For Immediate Release
October 19, 2018
Contact Information

For author bookings, contact Lamp Press LLC at or (612) 888-7934. For more information, visit Follow

Civil Rights Icon Elizabeth Eckford Writes First Book, Wins Award for Critical Anti-Bullying Message

The Worst First Day: Bullied While Desegregating Central High Encourages and Educates Readers

It took Civil Rights Icon Elizabeth Eckford 60 years to tell her story, but it was worth the wait. Her first autobiography, The Worst First Day: Bullied While Desegregating Central High, received the 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Multicultural Non-Fiction Gold Book Award.  The Moonbeam supports literacy and life-long reading by recognizing exemplary children’s books. Of 1,150 entries, 157 medals were awarded.

Eckford, a member of the courageous Little Rock Nine, is thrilled.

The Worst First Day, available on Amazon (, shares Eckford’s autobiography and the history of school segregation.  As a teen, she was the first member of the Little Rock Nine to arrive at Central High September 4, 1957. She was blocked from entering the school by armed Arkansas National Guard soldiers and engulfed by a mob of enraged segregationists. 

Award winning photographer Will Counts captured a photograph of Eckford that made international headlines and became one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. It showed the world the face of racism.

The Moonbeam Book Awards described The Worst First Day as “…a tale of courage and perseverance,” noting “Eckford endured all manner of abuse but remained determined through it all.” Eckford wrote, “We swallowed our pride to ensure future students would have the chance we previously lacked.”

Eckford knows the pain of bullying from her days as a Central High student in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Worst First Day provides an in-depth analysis of the Central High Crisis and encouragement for those being bullied. Eckford’s motivation for telling her story was to encourage students being bullied, an issue estimated to impact more than 20% of students according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Eckford encourages bystanders to become allies, noting, “When you stand up for others, you can help them live another day.”

The Worst First Day was co-authored by Eurydice Stanley and her 15-year-old daughter Grace, of Pensacola, Florida. Grace is the same age Elizabeth was when she first attempted to desegregate Central High. “Our family has benefitted from Elizabeth’s mentorship and support for years,” said Dr. Stanley. “She is a national treasure whose insights deserve an international platform.”

The unique approach of the multi-generational Worst First Day writing team resulted in an award-winning collaboration. The book, written in verse, provides readers a compelling history lesson. It includes the graphic artwork of Rachel Gibson, era documentation, artwork from Central High students and staff, intriguing essays and captivating images from photographers Will Counts and Kirk Jordan.

Eckford and the Stanley’s share their unique message to schools, colleges and organizations nationwide. Eckford is thrilled by the book’s success, stating, “I am pleased in a way that I never thought imaginable.  I hope this recognition brings the important message of The Worst First Day to the world.”  

 #   #   #