Locked Up for Freedom

Civil Rights Protesters at the Leesburg Stockade

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 - Grade 8   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

In 1963, more than 30 African-American girls ages 11 to 16 were arrested for taking part in Civil Rights protests in Americus, Georgia. They were taken without their families’ knowledge to a Civil War–era stockade in Leesburg, Georgia, where they were confined in unsanitary conditions and exposed to brutal treatment. Over the following weeks, their commitment to the fight for equality was put to the test. Combining historical research and personal interviews with several of the girls, Heather E. Schwartz brings this true story of the Civil Rights Movement to life.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 5 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Nonfiction
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, Social Studies
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2017-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 7.6
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF025210, JNF053140
Dewey 323.1196/07307580904
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 8 x 10
Lexile 970
ATOS Reading Level 6.6
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 190439
Accelerated Reader® Points 2.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Reviewed, Source notes, and Timeline


  • Cybils Finalist, Nominated, 2018
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, Winner, 2018
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2018
  • Jefferson Cup Honor Book, Winner, 2018
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books, Winner, 2017
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids, Winner, 2017
  • VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, Winner, 2017


Shelf Awareness

“[E]ngag[es] readers in a physically uncomfortable yet vitally important topic. . . . The miscarriage of justice against more than 30 young girls from Americus, Ga., during the civil rights movement comes to light in words and pictures that will infuriate and inspire young readers.”—Shelf Awareness


“It will be impossible for readers not to feel a sense of relatability with the girls in the photographs, who were so much younger than the more famous heroes of the civil rights era, but no less resolute or brave.”—Booklist

School Library Journal

“A story that needs to be told. The solid research and concise narrative make it a fine addition to most student-centered ­collections.”—School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“A fresh, insightful look at the crucial role young people played in the civil rights movement . . .”—Kirkus Reviews

Author: Heather E. Schwartz

When Heather E. Schwartz was thirteen years old, she tracked down several lead orphans from the 1983 movie "Annie" and interviewed them by phone. As an adult, she realized she could apply those same early instincts to a career as a journalist and writer. She is the author of more than 35 nonfiction children's titles, published by Lerner Publishing Group, Capstone Press, Teacher Created Materials, Lucent Books, and Tangerine Press, a Scholastic imprint. She has written articles for National Geographic Kids and Discovery Girls. In addition, she developed the content for KidsGetArthritisToo.org, the juvenile section of the Arthritis Foundation's website. Other credits in the children's market include articles for Teen, Girls' Life, and All About You magazines. Additionally, Ms. Schwartz is a former editor at Bridal Guide magazine, co-author of Bridal Guide Magazine's How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Gown (Warner, 2004), and contributor to The Takeout Cookbook (Knock Knock 2007).