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Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
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This luminous and energetic picture book follows a young boy who takes his younger sister on her first trip to school in the Reconstruction-era South.

“Papa, Mama, can I go too?”

Virgie was always begging to go to school with us boys. My brothers had doubts. School was seven miles away—a long way from Mama. Virgie was scarcely big as a field mouse. How could she make the trip? And girls didn’t really need school.

But I got to thinking: Virgie was free like we were. Free to learn. And didn’t girls need to know how to write and add, too? Mama and Papa thought so. And one summer, they decided to do something about it. That was the year Virgie came to school with us boys. And she sure showed us!

Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard grew up hearing stories of her grandfather’s childhood from her mother and later visited Jonesborough, Tennessee, a town seven miles from where her grandfather grew up. There, she drew inspiration for stories of her own.

E.B. Lewis is the award-winning illustrator of such books as Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, which was a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, and This Little Light of Mine. He received the Caldecott Honor for Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes. E.B. Lewis lives in New Jersey, and you can visit him online at EBLewis.com.

  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Children's Literature Choice List
  • ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

More books from this author: Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

More books from this illustrator: E.B. Lewis