Reading Along I-94: Lions of Little Rock, Part 2

lions of little rock

JEN: What kind of struck me as odd was Marlee’s relationship with her mom. I kind of would have liked a little more explanation about their relationship. How is Marlee’s whole family different from her mom? How come Marlee doesn’t really talk to her mom? Marlee’s mom seems like a nice person even though she does disagree about the integration of the schools. But it seems like their relationship hasn’t been strong before the controversy over integrating the schools.

COLBY: Two books in a row where the mom and daughter have less than stellar relationships: See You At Harry’s and Now The Lions of Little Rock. I kind of like seeing the less than perfect mother/daughter relationship. I think it’s good for kids to experience through story.

JEN: I listened to The Help two years ago and I can see how Marlee and her mom remind me a little bit about Elizabeth and her daughter May Mobley. Elizabeth is completely against equality for African Americans and does all sorts of horrible things to the people who work for her. She even campaigns to encourage her friends to build bathrooms outside of their houses so they don’t have to share a bathroom with the help. Her daughter, May Mobley, literally gets no attention from her mother, instead the woman who works for Elizabeth cares for May Mobley like she was her own daughter. I can see how May Mobley might grow up to have a relationship with Elizabeth that is similar to Marlee’s relationship with her mom…except maybe not so extreme. But I can see how if your mom is so different from you and how you view the world, it would put a strain on your relationship.

COLBY: I think it would be very hard to have a strong relationship with someone that has such a different belief system as you do. The fact that in The Lions of Little Rock, it is mother/daughter helps, but I think that it would be darn near impossible if they didn’t have the family bond.

JEN: Does it strike you as being at all strange that a mother and a daughter would have such differing views? I am just so curious as to how they ended up thinking so differently. Sally acts very much like her mother and I think that supports the phrase, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Or even “like father, like son,” although here we have “like mother, like daughter.” It’s really hard for me to fathom how a mother and a daughter would become so disconnected…but good for me to read about it because I’m sure it happens, it’s just not something I have experienced so it’s difficult for me to understand.

COLBY: Very interesting way to look at things. After holding conferences, I often think about the phrase “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. I think that it is children breaking away from the opinions of their parents is probably how slavery and segregation battles first started to take place. I mean, if we all believe what our parents believe, we will live in the same world our parents lived in.

JEN: Very true! I’m glad people do think differently than their parents sometimes but I agree, that many times, kids’ ideas and beliefs mirror their parents. It’s so interesting what our kids learn from us as parents. Kids also learn so much from us as teachers. It makes me think about our students and their love of reading. By being excited about books and talking about books, we encourage them to get excited about books, to want to read great books and then to share and talk to others about their books. As teachers, we have a huge influence on kids!


One thought on “Reading Along I-94: Lions of Little Rock, Part 2

  1. Hi-enjoyed the conversation. I thought that Marlee leaned more toward her father’s opinions, & although they were not direct there were repeated hints that he felt differently, like Marlee, about African Americans in schools, etc. As far as the disconnect, in my lifetime, the veering into new beliefs occurred tragically during the Viet Nam conflict, with WWII vets so in conflict with their own children who were fighting against war. I witnessed some of this in my own family & it was hard to see the fights. Who was for the war at any costs, who thought it was wrong-at any cost. And sometimes that cost was people fleeing for Canada. It was sad. Thanks for the talk Colby & Jen.


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