Saturday, April 5, 2008


Author: Giovanni, Nikki
Illustrator: Collier, Bryan
Publisher and Date: Henry Holt & Company, Inc., 2006
Genre: Biography, Picture Book
Age-Range: 4th-6th
Awards: Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Honor

Summary: This is a story about Rosa Parks, the African-American woman who refused to give up her seat in the neutral section on a public bus. Even after the police were called she still refused to get up from her seat, tired of always putting the white people first. The 25 women of Alabama State College’s Women’s Political Council met that night to make signs in support of Mrs. Parks. The Women’s Political Council gathered together with the NAACP and all the churches, to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. speak on their behalf. Dr. King encouraged them to walk instead of taking the buses until ‘justice runs down like water’. Almost a year after Mrs. Park’s arrest, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal.

Response: I really enjoyed this book about Rosa Parks. I have heard her story many times, but I liked how it included other information about her life outside of the bus boycott. It talks about her occupation and family life some, which allows people to relate to her more in that aspect.
The illustrations in the book were beautifully done. In the illustrator’s note, Collier talks about the reason why he chose certain colors for the book. The yellow and dark hues were used because of the heat Collier had experienced when he went to Montgomery to research the story. He paints Mrs. Parks as if she is ‘a radiant chandelier’, emphasizing the fact that she was the light that lit the path to equal rights, so to speak. I also like the use of collage in the illustrations in addition to the watercolor; it reminds me of Jenkins’ paper collages.

Teaching Ideas: This fits in well in studies of our nation’s history and changes that have occurred over the years. Diversity in our country and civil rights are also topics related to the book that could be used as class discussion. The topic of bullying could also be tied in to the story, showing students how they can stand up for themselves without being violent in their actions.

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