Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose

The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 protested racial segregation. You probably remember Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on the bus, BUT did know it was a 15-year-old girl who started it all? A year before Rosa took her now famous seat, Claudette Colvin, acting entirely on her own and fed up with racial segregation, refused to move for a white passenger. Claudette was drug off the bus while shouting "It's my constitutional right!" She was jailed that night and eventually testified "as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

The structure of this book is amazing and to take full advantage of it I highly recommend reading the hardback. The photographs are in black and white and several take up full pages. They give readers a glimpse into how racial segregation affected lives in the South. There are several photos of Claudette and her family, too. Separated from the main text are black boxes offering extra information that the reader can choose to skip over, continuing with the story, or stop to read to learn more about issues and people introduced in the text.

Claudette's bravery, her struggle for justice, once on the bus and again in court, as a teenager no less, is inspiring as much as it is informational. Claudette's story is an excellent choice for middle schoolers, or anyone, looking to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and how one person really can make a difference.

Publisher: Farrar, Strause and Giroux, 2009     Pages: 144
Rating: 4.5 Stars     Source: Purchased Copy

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