Hardcover, 298 pagesPublished January 5th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
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.
This is one of the best books that I have read... in a long time. Marlee finds a friend in the most unlikely of place with someone who she is not supposed to have anything to do with. The way Kristin Levine tells the story of these girls brings to light what life was life for the children who experienced racism in the 1950's and 60's. Sadly, we live in a world where that still exists. I loved both Marlee and Liz and their ability to see past what others can't. Their friendship means enough that they take the risks to keep their friendship alive and deal with the ignorance of those who don't want them to be friends. I can't wait to share this book with my students and history teachers. This book will definitely be well loved by all who read it.
This book is a great read aloud for history teachers as you are teaching the 50's and 60's and the racism and segregation that our country dealt with. There are many questions that are raised from this novel that would make incredible character building lessons during your read aloud as well.