Fire from the Rock (Hardcover)

By Sharon M. Draper

Dutton Books, 9780525477204, 231pp.

Publication Date: August 16, 2007



Sylvia Patterson is shocked and confused when she is asked to be one of the first black students to attend Central High School, which is scheduled to be integrated in September 1957, whether the citizens or governor of Arkansas like it or not. Before Sylvia makes her final decision, smoldering racial tension in the town ignites into flame. When the smoke clears, she sees clearly that nothing is going to stop the change from coming. It is up to her generation to make it happen, in as many different ways as there are colors in the world.

About the Author

Sharon M. Draper is the coauthor of the "New York Times" bestseller "We Beat the Street" and the author of many other books for young readers. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Praise For Fire from the Rock

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. The year is 1957 and Sylvia Faye is chosen to be one of the first black students to enter Central High School in the racially charged town of Little Rock, AR, where the owner of the barbershop has “trained his dogs to attack Negroes.” She is excited and honored but also very scared. She worries about her older brother who challenges whites with his fists instead of following her noble example by excelling in school and walking away from trouble. Sylvia Faye’s character is very real and appealing, and the frank dialogue is both educational and refreshing. The text alternates between third-person narrative and Sylvia Faye’s journal entries, allowing readers to experience her thoughts and fears about the important decision she must make. The author’s ability to explore numerous prejudices subtly without bogging down readers with too much backstory is impressive, and she effectively shows the enormity of the decision and the tenor of the times. —School Library Journal