Book Review: The Lions of Little Rock

Sanika highly recommends
Sanika highly recommends “The Lions of Little Rock.” Photo by Kavyaa

The year is 1958. Everything is different, especially for a young girl in Little Rock, Arkansas named Marlee. Marlee is a person that never talks and lets everyone make decisions for her. But when she starts middle school, she meets a new girl named Liz. Talkative and confident, Liz is all the things Marlee is not. With Liz’s help, Marlee finally finds her voice. The two become best friends despite their differences. But Marlee doesn’t understand just how different they are until Liz is caught “passing” for white in a segregated school. Now Marlee will never see her best friend again. At least, she’s not supposed to.


“The Lions of Little Rock,” written by Kristin Levine, is a wonderful book. Levine tells the story of two girls who never let segregation stand in the way of their friendship. Even after Marlee is forbidden from seeing Liz, they continue to meet at the Little Rock Zoo. However, the two of them are constantly in danger from people who will stop at nothing to abolish their friendship. Soon, Marlee’s plans to save her friendship with Liz and get rid of the injustice to African Americans become one and the same. Marlee realizes that despite the danger, standing up for what you believe in is always a risk worth taking.

I personally enjoyed the book very much. I especially liked the storyline and the plot, which never failed to keep me hooked. Levine is a great author and writes extremely well. I learned a lot about the effects of integration and America’s response to it. Many schools would even close down because people in  protest of integration would prevent the school from opening. Sometimes even peaceful protests would turn violent, a lot of which the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a group of people heavily opposed against integration, were responsible for. This book also teaches you to have your own opinion about things and not follow society blindly. In the story, Marlee promotes integration although many of her friends and even her family are in favor of segregation. Marlee does what she thinks is right, and I think that this is a lesson everyone should learn. This is also a 2013-2014 Lonestar book, so if you need to add another book to your list, I highly recommend this one. It is one of those books that captivates you so much you just can’t put it down.

Overall, ”The Lions of Little Rock” is an amazing book. Travel back in time and experience the courage it takes to say what you think is right, a courage Marlee never dreamed she had. Join Marlee and Liz as they learn that friendship truly is more than skin deep.