Kristin Levine in her book The Lions of Little Rock takes the reader back to 1958 in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the beginning of another school year, but it happens to be the school year after the students named "the Little Rock nine" made history by standing firm against segregation. But all is not calm in Little Rock. Many parents, both black and white decided to send their high school-age children to other schools, some in other parts of Arkansas, some far away in other states. Not one high school in Little Rock is open due to lack of students.
The main character, named Marlee, is a white girl. Marlee is beginning middle school and as a very shy girl. She isn't sure she will enjoy this new phase of her life. On the first day of middle school, she meets Liz and Marlee's life is changed forever. Liz is a black girl who is smart and very outgoing. An unlikely friendship is formed by these two girls. When it is discovered that Liz is trying to pass as a white student, she is immediately expelled from school. Marlee still wants to be friends and so does Liz. Can they continue their friendship in the face of segregation? Is it even safe for them to remain friends? They find ways to see each other as much as possible. But keeping their friendship a secret even from their own families is not easy.
I found this book to be very interesting. Most of us have heard about "the Little Rock nine" but how many of us knew that all of the high schools in Little Rock were closed the following year because of them? Kristin Levine writes a great story that not only teaches us some history about this period of time but she creates two characters who help the reader understand that it doesn't matter your color. All that matters is that you are kind.
After reading this book go and make a new friend. Perhaps you will want to visit a zoo...you have to read the book!
Happy Daily Reading