Welcome to The First Step website

In 1847, four-year-old Sarah Roberts enrolled in the Otis School, just a few blocks from her home.  Then one day, a policeman took Sarah out of her school and said she could never come back.  Ever.

The Otis School was only for white children.

Sarah must have been frightened, but her parents were angry.  And, ready to fight for change.

The First Step is the story of the Roberts family and the first time people tried to make segregated schools against the law.

Use the sidebar to learn more about Sarah and her world.  The first tab lets you find out more about the book itself. You can also take a trip back in time to the 1840s when Sarah’s parents and lawyers put these historic events in motion.  How did I uncover some information I used in The First Step?  You can learn about that, too.

Sarah’s story may have taken place over 150 years ago, but integrating schools has continued to be a big issue all throughout American history.  The sidebar links to a page with ways to use The First Step to discuss issues of segregation and prejudice.  Another page suggests other picture books parents and educators can use for the same types of discussions.