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The Lizzie Borden Trial

Be the Judge/Be the Jury
Illustrator:John PalencarPublisher:StarWalk Kids Media
Target Age:12 - 14Grade:7 - 9
Pages:176Subject:Social Studies
Social Studies/Social Issues
Social Studies/Law & Crime
Social Studies/Family
Narration:noLexile Level:790L
Series:Be the Judge Be the JuryGuided Reading Level:Z
Reading:RI.7.1 RI.8.5 RI.8.7Writing:W.7.2W.8.7W.8.9
Speaking and Listening:SL.8.1Language:L.7.4
AR Level:N/AAR Quiz:N/A


In case that gripped the nation in 1892, Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. At the trial, Lizzie was acquitted, but no one else was ever charged with the crime. The case is considered a landmark in American legal history; the prosecutor later became a Justice of the Supreme Court and one of the defense attorneys was a former governor of Massachusetts, and it showcased the limited options available to unmarried upper middle class women at the time. Doreen Rappaport has written a reconstruction of the Lizzie Borden trial, using testimony from  transcripts of the trial, and evidence presented to the jury. The reader is asked to decide for him or herself --- would you convict Lizzie Borden of the crime?

Editorial Reviews

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: Be the Judge/Be the Jury: The Lizzie Borden Trial

Grade 5-9: Rappaport re-creates the setting, the crime, and the subsequent trial of Lizzie Borden for the ax murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1892. Through an open format in which readers are the jury, she leads them through the steps of a trial in clear language and using solid definitions.

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