Cover Image: A Mighty Long Way (Adapted for Young Readers)

A Mighty Long Way (Adapted for Young Readers)

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I remember learning about the Little Rock Nine when I was in school during our Civil Rights unit when we learned all about the fight for equality for Black Americans in the United States and the desegregation of the South. Suffice it to say that the knowledge that I had about Central High School, the Little Rock Nine and then President Eisenhower having to send in the 101st Airborne Division to ensure that the nine Black students who were set to attend Central High School could do so without interference.

Reading Carlotta’s story, I learned so much more than those basic facts. While I was not surprised to read about the mistreatment Carlotta and her fellow Black students faced from their white peers upon attending the school, I was surprised to learn of just how much danger they, their families and anyone who showed sympathy towards them faced. I had no idea that members of the community, both Black and white, experienced death threats, bombings and physical abuse by the local police and FBI. I also did not know that after the initial year when Central was desegregated, the following school year the Governor closed all the high schools and as such all the students had to do either remote learning, or in the instance of Carlotta and many of her Black peers travel to a different state and live with other members of the Black community in order to attend school somewhere else so as not to fall behind.

In the introduction to the book, Carlotta speaks about a school visit she did where she shared her story and at the conclusion of her presentation, one of the students asked “Why am I just learning this? Why haven’t I learned this in school before now?” While this student’s question helped Carlotta to realize that she needed to share her story with today’s students not only to help educate them on the pains of the past but also to show them how hard she, her peers and those who supported them all fought to “ensure that all students, regardless of their race, have access to the best education possible.”; the student’s question made me shake my head in a mixture of anger and sadness that the United States is at a point in its history where there are those in this country who don’t want this history taught for they believe that in teaching the harmful parts of our nation’s history it will cast the white population in a negative light and teach that all white people are bad and have continuously treated Blacks horribly. This thought is just not true and these negative attitudes to the teaching of the actual historical record is damaging to our country, the youth and our future as a society.

This is a book that should be required reading for all US History classes as they discuss the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation of the Jim Crow South. While this adaptation is written for younger readers, it’s one that adults would also benefit from. It is a book that I look forward to sharing with friends, family, and the college students I work with and advise.
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this is one of my favorite discussions of history and think it's so befitting for young readers.

i actually ate this up in one sitting during black history month. having these types of books so readily accessible for youth is brilliant.
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I was enthralled by this account by Carlotta Walls LaNier, and think this should be required reading for every high school student.  The fact that we feel so far removed from schools labeled "segregated" but still have so far to go is evident in this account.  We still have segregated schools, but now parents have more options with homeschooling, private schools, or living in parts of town that remain segregated without outwardly saying so.  I think this is such an interesting look at how the state of Arkansas harmed so many students with their policies. I also didn't realize how different the regions were between the south and the Midwest at that time.  This is such an important read, and really gives a human face to the plight of Carlotta and her peers.
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I’m no teacher, but if I were, I would ensure that this book be a part of the curriculum. This specific edition has been adopted for young readers. I liked it book so much that I plan on reading the first edition, as soon as I can manage it. I can’t imagine the bravery that Carlotta showed during integration. Please check this book out and share it with everyone! Carlotta is now 80 years old and still with us. Certain parts of our horrible history aren’t as long past as we think they are.

Favorite lines: 
✨ And they had produced stellar students, despite the imbalance in resources. But they weren’t at all confident that their white colleagues at Central would be able to look past the skin color of black students, or see and nurture the future doctors, lawyers, and scientists we could become 
✨ Many of those who wrote called me a trailblazer and thanked me for my courage. Their letters reminded me of how much strength I had drawn from them over the years, those distant friends and family, as well as strangers, who took the time to let me know that they were with me in spirit
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I admit that normally I do not read as much Non-Fiction as much as I read Fiction but when I got the email about A Mighty Long Way I was drawn to it because I already had seen a film about Ruby Bridges and knew I wanted to know more.

It is very hard to review a book like this as this was Carlotta's life and her bravery at the age of 14 to go through such hate is beyond me.    This book must of been very hard for Carlotta to relive such  harrowing events I doff my cap.   I was totally moved by her story and in fact I shed some tears in utter disbelief  how humans could treat other humans that way.

It is also a story of family, love and hope and should be talked more about in Schools especially and discussed no matter where the School is.

Thank you Carlotta for writing this book and for all the reasons above I am giving 4 stars
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice At Little Rock Central High School

Author: Carlotta Walls LaNier and Lisa Frazier Page

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Black MC and characters

Recommended For...: young adult readers, required reading, memoirs, Little Rock Nine

Publication Date: January 17. 2023

Genre: YA Memoir

Age Relevance: 13+ (religion, terrorism, racism, war, colorism, cursing, slavery, murder, death, police brutality, segregation, violence, suicide, vomit gore, illness)

Explanation of Above: The book has passages describing real-life moments of terrorism, racism, war, colorism, slavery, segregation, and police brutality in detail. There are mentions and passages talking about the Christian religion. There is some mild cursing. There are mentions and discussions about murder, death, and one scene describing a supposed suicide. Physical violence is shown and mentioned. There is one passage mentioning vomiting. There are a couple of mentions of cancer and dementia as well.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 304

Synopsis: Follow the story of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who in 1957 at the age of fourteen was one of nine black students who integrated the all-white Little Rock Central High School and became known as the Little Rock Nine.

At fourteen years old, Carlotta Walls was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. The journey to integration in a place deeply against it would not be not easy. Yet Carlotta, her family, and the other eight students and their families answered the call to be part of the desegregation order issued by the US Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

As angry mobs protested, the students were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by escorts from the 101st Airborne Division, which had been called in by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety. The effort needed to get through that first year in high school was monumental, but Carlotta held strong. Ultimately, she became the first Black female ever to walk across the Central High stage and receive a diploma.

The Little Rock Nine experienced traumatic and life-changing events not only as a group but also as individuals, each with a distinct personality and a different story. This is Carlotta's courageous story.

Review: This is a truly impactful read. The book is the real-life account of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who was one of the Little Rock 9. If you’re unfamiliar with the Little Rock 9, that stands as a testament to one of the darker times in American history that states and government are actively trying to cover up. The Little Rock 9 was a group of students who volunteered to be the first Black students to attend an all-white school when integration was being introduced. The horrors and hardships they, and more specifically Carlotta, endured during that time and afterwards are detailed in this book in very good detail. The book is an adaptation for young readers and is suitable for anyone who wants to learn the history that American history textbooks refuse to recite. I consider this required reading for anyone at any age. The book itself is very well written and you honestly feel like you’re in conversation with Carlotta.

The only issue I had with the book is that sometimes the pacing was a bit wonky in places, but that’s not unusual for memoirs and such.

Verdict: It was great and I highly recommend everyone add this to their required reading repertoire.
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A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls LaNier and Lisa Frazier Page is a powerful memoir of a young girl who steps into the fires of integration and becomes one of the Little Rock Nine.

History That Should Be In The Textbooks
I loved the smooth flow of this book. It was easy to stay in the story spoken from Carlotta’s viewpoint. I finished the book almost in one sitting. I’m excited for young readers to get their hands on this book. It has so much history packed into it. Students will walk away demanding why they were never told the facts that Carlotta shares.

A Mighty Long Way, includes Carlotta’s life before her fateful sophomore year when she integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It also describes the painful experiences she endured during that long integration — which took several years — and the trauma she managed after graduating. A fact that I learned: Only three of the Little Rock Nine were able to graduate from Central High School. The reason why may surprise you, and it’s not because they dropped out and transferred.

Dealing With Trauma
Before reading A Mighty Long Way, I had only heard of Ernest Green’s story because it was a made-for-TV movie. A scene that has forever stuck with me was when he came out of the gym shower and he cut himself on broken glass other students spread all over the floor. Readers need to prepare themselves for cruelty Carlotta and the other students experienced day after day at school. She mentions at the beginning that unlike the Freedom Riders, which occurred several years later, she and the other students had no training on how to deal with the constant onslaught of cruelty that was only balanced with a brutal invisibility by those who turned their heads away from the injustices.

Carlotta’s was a story that was almost never told. She speaks about how she really didn’t want to talk about it. It is a good conversation to have with students about dealing with trauma. My heart goes out to Elizabeth Eckford. Many know her as the lone girl in the photographs who walked into the mob because she didn’t receive the message to meet at the Bates home that first day. She still has a difficult time reliving that period of her life.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about American history from a perspective that is often suppressed. There was so much more that happened during the Central High School integration than commonly gets told. Carlotta speaks about how during the second year of integration the governor shut down all of the high schools for a year, the bombings (including her own home) by segregationists, an alleged murder, false imprisonment, and the aftermath of having survived two years of being one of the first to integrate Central High School.
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This memoir of Carlotta Walls LaNier, is such a good read.  Her life as one of the Little Rock Nine comes to life for the reader.  As a teen and a brave, strong one at that, her reluctant recollections of her life are so moving.  Her story makes the civil rights movement accessible to teens.  Every facet of their lives was affected by their decisions to be the first black students to attend Central High School.  Carlotta does a good job of telling this part of her experience.  This is an important part of US History and must be part of the curriculum of each US student.
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I am always looking to expand my knowledge on topics I don't know much about. I liked reading about Little Rock even if it is a sad topic. It was very informative and I liked the background we were given for Carlotta as well.
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This is based on a true story of an event that happened close to my hometown. It is such an important event to learn more about and how unfortunately people can treat each other. The bravery and strength the “Little Rock Nine” exhibited is an inspiration to us all. I was moved by Caroltta’s story, and I highly recommend.
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Special thanks to the author, the publisher, TBR and beyond book tour, and Netgalley team for approving this Netgalley widget. 
I'm sorry to say that this book wasn't exactly for me.
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Review to come AFTER the tour on my blog/goodreads/etc.

I received this book from TBR and Beyond Tours + the Publisher in exchange of an honest review.

So now that the tour is over I can post my review for this book. It wasn't a bad book, but this time it was a 3 stars that went more to the negative side than the positive side and with the tour being all positive vibes... I had to wait. So here we are.

First up, I did love (maybe that sounds wrong) reading about Little Rock. I know some bits about it thanks to books I read. But I wanted to know more. Read more about it. And sure, I could read articles and the likes on my computer, I think it is just a bit more personal to read it from someone who experienced it. Like the 9 teens or Mrs. Bates. So that is a big reason why I wanted to read the book. We follow Carlotta as she makes the decision to go to Little Rock. As she pushes through to get her place there. We read about the racism that is so rampant. I knew how bad the racism is (and was) in the US, but it still shocks me to see what people shouted. How people gathered and formed a deadly crowd. How there were bombings and threats. To see how far people would go just to make sure that someone of colour would not get anywhere near them. WTF. I found the courage of these 9, or well 8 given that one didn't go in the end, extraordinary. I am not sure if I would have done the same if I was in their shoes. Or if I would have gotten through things on another way. I just wanted to step into the book and just punch several people. I do hope that these people, later on in life, will have seen what they did and I hope that they feel some ounce of remorse, because holy crap.

I loved reading about Mrs. Bates, about what she did for the teens and families around her that were in need. How she always stepped up if an injustice happened. How she made sure the teens had someone to talk to. How she tried her best for them and helped them with their studies when things didn't go so well.

It was great reading about Carlotta's family. She has so much support and love and I am sure that helped her with her decision to go for it. I loved how supportive her parents were. Yes, they knew it would be dangerous, but they were there for her.

But yeah, I had expected, given the title, the cover, the way this book was promoted, that it was ALL ABOUT Little Rock. However, for most of the book it isn't. We get befores with tons of family stuff and how things started. And then we get a bit about Little Rock, it just felt very little, and then we get the after. And the after is all about colleges, working, school, family, then also about some Little Rock as Carlotta was asked to talk to people. And while at points it was interesting (like see how much of the racism was still around and see it slowly change for the better), it was also just boring. I am sorry, I really had to drag my butt through the chapters and each time one finished it felt like it was finished only to find out that there was another chapter. And another one. And another one. It didn't make up for a good reading experience. I was just bored and found myself wondering about DNF-ing. But given the material and the importance of the book, I decided to just go on. Read on. Maybe if this one had been promoted as a memoir of the life of Carlotta Walls instead of a book about Little Rock? I would have enjoyed it better or maybe be more prepared. Now I was just like, where is all the Little Rock? It was just maybe 100 or so pages purely about Little Rock. The rest was either not about it or mentioned the effects of having gone to their + the rampant racism that is still all around.

Also I would have liked a family tree at the beginning? Carlotta has a big big family and she often calls her grandfathers by Papa, which had me confused. I think if I had a family tree I could just go back to it and see who was who again and get a better feel of her family.

All in all, still a book I am happy I got the chance to read. It is an important book about racism, perseverance, courage.
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Very informative book about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock starting in 1957. I learned a lot about the events I hadn't previously known. Accessible to young readers!
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