At various points throughout the last couple of weeks, Ms. Holmes said things like:
Nothing happens in this book.
The segregationists do mean and nasty things to prevent Melba from going to school and then she does go to school and they do slightly different mean and nasty things to her.
“Melba goes to school and gets beat up” is what happens in practically every single chapter.
She goes to school, goes to a news conference, and then does the whole thing over and over and over again.
It’s like she took her diary entries and put every single thing that happened in them into the memoir.
Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals has so much potential. A memoir? Meet those Common Core Non-fiction requirements! A female author? Excellent. Writing about her year as a member of the Little Rock Nine integrating Central High School? Relevant, difficult, important content about history and identity and difference! An eighth-grade accessible reading level? Amazing. Even the first two chapters, which describe her life pre-integration, making particularly clear the way segregation affected her adults’ opportunities and self-worth, suggest that this is going to be a tour de force aimed at the middle school crowd. Furthermore, Beals handles early instances of violence in the memoir with pitch perfect tone: she conveys that the danger is very very real, without exaggeration or melodramatics. Continue reading “Reading with Ms. Holmes: Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals”