Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration (Captured History) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-21 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 14 user ratings

"A solid NF choice about the battle over integrating Little Rock's schools, told with lots of photos and some broader context. Would pair well with Lions of Little Rock.

There are few interesting pieces of follow-up information in this book I'm gonna share:

#1. Apparently, the snarling racist white girl and the stoic, just-trying-to-learn-over-here black girl eventually became friends. The friendship doesn't seem to have lasted, but it's pretty crazy that they were posing for chummy photos as adults.

#2. The governor of Arkansas that fought so hard to keep the schools segregated later supported Jesse Jackson in his bid for the Democratic presidential ticket.

Moral: People can change? Or people try to make up for being on the wrong side of history?
" said.

"A moving book about an important moment in history. Text does a great job of explaining a difficult bit of history in a voice appropriate for young readers. The author does a great job of presenting the facts and providing boxes of information that go in depth on a person or topic. The photos included in this book are excellent; they are large/clear and are accompanied by captions describing the images. Back matter includes a glossary, further reading, and a select bibliography.

Overall, a great book that really made me feel history. I felt for the students and I was shocked and outraged at the disrespect shown them by members of the Little Rock community. This would be a good book for a kid who doesn't think they like history. The writing and the photos will win over even the most stubborn kids. For grades 5-6 and up.
" said.

"Shelley Tougas has used a photograph that exemplifies the emotional intensity of the civil rights movement and built a book around it. Will Counts’ photo of Hazel Bryan sneering at 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford on September 4, 1957 shows both hatred and serenity, although Elizabeth’s dark glasses could be hiding fear. The Little Rock Nine were to have met up at a girl’s home before trying to integrate Little Rock High School on that day but Elizabeth did not get that message so showed up alone. The story of that day is chronicled as are events of the civil rights movement both before and afterwards. A timeline and bibliography are included. My only complaint is that Counts’ photo is used once on the front cover and in two other places in the 64-page book; a photo of the same event, taken at nearly the same time by another photographer, shows Arkansas National Guard members at the back of the crowd. A solid addition to elementary and middle school libraries." said.

"Interesting story about the Little Rock Nine -- and, specifically, about the power of photography to influence and inform. This is a familiar story to many, and most libraries probably have material about it, but this book takes an interesting slant in explaining how the now-famous photos were taken and the stories behind them. As an Indiana resident, I was pleased to learn that Will Counts, a native of Arkansas, and the photographer responsible for the now well-known photos, went on to join the journalism faculty at Indiana University, and taught journalism students there for 32 years.

This book is well organized and thoughtful, typeface and white space and overall design are very appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. Good for report material or independent reading. I would hand this to someone looking for civil rights history, but also to someone looking for information on journalism/photojournalism for young people.

1 Starred Review: SLJ

" said.

"I read this book as part of my informational book club.

Little Rock Girl 1957 by Shelley Tougas is about the backlash after the "Little Rock Nine" attempted to go to an all white school in Arkansas. The book focuses on photographs taken of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine black students who was at first turned way from the school by National Guardsmen and an angry white mob.

The book is more of a story of one particular girl involved along with a history of the event and the history behind segregation. I did not like the sequence of the book - it kept jumping time periods and would have been better to read in a linear sense. While the book was informational, it was subjective as well. I do not condone the angry mob, but it's very easy for us to judge people when we are in a society that's more diverse and accepting. I liked the timeline, the glossary, and the fact that we got to see what happened to the Little Rock Nine after the event.

This would be an appropriate to read for upper elementary and middle school students.
" said.

"School Library Journal: When Will Counts snapped a photo on September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford reluctantly became the face of the fight for school integration in Little Rock. In it, Eckford is poised and stoic as Hazel Bryan, shouting violently, follows behind her. This book explores the photo in depth, providing the perspectives of the two subjects and the photographer and discussing what the image meant in the struggle for school integration. Tougas works with this premise and provides readers with a full account of this troubling time in American history. The author makes good use of quotes throughout the readable text, enabling today's students to imagine walking in the shoes of one of the Little Rock Nine. Each page includes an archival photo, primary-source document, or biography of a key player in the event. A testament to the power of the press and the bravery of all who fought for equal rights, this book should be required reading.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
" said.

"Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration, by Shelley Tougas, tells the story of how the photograph of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford trying to enter Little Rock Central High School amidst jeers of white students and other white people from the community captured the racially charged moment for all of history. Photographer Will Counts, a local newspaperman, dressed deceptively in a plaid shirt instead of a suit, was able to move in very close to his subjects. He recounts, when he “saw Hazel Bryan’s contorted face in the camera’s viewfinder; I knew that I had released the shutter at an important moment.” The other black students who were assigned to integrate Little Rock Central High were called collectively “The Little Rock Nine.” They were eventually successful in entering the school that year, but paid a great price because of the way they were treated at the school. The book also covers the fact that years later, Hazel Bryan, the white teen yelling racial slurs at Elizabeth in the picture, tried desperately to redeem herself from the damaging photo by trying to befriend Elizabeth Eckford. This powerful non-fiction book would make a great Common Core pairing with Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. " said.

"Journalists know the impact photographs can have on public opinion, and that has never been more certain than during the civil rights movement. This book, part of the Captured History series, focuses on the attempt to integrate an Arkansas high school in 1957. Nine African American teens were selected to enter the school against the governor's wishes. The photograph in question features one of the students, Elzabeth Eckford, who tried to enter the building alone due to miscommunication. She is surrounded by a ring of hecklers, one of whom was Hazel Bryan. The photograph captured the attention of the nation and the world, and came to be an important symbol. The photographer, Will Counts, later photographed the two women after they had their reconciliation. Questions about the sincerity of the friendship later arose, adding to the complexity of the issues surrounding civil rights and this historical photograph. The text is engaging, and since it is supported by many photographs and details about the integration attempts, today's students should find it compelling reading as they are reminded of a time when attending school was an act of rebellion. While the book provides some information about the other players in this particular part of the fight for civil rights, the focus remains on the school's integration and that amazing photograph that changed history." said.

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