Monday, November 15, 2010
Module 5: Fire from the Rock By: Sharon Draper
Draper, Sharon M. Fire from the Rock. New York, NY: Dutton Children's, 2007. Print. ISBN: 9780525477204
"Let our voices be heard
Let our faces be seen
Let us shine."
Sylvia Patterson has a great life. She has a wonderful family, does well in school, has great friends, and an almost-boyfriend. But as Sylvia gets closer to high school, she must make a HUGE decision. Sylvia lives in Little Rock Arkansas in 1957. She has been chosen as a candidate to go to Central High during the next school year. Integration is happening whether the town of Little Rock wants or not, but can Sylvia overcome her fears of the violence and lack of acceptance she will find at Central High?
Fire from the Rock takes straight into the heart of integration in Little Rock during 1957. Most people did not want it to happen, white or black, but there was no choice. Sharon Draper pushes as right to the heart of the matter when our main character is put on the list of possible students to be the first to integrate Central High. Sylvia is written as a normal African American girl, who gets asked to be a part of making history. Not only will students be able to connect to having to grow up overnight as well as go through the normal pains of being a teenager. There is also a secondary character, Rachel, that is a young, white Jewish girl. Rachel and Sylvia are friends, and through Sylvia's eyes we see how the community also treated the Jews. Then by placing the story in Little Rock, the heart of the integration controversy, readers will have the opportunity to live through a time that is long since passed. By the end of the story, the readers realize sometimes the brave thing to do is to step aside and some times the right decision for one is not the right decision for all.
From the start readers will travel back in time to a period that many of Americans look back on in shame, but as young adult readers, they will have a chance to understand and connect to what happened. School Library Journal states, "The author's ability to explore numerous prejudices subtly without bogging down readers with too much back story is impressive, and she effectively shows the enormity of the decision and the tenor of the times." Students will not only get a history lesson, they will understand a time in which we hope to never see again.
Since this book has so many connections to history, students will have the opportunity to connect primary sources with the text. The student could look at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Time cover, the governor televised speech, as well as pictures from the time.
Monaghan, Kimberly. "Fire from the Rock." School Library Journal (2007). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Oct. 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.