G.P. Putnam & Sons, 2012
From the publisher:
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.
If I was writing any kind of historical fiction for children, I’d definitely return to this book because the author is so successful at weaving in the historical context with the typical middle grade issues of friendships and bullying or exclusion. It's also a great book to read to study character. The story is so completely from Marlee's perspective, I really cared about what was going to happen next.
Favourite quote:“I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it’s a true friend, it doesn’t matter.”
Other info:Kristin Levine is a mom and writer living in Alexandria, Virginia.
In an interview at BookPage, Kristin talks about writing about race as a white person: “At times, I worry I will say something stupid or unintentionally offensive. In the end, however, I decided that that was a risk I needed to take because being silent just wasn’t enough.”
Other books written by this author include:
The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
For more, visit Kristin Levine’s website.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!