Monday, March 22, 2010

Nonfiction Mondays: The Forbidden Schoolhouse by Suzanne Jurmain

This Nonfiction Monday selection is The Forbidden School House: the true and dramatic story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students by Suzanne Jurmain. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

What Caught My Eye: I wanted to read something in honor of Women's History Month and also I have been thinking a lot about race and racism lately and also wanted to read something for last month's Black History Month. This actually also touched on my interest in the history of education in this country as well and so I found this lying on the shelf. (See browsing the shelves is still a good idea folks!)

Why I Didn't Put It Down: Despite, the awful, bordering on atrocious, editing job *cringe*, I thought this was a very fascinating book. Prudence Crandall, against all the hate, threats to her self and her students, stood up for what she believed and opened up a school for girls of color. It was in Canterbury, Connecticut and was very prestigious boarding school for girls at a time when girls were not supposed to be educated at all. Prudence Crandall took it a step further by making her school an all "colored" girls school. She knew that in order for things to improve people needed to be educated and she took it upon herself to be the woman to fight for these girls rights. The amount of attacks she and her students experienced, the fact that she was arrested and stood on trial by breaking the Connecticut Black Law, really makes her an amazing educator. I was taken aback by how, in away, these are still issues that students face today in the public education system.
It is also wonderful to note that after have to close her school, an abusive marriage and having to leave her own town, years and years later, the state of Connecticut issued an apology to Ms. Crandall. She also has become the Heroine of the State. And she even remained positive, optimistic and an activist up to her death in 1890.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Great for Black History Month and Women's History Month displays or discussions, someone interested in the history of education. Also, just a student who wants to read a great nonfiction book (despite the typos - there wasn't a lot but it was noticeable).

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