A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The story illuminates an often-overlooked step in the lengthy judicial battle for equal rights, a struggle that continues to this day. The "Integration Timeline" and epilogue provide even more historical details for those interested in the legacy of the cases highlighted in the book.
The central theme is, "The march toward justice is a long and twisting journey," an important message in a time of incremental change and frustration with the progress of social justice advocacy.
Positive Role Models
Not only does the book depict Sarah Roberts and Linda Brown as exemplary young women who courageously served as symbols of the human cost of segregation, but it also sheds light on important allies and champions of reform in a dark period when standing up for equality under the law was considered a dangerous position.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial is an informative and inspirational picture book for elementary school readers interested in the story of segregation and the lengthy legal battle for civil rights and equal protection under the law. It tells the story of 4-year-old Sarah Roberts, whose family in 1847 Boston was the first to challenge racial segregation in public schools. While the topic is daunting and the historical context complex, the book navigates the mature subject with children in mind, offering an excellent opportunity to shed light on some of the less-heralded -- but equally important -- pioneers of the judicial challenge to discriminatory laws in the United States.
Is It Any Good?
This important and overlooked episode in civil rights history is as educational as it is inspirational. In the well-written and straightforward telling of these schoolgirls' struggle against institutional racism, social justice heroes Charles Sumner, a prominent white lawyer who endorsed Sarah's case, and Robert Morris, the first African-American lawyer to file a lawsuit and become a judge, are given their proper place in history as trailblazers who set the precedent for the legal argument for "equality under the law," a phrase Sumner coined.
Award-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis' vivid watercolors bring life to the courtroom drama and the bleak reality of racism that has for so long endured in America.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Characters of Color
Books About Racism and Social Justice
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