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Fire from the Rock

Fire from the Rock

Based on the recommendations of the eight Teen Readerson the teen title selection panel, our selection for young readers is Fire from the Rock, by Sharon M. Draper. In this stirring novel, honor student Sylvia Patterson faces the terrifying and exhilarating prospect of being one of the first African American students to attend an all-white high school. Based on the events at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, her story brings to life a pivotal moment in the early Civil Rights Movement.

You can learn more about the book on Sharon Draper's website.

View the video Ms. Draper taped about Fire from the Rock and our contest for teen classes on the website of our On the Same Page sponsor CET.


"With stirring complexity, Draper personalizes the civil rights struggle beyond slogans and politics."
-Booklist, August 1, 2007

"Draper neatly intertwines history, pop culture, and emotion as she explores the turbulent era of Civil Rights through the eyes of an African-American teen...Sylvia Faye's character is very real and appealing, and the frank dialogue is both educational and refreshing."
-School Library Journal, October 2007

"Draper evokes the escalating tensions and violence of that seminal summer, giving them a sense of immediacy via a strong central character. Compelling."
-Kirkus, July 15, 2007

"This historical fiction novel is a must-have. It keeps the reader engaged with vivid depictions of a time that most young people can only imagine."
-VOYA, August 2007


"Are they gonna shut down our schools and make us all go to school with the white kids?" Reggie asked. He sounded concerned. "I like the fact that Dunbar and Mann are just for the colored kids! They don't want us and we don't need them."

"No, Mr. Birmingham. This process may take years. Next week we will start the selection process for those of you who might choose to be among the first, the proud, maybe even the famous. But it will not be easy. The white establishment does not want you there. It will be difficult, maybe even painful, and probably dangerous. I want you to go home tonight and talk to your parents. After much discussion and prayer, if you and your family want to be considered for this, I want you to let me know. We are slowly compiling a list of possible students to be chosen. Will you be among them?"

"I know I don't want to be on that list," Sylvia heard Reggie say.

The bell rang then, and Sylvia exhaled as if she had been underwater. Integration! Here in Little Rock. Finally. And she and her friends could be the ones chosen to do it. What a terrible, horrible, wonderful decision this would be. (pp. 37-38, hardcover edition)