Twelve-year-old Louise Collins's quiet and uneventful life is shaken to its core when her school in the Ninth Ward, New Orleans is ordered to integrate first grader Ruby Bridges, a Negro student. Louise's mother pulls her from school and is one of the many mothers who stand outside every morning and afternoon to insult and heckle the girl. Louise's only thought on the whole matter is as to why anyone would want to transfer to her broken down and understaffed school. But no one ever asks Louise's opinions. No one except Morgan Miller, a puzzling new guest at her mother's boarding house. His keen interest in Louise and her mother's lives mystify Louise, and his presence in their community causes tensions among many. Only one thing is for sure...their lives will never be the same.
This compelling debut of a novel paints an extraordinaily candid picture of life in the segregated South. Sharenow's portrayal of the characters, right down to the dialect, is completely real. Louise's voice is an entertaining and believable one. This incisive, alarming, and very readable take on what really happened at William Frantz Elementary is a powerful one, and not to be missed.