Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Illustrator:  E.B. Lewis 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2005   ISBN: 0689877935

All summer long, Virgie tells her five brothers that she wants to go to school in the fall. Four of the brothers think that Virgie is too little, that the work is too hard, that the school is too far away, and that she won’t be able to cope with staying at school for a whole week at a time. One of her brothers, C.C., thinks that Virgie should be allowed to go to the Quaker school too. After all, Mr. Lincoln declared that all slaves were free. Didn’t that mean that Virgie should be free to have an education?

In the end, Virgie’s determined pestering pays off, and her parents decide that she too can go to school. Virgie’s brother Nelson is not happy about the decision and shows his discontent. C.C. does his best to support his sister as she walks the seven miles to school, crossing a stream and walking through a spooky wood.

Based on the true story of her relatives, Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard captures the passion that freed slaves felt about getting an education. Denied the opportunity to learn for so many generations, her family members embraced the opportunity to go to school, and one little girl found the courage to go to school even though it was not easy to do so.

With a wonderful story and E.B. White’s lovely illustrations, this is a picture book that every child should read.