Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color

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9781590784563: Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color
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Two renowned poets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her black students, who endured the cruelty of prejudice and hateful actions for the sake of their education. Miss Crandall faced legal proceedings for opening her school of African American women. But her young students knew that Miss Crandall had committed no crime. They knew that the real criminals were the rich white residents of Canterbury, Connecticut, who had poisoned the school's water and set fire to the schoolhouse. But hatred could not destroy their patience and compassion. From March of 1833 to September of 1834, when persecution forced the school to close, these African American women learned that they deserved an education. What they needed was the courage to go after it. Poets Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson have re-created the remarkable story of Prudence Crandall's school in this ALA Notable Children's Book, using the sonnet form with innovative style. Floyd Cooper's powerful illustrations reveal the strength and vulnerability of Miss Crandall and her students.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher, and the author of four books of poems for adults, including American Sublime, one of three finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize and an ALA Notable Book of the Year. She is a professor of African American literature and culture at Yale University. Dr. Alexander lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Marilyn Nelson is a past poet laureate of the state of Connecticut and a three-time National Book Award finalist. She is the author of two award-winning books for young people, Carver: A Life in Poems and Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. She lives in East Haddam, Connecticut.

Floyd Cooper is a well-known children's book illustrator whose laurels include three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, ten ALA Notable Book Awards, and an NAACP Image Award. He lives in Easton, Pennsylvania.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up—Twenty-four sonnets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her efforts to educate young African-American women in Canterbury, CT, 1833-1834. The school began as a boarding school for white girls; when two black women inquired about taking classes and Crandall agreed, the townspeople withdrew their daughters. As she accepted more black students, the town became more vocal in its resistance, poisoning the school water supply, refusing to sell it supplies, and charging Miss Crandall and others with a variety of "crimes." The sonnet format is challenging but compelling. Each poem addresses an individual aspect of the story; therefore, the tone and cadence change depending upon the person speaking or the event being depicted. The introduction gives essential information, but readers with no background will still need help understanding the political, social, and historical context. Cooper's pastel mixed-media illustrations sometimes illuminate the poems, but at other times seem solely decorative. His portraits for "Tao of the Trial" and "Miss Ann Eliza Hammond" are powerfully rendered, while the nature scenes add little to the poetic experience. The art's sketchiness, however, does suit the poetic form. There are empty spaces in the pictures just as the language of the poetry leaves openness for readers' interpretation. A heartfelt, unusual presentation, this book rewards patient readers.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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9781428764767: Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color: Poems

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