Anshannette Grigsby's Reflection

The Courage of Two

by Ann Grisgby

As I was reading “The Lions of Little Rock “by Kristin Levine, I tried to read with the mind of an adolescent reader.  I questioned the text, wondering how my students would react to the reading.   Being that the vernacular used was that of the 12-year-old narrator, Marlee Nisbett, and the literary devices used allowed this novel to be an easy read for middle school aged students.  

Marlee’s past insecurities, the apprehension she had with talking to others and the passive relationship she had with her long time rival/friend, Sally, were very relatable issues, which would capture students’ attention.  

The story starts with Marlee reflecting on how she used to talk a lot only in her head.  Marlee would rather think about prime numbers or solve math problems in her head, than talk to others.  She explains how now she is more talkative but only if someone asks her a question.  She goes on to say that not only would she answer, but she may even give a number of answers if the person was nice.  She talks about how she has grown over the years.  But felt to better relay her message she must go back to 1958.  

Marlee shares an account of when she was facing her fear of diving off the diving board into a swimming pool.  She introduces her friend bossy Sally and her sister Judy.  Her sister questions her friendship with Sally; asking why is she friends with someone who bosses her around and talks about her.  Marlee’s response was that Sally is familiar and she likes familiar.  Marlee is the go along to get a long type.  Her sister advised her to make a new friend, someone who is more compatible.

Later in the novel, Marelee befriends a girl named Liz.  Liz works to get Marelee to overcome her insecurities and in their growing friendship they will fight against the injustices of discrimination and discover courage.