The Lions of Little Rock is another ORCA book nominee for 2015. Levine writes at the back of the book how and why she wrote the story about Little Rock a year after the Little Rock Nine went to school, and it is quite a fascinating reason. Much is known already of the Little Rock Nine and that school year when the high school became the first in the state to become integrated. Little is known about the following year, when the high schools chose to close rather than integrate their student populations.
Marlee is a girl without a voice. She's so shy she does not really speak except to her family members. Her sister's daily challenge for her is to say a specific number of words during the day. But then Liz, a new girl comes to school and she somehow manages to get Marlee to open up. They are friends. The more Marlee talks, the easier talking becomes. And that's a good thing, because Liz has a secret and the town is in the midst of a pretty big change.
This is a great read. Don't let the fact that it was written for middle school audiences keep you from it. Levine does a great job attempting to weave as much accurate historical information into her story as possible.
48 down plus 4 to go.