Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fire from the Rock

Draper, Sharon. 2007. FIRE FROM THE ROCK. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525477204 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]

When her teachers select Sylvia Patterson to be one of the first black students to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, she is initially pleased and excited. Her older brother, a bit of a firebrand is jealous, and her parents are both worried and supportive. But as she and the other selected students prepare for integration, the racial tension in the town becomes terrifying. She is not sure that she is strong enough to go through with it.

Sylvia’s best friend is Jewish, the daughter of the owner’s a small general store that serves that black population. When they are fire bombed, Sylvia faces a difficult decision—is it best for her to remain in her old high school or should she be one of the first black students at Central High.

This complex novel includes much historical background as it personalized the struggle for civil rights and integration.

This book is a perfect book to use in middle or high school social studies classes in the study of the Civil Rights movement. Use the related books listed with this annotation and have the class divide into literacy circles as they compare and contrast the presentation of the era in both nonfiction and historical fiction for young adults.

Other books dealing with the Civil Rights Movement and integration:
Fitzgerald, Stephanie. LITTLE ROCK NINE: STRUGGLE FOR INTEGRATION. ISBN 978-0756520113
Johnson, Tony. BONE BY BONE BY BONE. ISBN 9781596431133
Robinet, Harriette Gillem. WALKING TO THE BUS-RIDER BLUES. ISBN 068938867
Sharenow, Robert. MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER. ISBN 9780061148965

By Janet Hilbun

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