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This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality
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This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one anoth ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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4.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  46 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Bethany M. Edwards
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-justice, ya
This non-fiction novel in verse is the story of the 12 students at Central High School in the small town of Clinton, Tennessee who caught the nation's attention. This never been told, first-hand account will enrapture readers, young and old, of what happened when Clinton High School was integrated after the Supreme Court passed Brown v. Board of Education.

The Promise of Change was done in part by one of the 12 students, Jo Ann Allen. I have been a long time fan of author and historian Debbie Lev
Leonard Kim
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written with lightning
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Wiping away tears as I finish. What a book!
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rc18, 2018
powerful and moving, memorable as all get out, and such an important story. I would have given it a fifth star except that, although I liked the free verse sections, I found the more formal poetic verse sections awkward to read (a preference, more than a criticism)
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher.

School integration and the Deep South have quite the history that’s far too recent for my tastes. When Georgia’s resistance to integration dragged on into the 1970s and forced the federal government to get involved, my own mother had to fight to stay in public school with her friends; my great-grandparents tried to put her in a private school that had been set up solely so the most racist of white parents wouldn
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This nonfiction novel in verse tells the story of Jo Ann Allen, one of the twelve African-American students who were among the first in the nation to integrate a segregated high school in the South. The small town of Clinton, Tennessee became one of the first communities to attempt desegregation after the Supreme Court ruling made segregation illegal. A year before the Little Rock 9, this lesser-known group of brave students at first attended their new school without incident but then outside ag ...more
Kelly Hager
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Schools being desegregated feels like centuries ago, at least to me. It's not that far, though. My mom was in high school when her school was integrated (in Delaware), and while she doesn't remember any problems, I'd be very curious what her new classmates felt and if they would agree.

This is an astonishing book full of incredibly brave people. Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve people in her Tennessee high school to go to the formerly all white school. There were protesters outside and there were m
Michele Knott
I wish more classrooms had books like this at the ready for when discussing the time periods the books cover in class. When you learn something out of a textbook, the history feels disjointed. Books like this makes history come to life and become more meaningful for readers.
Laura Gardner
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to @bloomsburypublishing for this free book (that I LOVED) to share w @kidlitexchange . ❤

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for sure! Put this #civilrights memoir on your purchase list for all middle schools and high schools—it comes out 1/8/19.

This is one of the very best nonfiction books in verse I have ever read. The combination of Jo Ann Allen Boyce’s searing first person account of her experience integrating Clinton High School in TN with @debbielevybooks skill as a poet is just phenomenal. Interspersed
Kathy Martin
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a little known (now) part of the Civil Rights Movement. In the fall of 1956, twelve black students entered Clinton (Tennessee) High School as the first desegregated high school in the South. Jo Ann Allen Boyce was fifteen and one of those students.

She lasted through an eventful semester with riots, Ku Klux Klan cross burnings, and national attention. She also personally dealt with harassment from other students and a strong sense of isolation and fear as she went to school.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: colorinyamg
@Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Releasing 1/8/19

Change is slow to come. The privilege I am benefiting from today as a Black woman was earned by those who came before me and fought against segregation.

Jo Ann Allen Boyce personal account of what it was like being part of the 12 Black students sent to an all-white high school in Clinton Tennessee was terrifying and humbling.
The book
Beth Anderson
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
History has a lot to offer. And when books allow us to empathize and connect with people of the past, we have an opportunity to understand times and events on a human level. This is one of those books that touches the heart and will resonate as kids view the world today.

A first-person telling from one who experienced the events is priceless. Debbie Levy’s free verse doesn’t crowd the page with description, but rather leaves plenty of white space for thought and reflection on the part of the read
Wayne McCoy
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'This Promise of Change' by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy tells the heartbreaking story of one girl's fight to integrate with 11 others into a white high school in the 1950s.

In 1956, schools were ordered to fall under the ruling of Brown VS. The Board of Education and integrate their schools. One of the very earliest was in Clinton, Tennessee. Jo Ann Allen was in high school and travelling to another town over to an all black school. She was chosen along with 11 others to be the first black
Amanda Sanders
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've only read one other account of a school desegregation from the point of view of a black student. I cried reading that book and this one. The stories are a painful reminder that ending slavery did not end the racism and problems for African Americans. In "This Promise of Change" Jo Ann tells her story in verse. I love stories done this way because every word matters in poetry. The images she evoked were vivid. I also liked the primary source newspaper clips throughout the book. The town of C ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful first-hand account of early school integration.

With its verse format, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't fiction; Jo Ann's voice, though optimistic, doesn't flinch away from the racism she faced, both overt threats like the KKK and outside agitators and the quieter racism of people who went along with integration because it was law even if they found it personally distasteful. The poetry is interspersed with real news headlines as the Clinton school was under national spotlig
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book for 2019. It is the story of the fight for school integration in Clinton Tn. before The Little Rock Nine or Ruby Bridges. Jo Ann Allen was 14 when she and eleven other students went to an all white high school where their presence became more more and more a source of conflict and violence. Even their white neighbors on the poor side of town turned against them. The story is told through various poetic forms and Jo Ann's voice is loud and clear. Readers will learn that w ...more
Katie Reilley
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Co-written by Jo Ann Allen Boyce, one of the Clinton 12, and author Debbie Levy, this non-fiction novel in verse tells the history of the events that unfolded during the 1956-57 school year when Clinton High in Tennessee is integrated for the first time.

This first hand account from Jo Ann puts readers in the center of the journey. Just 14 years old when pushed into the national spotlight, JoAnn shares her memories of this treacherous time in history through chapters told in sequential time. Wit
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Promise of Change is a biography in verse for Jo Ann Allen, one of the twelve black kids to attend Clinton High School in 1956, at desegregation. It’s a rocky, horrifying story. I liked the way quotes and headlines were sprinkled through the book, and the extensive back matter including photos. I was distracted by the occasional rhyming poem tho.
Abby Johnson
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This memoir in verse details the experiences of Jo Ann Allen, one of a handful of teens to integrate the white high school in Clinton, TN. The moving poetry begs to be read aloud, utilizing different poetic forms to bring this true story to life. Hand this to fans of Brown Girl Dreaming or Warriors Don't Cry.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written! An important and compelling story which should be in every school library.
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Oct 02, 2018
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Feb 13, 2019
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Jan 09, 2019
Kelsey Cansler
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2018
Johanna Hanson
Desegration; racial justice; civil rights movement.

I think the free-verse format fit the topic well. Haunting, honest, and beautiful.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 03, 2018
Kaity M
The book follows Jo Ann and her story of being integrated in Clinton high school. It’s written in beautifully in prose. The book has not just prose but headlines and interviews of real newspapers. The book is written in words that are easy to understand and and relate to. I would highly recommend to anyone especially those who like historical books / historical fiction.
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