Did you ever wonder what it was like for kids during the civil rights movement in 1964? In Yankee Girl, by Mary Ann Rodman, a white sixth-grader named Alice Ann Moxley moves to Mississippi from Chicago. She is surprised and dismayed at how she is treated by the people in the South because of her accent and her ideals. It is very difficult for her to make friends. When the first of two black students at her school arrive, she ends up in the midst of racial turmoil, especially because her dad is an FBI agent sent to Mississippi to help keep peace. She has a hard decision to make—whether to follow the crowd or to follow her heart. As you’re reading the book, see if you would make the same decisions that Alice did.
Accents and Southern custom, it turns out, are the least of Alice Ann Moxley’s troubles in her new Mississippi hometown in the novel Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman. The year is 1964, and Alice’s FBI-agent father has been reassigned from Chicago to Jackson to protect black people who are registering to vote. Alice knows from the news that down South the Ku Klux Klan has burned down Negro churches and that civil right workers have been murdered. She is torn between reaching out to the one black girl in her class in a newly-integrated school and doing what it takes to hang out with the popular crowd. And when you’re finished reading the book, I’m sure you’ll be wondering, “What would I have done in her place?”