The Lions of Little Rock


Twelve-year-old Marlee lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. The year is 1958. The high school is closed because some people do not believe in integration. Marlee’s older sister is sent away to live with her grandmother so she can attend high school. Marlee is upset because her older sister is one of the few people she shares her thoughts with.

Marlee rarely speaks, is a whiz in math, and keeps to herself until she meets the new girl at school. Liz is outgoing, smart and pretty. Their budding friendship is just what Marlee needs to become more confident. However, one day Liz suddenly withdraws from school. There are rumors that Liz was seen in the black section of town. Everyone quickly learns that Liz is black, but due to her light skin color, she is able to pass for white.

The girls are urged by their communities to forget about their friendship. But they do not listen and continue to see each other even though their own lives, and the lives of their family members, could be in danger.

The author does an excellent job of capturing different views during this challenging time. I enjoyed the relationship between Marlee and Liz. They had an interesting dynamic which enriched the novel. The story is written in the first person, which is popular in young adult novels.

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