Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fiction / Non-Fiction Pairing

I finished writing all the posts for the summer group reading of BOMB by Steve Sheinkin. I had such a great time reading that book and writing the posts (which I'm sure you'll love), that I've decided to try it again.

This time, let's read a pair of books: one historical fiction and one non-fiction on the same topic. For our first pairing, I chose The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine and Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration by Shelley Marie Tougas.

By combining these two books, we will get the background knowledge we need to better understand the fictional story, while at the same time exposing us to multiple genres and content. And who doesn't love that? :) 

The Scoop on The Lions of Little Rock:
The Lions of Little Rock takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958--a year after the incident with the Little Rock Nine. It accurately portrays the controversial integration and segregation that occurred in the South. It is a very well-written story about friendship, courage, racism, and overcoming your fears to speak out against what you know to be wrong. Marlee literally finds her voice in this story, and uses it to speak out against prejudice. Ultimately, this is a touching and inspiring coming of age story about a girl trying to make sense of a world that, at the time, made no sense to her. Marlee has a loving and supportive family. Readers of this book will get a little history lesson about racism and the Civil Rights Movement. Real events are mentioned (such as the death of Emmett Till), some of which are very unpleasant. The "N" word is used a few times and a stick of dynamite is thrown into an African-American character's home as a scare tactic (no one is harmed). While this is primarily a story about friendship and courage, it is an excellent book for middle graders to read (age 10 and up) and discuss this important topic. Very beneficial conversations could be had about this dark time in America's past, bigotry, racism, etc. The Lions of Little Rock would make a great choice for a classroom read-aloud, book report, or book club selection.

The scoop on Little Rock Girl 1957:
Little Rock Girl 1957, focuses on the Civil Rights Movement and how a photograph of a high school student brought about changes in public opinion. The famous photograph (as seen on the cover) shows African American student, Elizabeth Eckford, followed by an angry mob of white people as she walks outside Little Rock Central High School on September 4, 1957.

Elizabeth and eight other African American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, were supposed to meet and walk into the school together. It would be the first time African American students attended Central High School. Elizabeth arrived at school early and alone. She faced an angry crowd of protestors, and her entry into the school was blocked by National Guard troops. As Elizabeth turned to leave, protestors followed her down the sidewalk as they venomously hurled insults and racial slurs. Will Counts, a local photographer, took photos as the events unfolded.

"But Counts had no idea that a single photograph would become a magnifying glass for race relations in the United States." (pg. 31)

Let's read The Lions of Little Rock first. We will plan to have the book finished by August 2nd (I know you'll be busy reading BOMB). Come back to this site on August 2nd and we'll discuss what we read. Then we will read Little Rock Girl 1957. Let's finish that book by August 9th. Same thing: come back to this site and we will discuss what we read.

Then, school will start and you will be ready to jump right in with all your new, awesome information to share.

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