Paperboy and Lions of Little Rock

I read A LOT.  I always read young adult books.  In the last few years I have read hundreds of books about vampires, zombies, angels, and many other supernatural beings.  These books are great, great entertainment.  Recently I read 2 books that are based on The Civil Rights Movement.  There are no zombies, aliens, or angels in these books, but these books are the best books I have read in years.  If you want to change your thinking and learn about events that will teach you about our world, take a look at a great piece of historical fiction.  I suggest Paperboy and Lions of Little Rock.


Paperboy takes place in 1959 in Memphis.  The main character (you don’t learn his name until almost the very end of the book) is a teenage boy and he has a stutter.  People treat him like he can’t think just because he doesn’t speak well.  He goes through life thinking about the few words he can say without stuttering.  He uses those words when people ask him questions, but mostly he just doesn’t talk to anyone.  His parents are pretty wealthy and he goes to a speech therapist, but he still has a really noticeable stutter.  His best friend is leaving for the entire summer to go on vacation. The main character says that he will do his paper route for him in the month of July.  He has to deliver the papers and every week go and collect money from the people on the paper route.  That means that he has to talk to complete strangers!!!  His best role model is his African American maid and she treats him like a son.  She gives him advice, but when her life is put in danger just because she is Black, he has to decide if he will stay silent or stand up and help her.

This is the best book I have read in years.  Reading about this boy who has the courage to do something that scares him to death, makes for such a great story and so much to think about.


Lions of Little Rock

This book also takes place during the Civil Rights Movement (when African Americans couldn’t attend the same schools or even use the same drinking fountains as white people).  Marlee is the main character and she is in junior high.  She is a math whiz, but she chooses to hardly ever talk to anyone. Her classmates treat her like she is dumb just because she hardly talks.  It’s really hard for Marlee to make friends, but she finally makes friends with Lizzie, the new girl in school.  Lizzie gets Marlee to talk in class during a presentation.  Then Lizzie has to leave school and Marlee’s life because Lizzie is African American and has been pretending to be white to get into a good school.  Marlee finds her voice and takes many chances to help her friend. 

This is another story of a courageous young person who learns and grows when she finds out that people are being treated unfairly.  I learned so much reading this book.  Marlee’s family and Lizzie’s family go through a lot when they decide that all children should be able to attend school no matter what color they are.  If you want to learn about history and you want to read a book that will make you think, take a look at The Lions of Little Rock.

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