Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 229 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Sylvia Patterson lives in Little Rock, Arkansas in the year 1957. The big issue in her town is the new order to integrate their schools. Her older brother, Reggie, wants to be one of the lucky chosen few but due to his short temper he is not selected. Sylvia, on the other hand, is a smart level headed girl who has been chosen for the list of students to get interviewed for the integration. The students who are selected to integrate are not allowed to attend any school functions or belong to any school clubs, but many feel it is still important since they are making huge steps for future generations. As Sylvia gets closer to the imminent first day of school several acts of violence and prejudice begin to convince her that maybe she should just return to her own school.
The pressures put on these students before they ever entered the white school in Little Rock are discussed and explained in a way that any student can understand how these students must have felt going into this situation. Sylvia and her family deal with many acts of injustice and violence in this town and still want to believe and hope for a better life in the future. The actual incidents at Little Rock during the integration are not discussed as much as the events leading up to it, but the story really accents what those students had to go through and the courage they felt to even approach that white school. Students studying this time period will get a broader perspective of these students than they could ever get in a history book.