Cover image for Virgie goes to school with us boys
Virgie goes to school with us boys
Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
In the post-Civil War South, a young African American girl is determined to prove that she can go to school just like her older brothers.
Reading Level:
190 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 32905.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 20378 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


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Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Clarence Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Frank E. Merriweather Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
East Delavan Branch Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Niagara Branch Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Riverside Branch Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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All Virgie wants is to go to school with her brothers George, Will, Nelson, Val, and C. C. But they keep saying she's too little for the long, seven-mile walk, and that girls don't need school.
Well, Virgie doesn't agree, and she's not gonna let anything stand in her way.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-7. A much-loved and often-told family story does not always translate into a compelling and engaging picture book, but this one sure does. Virgie, youngest in a family of boys, wants to learn to read and write just like her brothers. But the boys have to walk seven miles to Jonesborough each Monday morning, carrying their food and clothes, and stay the week at the Quaker school. Virgie is insistent, and the wonderful rhythms of the telling take us past the mill, the stream, the woods where the children sing to drive away the fear, and, finally, to school, where Virgie vows to read every book. Lewis, who illustrated Bat Boy and the Violin (1998), beautifully uses the play of light and dark, letting the greens of forest and meadow, the rich brown skin tones of the characters, and the pale cottons of britches and dresses make a sparkling series of images on the full-page illustrations. An author's note tells some of the family and social history on which the story is based. Children will respond to the wonderful pictures and the implicit and moving message about the value of learning. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Howard (Chita's Christmas Tree) plucks fruit from her family tree for this stellar story of an African-American girl determined to get an education just like her brothers. Narrated by the young C.C. (Howard's grandfather), the tale is set during Reconstruction, when schools sprang up all over the South to help educate the children of freed slaves, and it is based on the particular school attended by the real-life C.C. and his siblings in Jonesborough, Tenn. Virgie, the youngest of the siblings and the only girl, is determined to attend the school, despite the protests of her family ("You scarcely big as a field mouse. And school's seven miles from here!"). Finally, her parents acquiesce, sending her off with her five brothers with a week's worth of food and clothing in a bucket. Undeterred by a slip in the creek and a scary trek through the woods ("Didn't I tell you about Raw Head and Bloody Bones? Get you if you're not good, folks said. Might get you anyway"), Virgie is a radiant heroine. The easy flow of vernacular effortlessly propels the story, and Howard proves herself adept at plucking a large-scale episode from history and adapting it to the scale of a picture book. Lewis's (The Bat Boy and His Violin) luminous watercolors capture both the rhythms of C.C. and Virgie's rural existence and the story's emotional subtext, and his character studies fairly burst with life. Ages 6-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-The youngest and the only girl in a family with five boys, Virgie works hard to convince everyone she is old enough, strong enough, and smart enough to attend the school set up by the Quakers for recently freed blacks in Jonesborough, TN. By the end of summer, she has convinced her family that she can make the seven-mile walk to board at school each week and willingly handle the job of "learning to be free." The story is a superb tribute to the author's great aunt, the inspiration for this book. Howard crystallizes each of the family members, setting the protagonist snugly in the midst of annoying but loving brothers and wise parents. A note provides more information about the school and family. Lewis's watercolor illustrations capture the characters with warmth and dignity; the many double-page spreads evoke the vastness of both the land and the immensity of Virgie's undertaking. There is a blush of dialect and two thrilling references to Raw Head and Bloody Bones waiting in the woods to catch the children on their way to school. Youngsters will enjoy Virgie but it will be years before they can harvest all that is planted in this gentle tale. A worthy choice for read-alouds and independent reading.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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