Reviews for Forbidden Schoolhouse : The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Candall and Her Students

Booklist Reviews 2005 October #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 5-8. Jurmain has plucked an almost forgotten incident from history and has shaped a compelling, highly readable book around it. In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened a school for young white ladies. When asked by an African American teenager if she might join the class, Crandall, whose sympathies were with the abolitionists, agreed. So begins a jolting episode in which Crandall turned her school into one for girls of color, and is both tormented and sued by the citizenry of Canterbury, Connecticut, who wanted no part of African Americans in their town. Writing with a sense of drama that propels readers forward (and quoting the language of the day, which includes the word nigger), Jurmain makes painfully clear what Crandall and her students faced, while showing their courage as they stood up to those who tried to deter them. Printed on thick, snowy stock and including a number of sepia-toned and color photographs as well as historical engravings, the book's look will draw in readers. Children will be especially pleased by the appended material, which includes an epilogue that tells what became of the principals, as well as source notes for the many quotes. ((Reviewed October 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
In 1833, Prudence Crandall opened a school for middle-class black girls in Connecticut. In 1835, her dream was destroyed when midnight intruders ransacked the school. Readers looking for the individual who bravely fights for the rights of others will be inspired by her dedication, strength, and moral compass. Fascinating photographs and images from period newspapers accompany many of the pages. Bib., ind. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #6
In 1833, after reading an article in William Lloyd Garrison's antislavery newspaper The Liberator, Prudence Crandall opened a school for middle-class black girls in Canterbury, Connecticut. The school was almost immediately attacked by both local vigilantes and men bearing lawsuits (the Connecticut legislature was moved to pass a new statute banning schools from admitting out-of-state black students). She met every assault with dignity and intelligence, consulting with Garrison and other antislavery leaders in New England. But in the fall of 1835 Crandall's dream was destroyed when midnight intruders ransacked the school. Crandall's obscurity may limit the appeal of this book, though readers looking for the individual who bravely fights for the rights of others will be inspired by her dedication, strength, and moral compass. Less compelling are the details of Crandall's difficult marriage and the tidy epilogue about educational inequality and the civil rights movement. Fascinating photographs and images from period newspapers accompany many of the pages, and endnotes provide insight into the later lives of the students, Crandall, and her supporters. Chapter-by-chapter source notes, bibliography, and index appended. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2005 August #1
Prudence Crandall never set out to be a revolutionary-just a teacher. But when she made the bold decision to admit African-American girls to her exclusive girls' academy in Canterbury, Conn., she made a conscious decision to change her life forever. As the white parents of Canterbury would not allow their daughters to attend school with black students, Crandall closed it altogether, reopening it as a boarding school for middle-class black girls in 1833, with help from her Quaker family and William Lloyd Garrison, among others. It was a short-lived enterprise, however, as opposition both legal and vigilante finally forced her to close less than two years later. Jurmain adopts a storyteller's voice to tell the tale, lacing it with excerpts from primary sources, but always locating readers in the emotional heart of the conflict. This makes for a fast-paced read; well-placed images depict both the principal players and the interior of the Crandall school (now a museum). Closing chapters fill in the details of Crandall's later life and sketch the subsequent history of school integration. (appendices, notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection - June/July 2006
Prudence Crandall was an educator in the early 1800's. She continued to teach after she married, which was startling for that time. The students that she chose to teach were African-American girls, and that was also earth-shaking. She lived her life based on the conviction that black children should be educated. That belief caused her to be ostracized, imprisoned and threatened. This biography simply describes her struggles. The text is arranged in chronological chapters, interspersed with b&w and sepia (and occasionally color) photographs. The text brings into play the actions of famous abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. This is a readable introductory biography for elementary and middle school students. The epilogue (an update on black education since 1890) and appendix of students, supporter, and enemies complete this nice middle- level biography. Index. Recommended. Beverly Combs, Librarian, Parsons Pre-Kindergarten School, Garland, Texas © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

School Library Journal Reviews 2005 November

Gr 7-9 -Jurmain describes the difficulties Crandall faced when she decided to open a school for African-American females in Canterbury, CT. Although she had the support of William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the antislavery publication the Liberator ; Reverend Samuel May, a Unitarian minister; and others, her hard work met resistance in the form of riots, arson, and a jail sentence. Black-and-white photos highlight the key players and the famed schoolhouse. The appendix lists the courageous students who attended the school along with a few facts about them, including how their futures played out after the institution was forced to close. This book offers a fresh look at the climate of education for African Americans and women in the early 1800s. Report writers and recreational readers alike will find it informative.-Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL

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