Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Mother the Cheerleader” as Want to Read:
My Mother the Cheerleader
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Mother the Cheerleader

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  784 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
Acts of courage come in all shapes and sizes.

In the tumultuous New Orleans of 1960, thirteen-year-old Louise Collins finds her world turned upside down when a stranger from the North arrives at her mother's boarding-house. Louise's mother spends her mornings at the local elementary school with a group of women known as the Cheerleaders, who harass the school's first black
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Harper Teen (first published April 24th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Mother the Cheerleader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about My Mother the Cheerleader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,415)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 19, 2007 Marilee rated it it was ok
I didn't like this one. It's an important story that I didn't think was told particularly well. It was published by the Harper teen label, but I don't think it would work well for many teens. The narrator is a twelve year old girl, but there are also references to blacklisted communists and Joe McCarthy that would fly right over the heads of most of the 12 to 18 crowd. And the boozy, promiscuous mom, the redneck rapist who lynches the northern agitator, the salt of the earth black maid whose ang ...more
Feb 18, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
This is a young adult novel set in the 9th ward of New Orleans during the time of Ruby Bridges. The story is told by a young girl, Louise Collins, who is trying to make sense of why she can't go to school anymore and why people, especially her mom, are part of the protest. It is a very insightful story of the people and the mindset of the times. As Lynne Rae Perkins says, "It's so easy to look back at another time and place and say to each other,'what on earth were those people thinking?' but wh ...more
Cami Beath
May 30, 2012 Cami Beath rated it really liked it
My Mother the Cheerleader
By Robert Sharenow

This book is fantastic. One of my all-time favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and I couldn’t help but find similarities in this book. I especially loves the themes of belonging, love, family, forgiveness, and honesty. Louise’s relationship with her mother is heartbreaking and beautiful. My favortie part of the book was when she took her daughter’s hand as they walked away from the school. So good. This book has wonderful messages
May 31, 2010 Jami rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Okay, never was their a more deceptive title for a book. I think whoever came up with it really should find a new line of work. This is not a story about a girl whose mother was a peppy little cheerleader in high school and tries to live out her dreams in her daughter's life, or something like that. Um, no. Instead, this historical fiction depicts the events of 1960 New Orleans when the 9th Ward elementary school was first integrated. Not exactly what you were envisioning when you read that titl ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book because its theme is you just might have to accept your reality even though it might be tough, and you might have to learn to deal with it. It's during the civil rights time period where Louise the protagonist develops her character to someone she learns how to be, being inspired by Morgan Miller that books in her moms hotel in New Orleans. To her he is attractive even though he is thirty years old and she's just twelve.
May 26, 2016 Hunter rated it did not like it
The Book “My Mother The Cheerleader” by Robert Sharenow is not my favorite book. The book seems to take forever to get to the main story. I read almost 50 pages of the book and it wasn’t anything that the back of the book said. The only things that has happened in this book are, the girl thinks she's ugly, her mom doesn’t care about her, she was pulled out of school because there was a black girl, and there is a legless man that lives in the same building as them. And I personally find this book ...more
Sally Kruger
If you are looking for a slightly different view of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's, check out MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER by Robert Sharenow.

Louise lives with her mother in a New Orleans' boarding house. Louise's mother owns the boarding house and usually rents the few rooms to truckers passing through on their runs. Her mother can usually be found "entertaining" these men or else spending the long, hot southern afternoons drinking pitchers of lime juleps in the backyard.

Recently, school
Alyssa Peters
Alyssa Peters
This book is set in the south in New Orleans. The story is told from the main character Louise’s point of view. Louise is a thirteen-year old girl who lives with her mother and their housekeeper. A man named Morgan comes to stay with them. Louise’s mother works at a beauty shop. When she is not home, Louise just thinks she is at work. This is not the case all the time. Louise’s mom is a “cheerleader.” The “cheerleaders” are woman who are protesting at the school that L
Jul 14, 2012 Mara rated it did not like it
This is not the book it could be. It is Young Adult but the mother, along with being an anti-integration cheerleader in the 9th ward nola, is a floozy alcoholic who owns a boarding house. One of the locals, an angry man, visits to manhandle and have sex with her regularly enough that the 13 yr old knows all about it. He appears at the 13 yr olds bedroom door undressed and threatens to join her in bed. He returns at a pivotal moment in the book with a drunk friend to beat and gang rape the mother ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults, Historical fiction
Recommended to Beth by: ALA YALSA Best Books 2008
Sharenow’s debut novel is tough to categorize in terms of intended audience. The book deals with some very mature themes (rape, domestic violence, racially motivated violence, child abandonment) but the protagonist, Louise Collins, is still quite young when the book takes place in 1960. Since the book is told in the present tense, it’s awkward on page 55 when Louise describes her mother has having “basked in the attention like she was strutting down the red carpet at the Academy Awards” as there ...more
Andrea Stoddard
Feb 07, 2014 Andrea Stoddard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-430
The reason I choose this book, was the perspective of the main character. I thought it would be interesting to see the segregation and treatment of Ruby bridges from a white girl who's mother supported segregation. I feel like we so often only get to see things from the activist side. I'm not saying that segregation was right or I support any view against civil rights but so many movies and literature take the characters of the time and make them black and white. (I recognize the poor pun and i ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
It gave me pause when I realized I was reading historical fiction about the Civil-Rights movement but I kept reading despite the fact that my mom and I both were cheerleaders. :)

Many things about this book weren't what I expected, including the author's gender! I picked the book up thinking that my daughter might like it (since she is no longer a cheerleader) and now I think I might like to lend it with my 80 year old mother. She'd remember the times and I was an only many interesti
Jul 25, 2015 Rebecca rated it liked it
Louise is a young girl, living in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans during the desegregation of schools. Her mother is a cheerleader. She "cheers" against Ruby Bridges and the states attempt to integrate the schools of the South.
Louise doesn't know any different, and she doesn't think what her mom is doing is wrong. Everyone is ageist integration, and you'll be hard pressed to find someone who is for it.
In their inn, they come across a man who begins to turn their world upside down, and makes them
Kat O
Feb 15, 2016 Kat O added it
Shelves: ya-for-work, 2016
Not my favorite, but it was engaging. I feel like it took an overly simplistic stance on (multiple) complex topics. I like the idea that it may introduce young readers to an important piece of history and get them thinking about race, however it worries me that same readers will again think about this topic from a white lens which simplifies the topic to a "our feelings matter too"or "this effects me too" or "this was hard for everyone" sob story. The lesson is lost for me in the convoluted way ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this one down -- a very well-written historical fiction book by the same author as the excellent The Berlin Boxing Club. It's set in New Orleans during 1960 and focuses on the intense conflicts over school integration. The young narrator's mother is a "Cheerleader" - one of a group of women who were fiercely opposed to integration and gathered each morning at the local elementary school to taunt and jeer 6-year-old Ruby Bridges as she entered the building. This is a fascinating -- ...more
Drew Nevitt
May 30, 2012 Drew Nevitt rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: teens and children of baby-boomers
Shelves: young-adult-lit
Snap, forgive if this review is short, but I had just written it and my internet cut out and it was deleted when I sent it.
The book is good. I gave it two stars because I wanted more story about the communist jewish guest the family is hosting. I liked his character because he stood up for what's right in the face of pain and scrutiny. He cared for others and believed in equality, which was his reason for believing in communism, instead of it being fueled by an unpatriotic seed.
The characters a
Feb 08, 2011 Jacob rated it it was ok
Shelves: yong-adoolt
Louise Collins is our young heroine. She lives in the mid-1900s with her immature mom in a boarding house that they run in New Orleans, and change is in the air: integration of blacks and whites in public schools has just been undertaken, and Louise's mother has joined the throng of women known as the Cheerleaders that gather each morning to yell at and threaten six-year-old Ruby Bridges, the only colored girl entering the school. This seems to be the natural balance of life until the Collins' b ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Desirae rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
Oh! How racism or fear of another race can tie the hands of those stuck in the crossfire! I was impressed by this book. I was amazed at the ignorance of the people who were opposing the integration of Negros into their schools. I was also amazed at the hatred and the contempt that spilled from their mouths as they taunted and tormented Ruby Bridges. Louise is portrayed as a bright enough girl but she has been so consumed by the actions of her mother and the other cheerleaders that it takes life ...more
Feb 14, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
I liked it for the skill with which it was written, and the importance of it's message, but didn't like it, at the same time. I know the author wasn't condoning wrong things- his message was the opposite, but I hated having this feeling of, "This is so wrong! This has to be resolved! Somebody do something!" while reading it. I also didn't like that parts of it had a "harriet the spy" kind of feel, but much less light-hearted. It kind of ruined Harriet the Spy for me. I guess it's good for adoles ...more
Kenzie Keppner
Apr 25, 2012 Kenzie Keppner rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-356
Wow... This book is truly eye opening to the filth that went on during the civil rights movement. When I first started this book, I thought it might be a little young more of a tween age. The girl is 13 in the book and it shows. She is mature for her age but she does do 13 year old things. I also thought she was a little stockerish. After thinking about it though, I came to the conclusion that there are deeper meanings to everything she does.

Violence- 3. There are some images of pure hatred towa
Louise lives with her mother in a boarding house of sorts in 1960s Louisiana. Her school is integrated by Ruby Bridges. Racism is so entrenched that families pull out of the school. A group of cheerleaders (mothers of students) and assorted other citizens boycott outside of the school each morning and jeer Ruby as she enters the building. Louise spends her time working in the boarding house, spying on others in assorted spots, and writing in her spy journal. Her life is further interrupted by Mo ...more
May 30, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
This book surprised me. I guess that is what I get for only reading the title and not the book jacket. Surprisingly, even with all of the interesting content surrounding Louise’s interest in a man two or three times her age and surrounding her mother’s sexual life, I still liked it. My Mother the Cheerleader presents an interesting perspective of the desegregation events in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 1960.

Lynne Rae Perkins said in her review of the book that “It’s easy to look back at ano
Amy Bethke
Jun 14, 2012 Amy Bethke rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-256
I had misgivings about this book because of its title, but I actually really enjoyed it. There was so much more too it then I originally thought there would be. Little Lousie is such an honest narrator and her innocence and view of life are what allows this books topic to be seen so clearly. I believe the "cheerleaders" were portrayed well in this book and it was easier to understand their perspective. By making Ruby Bridges more of a symbol then actual character I believe if gave this book hist ...more
David  Despain
Jul 11, 2012 David Despain rated it it was amazing
This novel is incredible and disturbing! An interesting exclamation I know, but truly this book is something else. It made me think about myself and historical events in a fresh. Truly this is a book about identity. About discovering who were are and overcoming what people think we should. Yet, even nailing it to a single theme like that does not do it justice. This books explores so many ideas and ties them so beautifully together. It is the story of a young white girl, whose "mother" is one of ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-356
This book surprised every idea that I had towards it in a good way. First of all, I was a bit thrown by the title, "My Mother the Cheerleader" because who wants to read some fluffy book about a teenage cheerleader who gets pregnant, right? Wrong, this book wasn't anything about what I thought it was going to be about. The story, as told mostly from ther perspective of young Louise Collins addresses controversial topics such as racism, hate crimes, identity issues and death that will keep you tur ...more
Amanda Peterson
Jun 04, 2012 Amanda Peterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-356
What a great book! It is about a girl, Louise, whose mother is a cheerleader-a group of women who hate integration and are taunting this little girl Ruby. This book takes you on a journey of what it would be like to live in the ninth-ward in New Orleans in the 1950's. This books is from the white person;s perspective, which is quite different, and it helps you understand why people dis-liked integration so much. I didn't give this book a five, because it was slow to start, and then got interesti ...more
May 31, 2012 Madeline rated it really liked it
I loved this book. At first I was hesitant because of the title, like others I believed it wasn't going to be a great novel. I was wrong. And I'm hardly ever wrong! Just kidding. But it was a great perspective on the 50's era and the problems involving blacks and segregation. I liked it a lot because it took a different spin on that era. I have always heard in history books the sympathy towards those being hated on. This showed the time for what it really was and how it effected both sides. It w ...more
Louisa George
May 31, 2012 Louisa George rated it really liked it
This book was very well written and I thought wonderfully crafted. I may be a bit biased because I am a Steinbeck fan, but I loved how the author based the book on a response to Steinbeck's observations in "Travels With Charlie" and showed respect to Steinbeck's claims as well as presenting a new point of view. I thought the characters and scenarios in the story were detailed and fascinating. I loved the inner conflict of the main protagonist Louise and thought that the perspectives of the chara ...more
May 19, 2012 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book is pretty well written. At some points I wanted to shake the characters and say "Hello! Can't you see that integration is a GOOD thing? What if you were in the other person's shoes?" This book was rather annoying. The mom treated her daughter like a hired hand and was very selfish and was a liar. This fact made me wonder if Louise is also a liar, being raised by one which led me to wonder if she's a reliable narrator or not. This thought popped into my head not even halfway through the ...more
Cory Hernandez
May 04, 2012 Cory Hernandez rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-eng-356
My Mother the Cheerleader is a wonderful historical fiction piece that addresses issues with family, self, racism, and sex. The main character in the book, Louise Collins, is a shy thirteen-year-old that shows incredible courage as she stands up to people much more powerful than herself. Her mother, a "Cheerleader", goes to her elementary school so she can heckle Ruby Bridges, a young black girl going to an integrated school. Louise tells her side of the story and what it's like to have a mother ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mara's Stories: Glimmers in the Darkness
  • Converting Kate
  • After the Death of Anna Gonzales
  • After the First Death
  • Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
  • Crossing Stones
  • Bone by Bone by Bone
  • Fire from the Rock
  • The Miner's Daughter
  • Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial
  • Bird
  • The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California
  • Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement
  • Little Audrey
  • Strays
  • Red Moon at Sharpsburg
  • Black Duck
  • Touching Snow
Robert Sharenow is an award-winning writer and television producer. His first novel, My Mother the Cheerleader, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.

He is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer and serves as senior vice preside
More about Robert Sharenow...

Share This Book