FEATURE BOOK OF THE WEEK #5 THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK BY KRISTEN LEVINE

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK
BY Kristen Levine


As twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, it feels like her whole world is falling apart. Until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be: she's brave, brash and always knows the right thing to say. But when Liz leaves school without even a good-bye, the rumor is that Liz was caught passing for white. Marlee decides that doesn't matter. She just wants her friend back. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are even willing to take on segregation and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.




A GUEST POST BY KRISTEN LEVINE 

Where did you get the idea for The Lions of Little Rock?
 
My mother grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I started asking her about her childhood, and in our very first conversation about Little Rock, my mother told me about listening to the lions roar at night.  Something about that detail stuck with me.  In addition, I attended very diverse public schools growing up, so the Little Rock Nine and school integration is something I've always been interested in. 

What was the most difficult part of writing Lions?

It took me a long time to really understand the character of Marlee - which wasn't so great, since she was my main character!  Once I did, the story finally started to flow.  I also struggled with trying to figure out how to make my main characters, Marlee and Liz, as active as possible in the plot.  I didn't want them to just observe the historical events going on around them; I wanted them to actively take part in making things change.

Did your process change at all from writing your first book?

Yes!  My first book, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, started as a screenplay.  I did lots of outlining, note cards, and actually had a complete story by the time I sat down to turn in into a novel.  This time, I decided to just "start writing" because I was a writer, right?  I knew how to do this.  Ah, no.  Turns out, I am not a "seat-of-your pants" kind of a writer.  (I totally admire those of you who are!)  I guess it was a good thing to learn about myself, but it was painful to realize I needed to go back and plot things out when I was already 170+ pages into the story. 

What do you do when writer's block hits?

I give myself permission to write something really, really bad.  I have two small children, so I don't have a lot of time to write.  Usually, I force myself to write something, even if it is terrible, and after a while of terrible writing, something okay starts to come out.  But if after an hour nothing good is coming, I'll stop and try again another day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Kristin Levine, author of The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had and The Lions of Little Rock, received her BA in German from Swarthmore College and an MFA in film from American University.  She spent a year in Vienna, Austria, working as an au pair and has taught screenwriting at American University.  Currently, she lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her family.  Her third novel, The Paper Cowboy, will be published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in fall 2014.  Visit her at www.kristinlevine.com 

28 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

Just checked it out...looks good!

-Hazelwood West Middle

Anonymous said...

I wanna read it!!! *whiny voice*

~Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

HA! I MADE A DELICIOUS COMMENT ON THIS BOOK! BRAAH!!!!! ED

-Hazelwood West Middle

Anonymous said...

I didn't think I'd like this book, but boy was i wrong. I loved how the girls stuck together through everything.
Hazelwood west middle

Donae Hawkins said...

the name of the star is a great book so far. In 1888 it was this man named jack and he was a serial killer and he only killed women that were prastitutes in lodon

TaNyia said...

were reading this book its Awsome !

Donae said...

The Name Of The Star is a great book for people that like romance and humor this is a great book for you

Anonymous said...

this book has lots of details

Philip Lawal said...

name of the star is one of the best book i have read really pumped up.




hazelwood southeast middle

Anonymous said...

The book is good so far, Love it alot~

~Hazelwood West Middle~

@(^~^)@

Anonymous said...

This looks very interesting!!

~Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

this book is amazing it has so many details and details the name of the star

Anonymous said...

october 21,2013 at 3:46pm

Anonymous said...

southeast
made the last post

Anonymous said...

I really liked the plot and the setting. I love the wording and I thought the book was emontional to me. North Middle School

Anonymous said...

O MA GLOB I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK AND IT WAS PER-U-FECT! LIZ AND MARLEE WAS JUST PERFECT RED MADE ME SOOO MAD AND JT BUT THIS BOOK ALLL MUST READ IT!

Anonymous said...

That one comment that said o ma glob was sent from ~HWMS~

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting how Marlee compares everyone she knows to a type of drink. A very detail oriented way to describe someone.

St. Clare of Assisi

Anonymous said...

I just checked this book out! It looks really good! I can't wait to read it!!! :)

~Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this! I've heard this is a really good book!

-Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

People have told me that they can't put this book down! I'll have to read it! Looks like a good book! :D

Hazelwood west middle

Anonymous said...

This was an awesome book! It was so good that I read it in one day!!!!! ED

-Hazelwood West Middle

Anonymous said...

I started reading this book! It's actually better than I thought it would be :)

Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

I love how Marlee describes everyone like a drink. I think that's an awesome way of describing people, though it would be weird to say out loud

-hazelwood west middle school

Anonymous said...

I am loving this book so far! :) I love how when Marlee and Liz say "Quawpaw", Ruth the elephant stomps her feet! That would be awesome to see! :D

Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

THIS BOOK IS SOOOOOO GOOD! I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN!!!! :)

hazelwood west middle school :D

Anonymous said...

I love Betty Jean. I don't know why. She was always kind and honest, and treated Marlee and her family with respect. She was a great character.

Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

This book really shows how one new friend can change your life! I love it! This is such a great book! Everyone should read it! :D

-Hazelwood West Middle

 
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