Reviews for March forward, girl : from young warrior to Little Rock Nine

School Library Journal
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Gr 6 Up-Now in her seventies, Beals recalls growing up in Little Rock, AR, before she became one of the Little Rock Nine, an experience she penned earlier in Warriors Don't Cry. In this latest, Beals describes how as early as age three, she questioned the fear and constant oppression of black people by whites and the U.S. legal system. "I sensed from the very first moment of consciousness that I was living in a place where I was not welcome."Beals remembers such indignities as being locked for hours in a pantry by her grandmother's white employer, and being besieged by angry police while using a department store bathroom for whites as her grandmother begged forgiveness. She also details a horrifying episode when Ku Klux Klan members barged into her church service, barricaded the doors, and lynched a congregant from the church rafters. As a preteen, Beals narrowly escaped being raped by Klan men who found her alone alongside the road and drove her to a gathering in the woods. These horrendous experiences, contrasted with the love and support of her family and community, shaped Beals's determination to volunteer for the integration program that would cement her legacy as a beacon of civil rights. An epilog provides a synopsis of the Little Rock Nine, and black-and-white childhood photos and illustrations by Morrison appear throughout. VERDICT Beal's recollection of white oppression and her rise above it will haunt readers. A must-read for teens. -Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Beals (Warriors Don't Cry, 1995) wastes no time getting into the deep, choking horror of living under Jim Crow in 1940s and 1950s Arkansas. Likening her fear of white people to an ever-growing monster consuming her nights, she reflects on how the Ku Klux Klan rode through her black neighborhood, plucking friends and neighbors from their homes to be lynched for minor infractions of the codes or for fun. That fear morphed into anger and motivation to find a way out, eventually helping her to become one of the Little Rock Nine. Beals has a way with short, powerful sentences that efficiently capture her roiling emotional inner life. She also outlines the interplay of racism and sexism in a harrowing recounting of the time she was herself a target of the Klan. The narrative stops short of the integration of Little Rock Central High School, featuring it instead in the epilogue. Young readers will be gripped by Beal's personal courage and determination to march forward for civil rights at such a young age.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
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In a visceral and vital memoir, journalist and activist Beals (Warriors Don't Cry), who integrated Central High School as one of the Little Rock Nine, recounts growing up African-American in 1940s Arkansas "under the umbrella of the rules and traditions of my oppression." Her grandmother encouraged Beals to trust in God, but the Ku Klux Klan members who marauded their streets by night filled her with constant dread. Beals's rage at the injustice permeating her daily life-and what she perceived as black adults' passive compliance-led her to ask, "Why not fight back?" Chilling examples of violence underscore the traumatizing environment: at age five, Beals witnessed Klansmen hang a man from church rafters during a prayer meeting, and as a teen she barely escaped rape after being unwittingly brought to a KKK gathering. Beals writes openly about her feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, though her courage and resolve are just as evident. It's a no-holds-barred reflection of the physical and psychological toll that prejudice, discrimination, and hate take on a young life. Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.