Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Small Shoes, Great Strides

Small Shoes Great Strides Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Small Shoes, Great Strides:
How Three Brave Girls Opened Doors for School Equality

Illustrations by Alex Bostic
Carolrhoda Books, 2023

Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost didn’t set out to make history. But when these three Black first graders stepped into the all-white McDonogh No. 19 Public School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960, that’s exactly what they did. They integrated their school just ten minutes before Ruby Bridges walked into Frantz Elementary across town. Like Ruby, the trio faced crowds of protestors fighting against public school desegregation efforts and relied on US Marshals to keep them safe. Their teacher protected them every step of the way, and the girls formed a close bond, becoming friends for life.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson conducted extensive interviews to bring this little-known story from the Civil Rights Movement to a broad audience. Vivid illustrations by fine artist Alex Bostic highlight the girls’ strength, courage, and determination.

Awards & Accolades

  Publishers Weekly, starred review

  Booklist, starred review

  Foreword, starred review

  The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

  School Library Journal, starred review

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