In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school.
Jo Ann — clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students — found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen? This novel in verse is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.
"Boyce poignantly describes the cruelty of white students, as 'the little shoves' become 'the shove that almost knocks Gail Ann out the window... From the little slights/ come the larger evils,/ and they feel/ monstrous'.... Boyce never loses hope in the belief that racial equality is attainable and that she can help make it happen. Though her parents (fearing for their safety) moved the family to California in December 1956, and Boyce left Clinton, readers will appreciate that she did make a difference by standing up for her beliefs with resolve and persistence, attributes that shine through in this lyrical yet hard-hitting account of a pivotal chapter in the history of desegregation." — Publishers Weekly
|10 - 13
|Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy
|Jan 8, 2019
|Bloomsbury Children's Books