Chapters 1-12

Set in Arkansas in 1958, this novel tells the story of two courageous twelve-year-old girls who fight against segregation in their community.
Copy this list to... Buy the Book

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, unite!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. waft
    blow gently
    The blue sky was reflected in the water below, the white board felt scratchy under my feet, and the smell of hot dogs wafted up from the snack stand.
  2. prime
    of an integer that cannot be factored into other integers
    I mean, I wasn’t sick or anything, but I was standing perfectly still, frozen as a Popsicle, counting prime numbers in my head.
  3. clutch
    hold firmly, usually with one's hands
    I shook my head and clutched the board...29, 31, 37, 41.
  4. embarrass
    cause to feel self-conscious
    It was embarrassing, but I didn’t think I could do it on my own. Once I felt her palm on mine, it only took a minute for us to make our way down together.
  5. hammock
    a hanging bed of canvas or rope netting
    My brother, David, is a glass of sweet iced tea on a hot summer day, when you’ve put your feet up in a hammock and haven’t got a care in the world.
  6. satellite
    man-made equipment that orbits around the earth or the moon
    Ever since the Soviets sent up that Sputnik satellite last year, I’ve been studying really hard.
  7. console
    housing for electronic instruments, as radio or television
    That evening we were watching our brand-new 1958 RCA 21-inch mahogany television console.
  8. communist
    a socialist in favor of collectivism in a classless society
    Governor Faubus was on television, giving some sort of talk about Southern pride and communists and, okay, I tried to pay attention, but it didn’t really make much sense.
  9. integration
    incorporating a racial or religious group into a community
    The integration had gone so badly that President Eisenhower sent in soldiers to help keep the peace.
  10. lull
    make calm or still
    Usually the lions’ roaring lulled me to sleep, but they were silent tonight, as quiet as the halls of Central would be tomorrow.
  11. eavesdrop
    listen without the speaker's knowledge
    So much for eavesdropping.
  12. blankly
    without expression
    Sally looked at her blankly.
  13. titter
    laugh nervously
    Nora tittered.
  14. leprosy
    communicable disease characterized by wasting of body parts
    There are worse things in life than sitting alone. Like leprosy.
  15. hygiene
    a condition promoting sanitary practices
    Oral hygiene is very important.
  16. whit
    a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
    But sometimes, at night, when I hear the lions roaring and they’re really going at it, just growling and yowling, and roaring like a jet engine, sometimes I wish I could be like them, that I could just yell out whatever I was thinking or feeling and not care one whit who heard.
  17. flair
    distinctive and stylish elegance
    But JT had flair. He had confidence. That and really long eyelashes.
  18. symmetrical
    having similarity in corresponding parts
    There was something creepy about Red’s perfectly symmetrical face.
  19. quarry
    a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
    Once, when we were all little kids playing in an old quarry near our house, Red had called me over to see a butterfly he’d caught.
  20. swoon
    pass out from weakness or physical or emotional distress
    Before I could swoon over his words of endearment, JT picked up my homework and put it into his book.
  21. endearment
    the act of showing affection
    Before I could swoon over his words of endearment, JT picked up my homework and put it into his book.
  22. frantically
    in an uncontrolled manner
    I spent all of homeroom frantically doing my math homework.
  23. diagonal
    a set of entries in a square matrix in a slanted direction
    The simplest was a three-by-three square, with the numbers 1 to 9 arranged so that every row, column and diagonal added up to 15.
  24. founding
    the act of starting something for the first time
    “Well, I have this book about the founding of Little Rock and the Indians who used to live here and...”
  25. smug
    marked by excessive complacency or self-satisfaction
    And from the smug look on her face, I was pretty sure she understood how much I liked math, after all.
  26. dainty
    affectedly refined
    She drank half the glass in one long gulp, then wiped her mouth daintily and said, “Did you have a nice day at school?”
  27. blemish
    a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something
    If I wanted to work on a top-secret space project someday, I couldn’t have any blemishes on my record.
  28. brag
    show off
    We could probably wait until the weekend before and still get an A.
    “Marlee is going to talk,” bragged Liz.
  29. glum
    showing a brooding ill humor
    Great, I thought glumly.
  30. coax
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    “Go on,” coaxed Liz.
  31. holler
    call out loudly
    It was fun after that. Singing to the seals and hollering to the herons.
  32. savanna
    a flat grassland in tropical or subtropical regions
    “And I know they get their food and everything, and if they get sick, a vet gives them medicine. But don’t you think they’d rather be chasing a zebra across the savanna?”
  33. burly
    muscular and heavily built
    A big burly guy with slicked-back hair moved over to make room for me.
  34. intently
    with strained or eager attention
    Sally's mother gazed at Liz intently for a moment.
  35. brisk
    quick and energetic
    He was grating carrots so briskly, I was afraid we would find fingers in the salad.
  36. frustrated
    disappointingly unsuccessful
    She was getting frustrated.
  37. talisman
    a trinket thought to be a magical protection against evil
    “What are you doing?” I asked.
    “Looking for a talisman.”
    “A what?”
    “A talisman. A good luck charm.”
  38. amulet
    a trinket thought to be a magical protection against evil
    Like she was going to find a gold amulet or a magic ring lying around on the ground amidst popcorn and peanut shells.
  39. murky
    cloudy, dirty, and difficult to see through
    They slid silently into the murky green water and paddled away.
  40. algebra
    the mathematics of generalized arithmetical operations
    Judy chattered on about the classes they had started broadcasting on TV for all the high school students. Eleventh grade was on channel eleven. Seven a.m., history; seven thirty a.m., algebra; eight a.m., English; and so on.
  41. pout
    make a sad face and thrust out one's lower lip
    Judy laughed, but it was good-natured.
    I pouted. “What?”
    “Heard he’s not the brightest.”
  42. barbed
    having or covered with protective points, spines, or thorns
    Pretty soon, we came to an open lot with a barbed wire fence.
  43. mare
    an adult female horse
    The mare was very tame and stood still as I tried to arrange myself I’d ridden a horse once or twice before at Girl Scout camp, but of course I’d had a saddle then.
  44. tame
    very docile
    The mare was very tame and stood still as I tried to arrange myself I’d ridden a horse once or twice before at Girl Scout camp, but of course I’d had a saddle then.
  45. ooze
    pass gradually or leak or as if through small openings
    One final drop of blood oozed out and sat on my fingertip like a jewel, a secret given to me by my sister.
Created on December 7, 2017 (updated December 11, 2017)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.