BOOK REVIEW - A Mighty Long Way (Adapted for Young Readers): My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls Lanier and Lisa Frazier Page

Book Info:

A Mighty Long Way (Adapted for Young Readers): My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls Lanier and Lisa Frazier Page

Genre: Middle Grade Biography

Pub Date: January 17, 2023


Follow the story of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who in 1957 at the age of fourteen was one of nine black students who integrated the all-white Little Rock Central High School and became known as the Little Rock Nine.

At fourteen years old, Carlotta Walls was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. The journey to integration in a place deeply against it would not be not easy. Yet Carlotta, her family, and the other eight students and their families answered the call to be part of the desegregation order issued by the US Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.
As angry mobs protested, the students were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by escorts from the 101st Airborne Division, which had been called in by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety. The effort needed to get through that first year in high school was monumental, but Carlotta held strong. Ultimately, she became the first Black female ever to walk across the Central High stage and receive a diploma.
The Little Rock Nine experienced traumatic and life-changing events not only as a group but also as individuals, each with a distinct personality and a different story. This is Carlotta’s courageous story.

Content Warning: racism, violence, segregation in education


I received an advance review copy for free and am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you Carlotta Walls Lanier, Lisa Frazier Pageand TBR and Beyond Tours. I'm excited to be a part of this tour.

While I won’t call myself a US History buff, there are eras I am deeply curious about. The Civil Rights Movement is one of those. I think it’s because I’ve lived the results of the sacrifices, they made to create social change. I love that John Lewis encourages getting into “good trouble” and I’ve often wondered what it was like for their people themselves. At 14, Carlotta was the youngest of the 9 and had no choice in the role she played during this crucial point in time. When I saw this tour, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

This book did not disappoint. This is the story of how Carlotta Wall LaNier became one of the Little Rock Nine. What I like most about memoirs is the deep dive we take into a person’s history and how their history fits into a much larger movement. I find it fascinating to read and was immediately drawn in.

Told from Carlotta’s point of view, I can’t imagine how difficult a book like this is to write. I admire her honesty and the bravery she shows in telling her story. Told in brutal detail those sections are uncomfortable to read, yet absolutely necessary to understand the depth of trauma inflicted upon them. It was interesting to learn that only 3 of the 9 graduated from Central High School. It was shocking to learn why.

For many years’ Carlotta’s story went untold. I understand why she did not want to talk about her story, and I am glad she’s changed her mind. Given our culture today, this book is an important book for young readers. It is a history that needs to be told and a great conversation starter for young readers and is relevant to understanding how our culture has evolved.

The book is well written and provoked a variety of emotions as I read it. I am inspired by her story of courage, persistence, and ability to move forward and live a fulfilled life. She truly is an example of success despite the cruelties and fear that are the cornerstone of her adolescent experience.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning an insider’s perspective of attending Central High School as one of the Little Rock 9 and the youngest.

Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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About Carlotta Walls LaNier:

Carlotta Walls LaNier attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State
College–now the University of Northern Colorado, on whose board of trustees she sits. After working for the YWCA, she founded her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier speaks across the country, and she has received the Congressional Medal of Honor and two honorary doctorate degrees. She is the mother of two children, Whitney and Brooke, and lives in Englewood, Colorado, with her husband, Ira.

Carlotta Walls LaNier is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at or visit

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 About Lisa Frazier Page:

Lisa Frazier Page, an editor and award-winning reporter at The Washington Post, is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream. A graduate of New Orleans’s Dillard University, Page holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband. They have four children.


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