The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Lions of Little Rock

The Lions of Little Rock

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by Kristin Levine
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

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 Times Book Review
From the Publisher
 "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 — The New York Times 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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399256448
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/05/2012
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
373,248
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Kristin Levine, the author of ALA Best Book for Young Adults The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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The Lions of Little Rock 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very thoughtful and thought provoking book that will help adolescent readers understand race relations in the late 1950's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!! : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great, it teaches you about history but is super fun and exciting io read too. Definetly recomended!!! :}
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow im not a big reader but i serouisly cant put the book down buy this book it is awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is awsome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lions of little rock is amazing must read!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second best book ever First is wonder
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg if ur not sure to read this, READ IT!!! This book is amazeballs and I luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so interesting how a silent girl and a talketive girl can get along so well. Or how a white girl can become friends so fast with a Afercan Amarican girl. This book can show you how to face your fears and to belive in what you do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I loved it so much I had to read it twice ?
E_Ting_Groceries More than 1 year ago
The historical fiction novel, The Lions of Little Rock , takes place in 1958 in Little Rock, Arkansas. But don’t let the genre historical fiction steer you away from this book, because it is one amazing story. I never really enjoyed historical fiction until I read this book. Maybe it’ll be the same for you. This is a story that goes back to the time where segregation was a very important social matter. I recommend this book to those of you who like an adventurous, and heartfelt story. This novel is very well written with a lot of twists and unexpected events. Twelve year old Marlee, is very nervous to start middle school in a few days. Until she meets her instant best friend Liz, the new girl. Meeting Liz was the best thing that happened to Marlee. Until one day Liz doesn’t show up to school. One day turned into a week very fast, and Marlee begins to worry. Liz is caught “passing” for white, causing her to leave her new school and Marlee without a goodbye. Marlee decides she wants to keep her friendship with Liz. But the challenges they face to see each other, and the dangers their friendship could put themselves and their families in, well you’ll have to read the book to find that out.
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
Required Summer Reading = Unhappy Tween Boy My poor boy. Apparently, the school is ruining his summer! Did you know they are intentionally STEALING his vacation time away from him?? Oh, the drama... Post-meltdown, I went in my closet and had a little laugh, composed myself, and then sat down and made a plan. I've always made an effort to read along with my boy and summertime is no exception. So we went on a book hunt (with a frappuccino stop of course) and printed out all the assignments the school organized for each book...which was a lot I have to admit. With books in hand, and audio on standby to keep us on task, we mapped out which chapters would be read on which days. With 57 chapters, it evened out to approximately ten chapters a day (they're fairly brief chapters). So this is how it went... Day 1: Chapters 1-9 Day 2: Chapters 10-19 Everything going as planned! Yay! Day 3: Chapters 20-39 I stopped him at chapter 30 but he wanted to keep reading. Okaaaaay... Day 4: Chapters 40-57 Again, I stopped him at 50...but he didn't want to stop. Basically, this is my review. An incoming sixth grader came to this required book with a negative outlook. He had a week to finish it and he finished it in four days. Some may say he just wanted to get it over with, and that may be true, but I was there. His gasps, smiles, and concerned frowns spoke for themselves. He's working on his assignments as I write this with no complaints. It's like he actually liked the book and doesn't mind reflecting on it...it's my turn to gasp. My favorite quote: "We tell kids that sometimes. We pretend the world is straightforward, simple, easy. You do this, you get that. You're a good person and try your best, and nothing bad will happen. But the truth is, the world is much more like an algebraic equation. With variables and changes, complicated and messy. Sometimes there's more than one answer, and sometimes there is none. Sometimes we don't even know how to solve the problem. But usually, if we take things step by step, we can figure things out."
evie15 More than 1 year ago
I love stories that teach you what the civil rights movement was really like 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ashpaw padded to the fresh kil pile, selecting a plump mouse to eat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bat- looks to bells mewing "thankyou" <p> Ivy- smiled and streched <p> Fern: he looked to the pretty white she and smiled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Celestialclan is "auk"res 4
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book in my opinion couldnt stop reading i recommend it totally literally read the book :)