Magoon, Kekla. Today the World is Watching You: The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for School Integration, 1957.
To be published by Lerner Publishing Group on 4/1/11; E-ARC provided by NetGalley.com
The author of Camo Girl and The Rock and the River shows that while her research skills are well honed, she clearly is even better at telling a good story. After a brief discussion of the Civil Rights movement up to the point of integration, the students are introduced and their struggles described. While I knew the vague outline of this, I did not fully comprehend how long it took for the students to actually get to a point where they could go to class. I also did not know that Little Rock closed down its high schools for the 1958-59 school year so they didn't have to deal with integration! This was extremely informative, and the personal struggles of the students is balanced nicely with the legal and political struggles that got them into the school. I think that this is a nonfiction book that students will pick up and read all the way through, and one which will most certainly teach them a lot. I am curious now to look at the other nonfiction by Magoon; I am familiar with her fiction, but not her other work.
Strengths: Information is presented in an engaging and fast-paced way. While detailed attention is given to the events immediately surrounding the school integration, the background history and the progress of the Civil Rights movement afterward is discussed briefly. Period photographs enhance the text and give faces to these courageous young people.
Weaknesses: The digital edition was somewhat slow to navigate; pictures only appeared if the text was set to small. I will definitely buy a print copy of this, since it's difficult to flip back to pages on the PDF file.
For Mrs. N.-- This does discuss quite a lot of violence, such as reporters being beaten, but there was no bad language that I remember. Probably students in 4th grade and up would be able to understand the context of all of the occurrences.