Mrs. Nelson’s Class

    Edited by Marilyn Nelson

    Winner of the 2017 NCTE Excellence in Poetry for Children Award!

    About the Book

    On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools is unconstitutional. In September 1954, in an Air Force base school near Salina, Kansas, young African American teacher Mrs. Johnnie Mitchell Nelson became the teacher of a second grade class of twenty white children. Mrs. Nelson knew, but did her pupils understand they were making history together?

    Through a class roster of persona poems by poets Doug Anderson, Martha Collins, Alfred Corn, Annie Finch, Helen Frost, Margaret Gibson, Jeanine Hathaway, Andrew Hudgins, Mark Jarman, Peter Johnson, Meg Kearney, Ron Koertge, David Mason, Leslie Monsour, Dinty W. Moore, Marilyn Nelson, LeslEa Newman, Michael Palma, Michael Waters, and Katherine Williams, this anthology presents Mrs. Nelson and her class, imagining how she and her students may have experienced their unique situation.