Synopses & Reviews
Louise Collins was pretty certain that nothing all that exciting would happen in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she lived with her mother in their boarding house, Rooms on Desire. Every day was almost the same: serve cranky Mr. Landroux his meals in bed, visit Antoine's Pick-a-Chick with Charlotte, and wear out the pages of her favorite novels by reading them over and over. But when desegregation begins, Louise is pulled out of school and her mother joins the Cheerleaders, a group of local women who gather every morning to heckle six-year-old Ruby Bridges, William Frantz Elementary's first African-American student.
Then one day a Chevy Bel Air with a New York license plate pulls up to the house and out steps Morgan Miller, a man with a mysterious past. For the first time, Louise feels as if someone cares about what she thinks. But when the reason for Morgan's visit comes to light, everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself changes, abruptly and irrevocably.
Acts of courage come in all shapes and sizes.
In the tumultuous New Orleans of 1960, thirteen-year-old Louise Collins finds her world turned upside down when a stranger from the North arrives at her mother's boarding-house. Louise's mother spends her mornings at the local elementary school with a group of women known as the Cheerleaders, who harass the school's first black student, six-year-old Ruby Bridges, as she enters the building. One day a Chevy Bel Air with a New York license plate pulls up, and out steps Morgan Miller, a man whose mysterious past is eclipsed by his intellect and open-manner--qualities that enchant mother and daughter alike. For the first time, Louise feels as if someone cares what she thinks, even if she doesn't know what she believes. But when the reason for Morgan's visit is called into question, everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself will change.
Share this "harrowing and painfully honest historical novel"* at home or in the classroom. Through this "extraordinary" debut effort from the Sydney Taylor Award winner Robert Sharenow, readers will explore how "ingrained prejudices--whether acted upon or not--help destroy lives and shatter a community."**
In 1960 New Orleans, thirteen-year-old Louise is pulled out of class by her mother to protest court-ordered integration of her school. Louise's mother is one of the jeering "Cheerleaders." Each morning the Cheerleaders gather at the school to harass the school's first black student, six-year-old Ruby Bridges, as she enters the building.
After a mysterious man from New York named Morgan arrives in town and takes up residence in the family's crumbling boarding house, Louise's acceptance of "the way things are" begins to crumble.
Through conversations with Morgan and firsthand observations, Louise begins to wonder about the morality of the Cheerleaders' activities--and everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself will change.
In a starred review, Booklist commented: "Readers will be held fast by the history told from the inside as adult Louise remembers the vicious role of ordinary people."
*School Library Journal (starred review); **Chicago Tribune
In the tumultuous New Orleans of 1960, 13-year-old Louise Collins finds her world turned upside down when a stranger from the North arrives at her mother's boardinghouse. When the reason for the man's visit is called into question, everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself will change.
About the Author
Robert Sharenow's first novel, My Mother the Cheerleader, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers. He is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer and serves as executive vice president of programming for Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network. He lives in New York with his wife, their two daughters, and their dog, Lucy.