For no reason

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Book Report

    Ok so im in 6th grade and we have to do this book report on a book we chose. The only problem is, im having a hard time picking. I've narrowed it down to either this book, or almost home by joan bauer. I hav'ent read either one although they both seem like great books. If u have a suggestion on what book i should do, Please put in the subject box 'to potato'
    Thank You

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  • Posted March 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    It¿s 1958 and there is a whole lot going on in Marlee¿s life in

    It’s 1958 and there is a whole lot going on in Marlee’s life in Little Rock, Arkansas. For starters, twelve-year old Marlee doesn’t do much talking, at least out loud. In fact people make fun of her because of this issue. Starting middle school, Marlee knows she’s going to have some issues with the new teachers as they adjust to Marlee’s silence. Her home situation is difficult now, since the high school closed this year. The recent rules on integration that caused its closure, has caused major effects on Marlee’s family. From her parents conflicting views on integration, to her mother’s job at the high school, to having her sister not going to the local high, this closing has had a ripping effect upon the Nisbett household. Starting middle school, Marlee happens upon a new girl named Liz, who Marlee finds she likes a great deal except Liz talks a lot. Liz tries to help Marlee open up and speak even if it’s only a few words. Reading what these two girls do together to break the glue that held Marlee’s lips closed reminds me of the friendships I had when I was younger. Marlee and Liz, they have this connection to each other that brings a smile to your face as you read how they share the world with one another. The day of their school presentation, Liz doesn’t show up and Marlee has more than concern for her friend when she hears that Liz is never coming back. How could Liz lie to her and not let her know she was an African American? Would she ever be able to see Liz again? Liz finally helped her speak out and she was the only best friend Marlee ever had, she can’t just let her go.
    The connection that Liz and Marlee had was amazing. Liz helped Marlee open up and those first couple words that Marlee said brought a smile to my face as I read them. Marlee kept a list in her head of all the people she actually spoke to as she was so proud of the accomplishments. Both in the amount of words she was speaking and in whom she was speaking to. Liz also needed help from Marlee and Marlee was able to assist Liz, which deepened their relationship and another great part of the story. They both had a lot to deal with being only twelve and having to handle integration. Peers and family feelings and opinions weighed heavily on their minds and hearts. Marlee loved things having to do with numbers so this girl had my heart, as I love numbers also. She loved reciting the prime numbers when things got difficult and she tried to get Liz to use multiplication for her coping mechanism but realized that Liz was a words person. Marlee found a way using words that Liz could rely on when she started to feel overwhelmed. They both found their voice when they found each other. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Good

    Goood very good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Good

    This is a good book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    The lions of little rock

    Awsome!!! Amazing i love this book!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Amazing book you really should read it

    Amazing love it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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