The Forbidden Schoolhouse (Hardcover)

The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students

By Suzanne Jurmain

HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780618473021, 160pp.

Publication Date: October 24, 2005

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/2/2018)

List Price: 19.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


They threw rocks and rotten eggs at the school windows. Villagers refused to sell Miss Crandall groceries or let her students attend the town church. Mysteriously, her schoolhouse was set on fire—by whom and how remains a mystery. The town authorities dragged her to jail and put her on trial for breaking the law.

Her crime? Trying to teach African American girls geography, history, reading, philosophy, and chemistry. Trying to open and maintain one of the first African American schools in America.

Exciting and eye-opening, this account of the heroine of Canterbury, Connecticut, and her elegant white schoolhouse at the center of town will give readers a glimpse of what it is like to try to change the world when few agree with you.

About the Author

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain was born into a theatrical family, making her acting debut at age four and appearing in a number of television programs during her childhood and teen years. After earning an honors degree in English at UCLA, she worked at UCLA’s Fowler Museum before becoming a freelance writer. She has published several award-winning books for children on historical subjects, including The Secret of the Yellow Death, and the picture books Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud, George Did It, and Nice Work, Franklin!, all illustrated by Larry Day. Suzanne Jurmain lives with her husband in Los Angeles. Visit her website at

Praise For The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students

* "Jurmain has plucked an almost forgotten incident from history and has shaped a compelling, highly readable book around it."
Booklist, starred review

"Fascinating photographs and images . . . and endnotes provide insight into the lives of the students, Crandall, and her supporters."
Horn Book

"This book offers a fresh look at the climate of education for African Americans and women in the early 1800s."
––School Library Journal

"A captivating read."
Kirkus Reviews