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

Elizabeth Alexander , Marilyn Nelson , Floyd Cooper

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2007
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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsong; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590784561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590784563
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 27.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,634,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


* "A glorious poetic celebration of the teacher and students at a Connecticut school that defied mid-19th-century convention to educate African-American girls." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "The images in their poems and in Cooper's quiet, dramatic pastel illustrations compellingly capture the haunting history." --Booklist, starred review

"Deftly crafted, interweaving colloquial and lofty language; reading aloud will emphasize the sonorous strength of the language, while the individual perspectives suggest possibilities for reader's theater." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Book

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color Feb. 8 2009
By Genevieve Brooks - Published on Amazon.com
When I learned that Ms Alexander was the inagural poet I was curious about her so I bought the book. I was pleased with the book and its interesting history about the education of blacks in America.

I was introduced to the book by Dr. Irene Hall, co-founder of Discovery Charter School in Newark, NJ, my Alternate Route Instructor, who had her students read the book prior to Pres. Obama's inaguration. She told us about the book and it's historical importance; therefore when I purchased it I knew what I was getting.

I must say I was not disappointed. The book was well written and put together to make such a sobering series of event interesting.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Jan. 25 2009
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Prudence Crandall, a young schoolteacher with a Quaker upbringing, started a boarding school for female students in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1831. Although the townspeople had helped to establish the school, their support soon changed into outrage when Ms. Crandall accepted a young African American woman from Boston. Outrage led to withdrawal of the white students as Ms. Crandall admitted a second student of color, and by early 1833 the school had only black girls in attendance.

Efforts by the townspeople to close the school intensified as they arrested and briefly jailed Ms. Crandall, harassed the students, stopped selling provisions to the school, and ultimately ransacked the building and set it on fire. Although the town succeeded in closing the school, Ms. Crandall continued to speak out about social justice across the country, and ultimately the town of Canterbury made reparations for their wrongful actions.

Elizabeth Alexander (poet for the 2009 inauguration of President Obama) and Marilyn Nelson (poet laureate of the state of Connecticut, 2002-06), use a series of carefully-crafted and beautiful sonnets to relate the story of Prudence Crandall and her students. The uncertainties of leaving home for a boarding school, the joys of gaining new knowledge, the frustration in encountering resistance from the town, and the fears of experiencing harassment are all captured in the powerful verses. Floyd Cooper's moving illustrations work extremely well in helping the reader to interpret the poems. This unique book of poetry provides teachers and parents with a new opportunity for teaching important lessons about discrimination, education, and U.S. history.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color Nov. 14 2009
By Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. The story is told through poetry. I couldn't put it down.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Service Sept. 15 2008
By Yolanda A. Neville - Published on Amazon.com
The book that I ordered arrived in a timely manner and in excellent condition.