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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-19 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 14 user ratings

"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.

"Grade/Interest Level: 6-8
Lexile Level: 1010L
Genre: Nonfiction, Information Book

Main Characters: Little Rock 9
Setting: Little Rock, Arkansas -1957
POV: Third Person

This book provides the reader with background information on the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas 1957. The book mostly uses pictures to convey the message of that difficult first day of school for the African American students. This day was especially difficult for Elizabeth Eckfort who did not receive the call that the group would be meeting at the back of the school. She faced snarling crowds of White people protesting the integration, but she remained stoic and courageous and did not crack under pressure. Though the photos are the main point of the book, they are described and supported with text. The book displays the acts of brutality committed by white citizens of Arkansas, the courage of the African American students and some up to date photos of the group.

This book can be used in the Civil Rights Unit to understand integration and what happened when African American students sought to integrate public schools. Also, it can be used to explore the Brown Vs. Board of Education ruling, as well as trying to put ourselves in the shoes of what those African American students must have felt.
" said.

"The Little Rock girl by Shelley Tougas is about black youth in a newly integrated school in the south, and their struggle with acceptance. Fifteen year old Elizabeth Eckford is tormented by protestors outside her school in Arkansas. Protestors scream at her and call her disgusting names just so she and the other members of the “Little Rock 9” won’t go to school. The “Little Rock Nine” are nine black students that go to an all white high school. The nine are tormented by the protestors. The protesting gets so bad that the president has to send in the 101st Airborne Division to keep the black students safe. Some of the Little Rock Nine moved, some homeschooled, and some stayed. All of the Little Rock Nine became successful. All of them finished college and had a good career. The Little Rock Nine and how they were treated was cruel and unjust, but it made our country grow and mature.
This book is about the racial conflict in America during the 1900’s. All people should be treated equally, no matter what color your skin is. This book gives the reader insight about what blacks went through to try to get what should also be there’s. Like education and respect. I enjoyed this book because it is about a big part of Americas history, and everybody needs to know about this part in history, no matter how wrong it may be. I like this book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement.
" said.

July 2018 New Book:

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