Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

2009 National Book Award Winner * 2010 Newbery Honor * 2010 YALSA Young Adult Non-Fiction Honor * 2010 Sibert Honor

Excellent. If I were boss this would be required reading for all Americans.

Claudette Colvin was 15 when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Nine months later Rosa Parks did the same thing. Claudette did it because she knew she was as valuable as any white person, and she deserved to be treated that way. The law was that you only had to give up your seat if there was somewhere else you could sit. Rosa Parks was the secretary of the NAACP and a respectable wife and mother who knew the time was right (because Claudette paved the way) and everything was in place for the bus boycott.

This is the story of Claudette and what she did but it is mostly a story of the civil rights movement starting with Plessey v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the landmark case of Browder v. Gayle. (what? you never heard of THAT one?), and even Malcolm X. Claudette was definately denied her place of honor in history.

With a plethora of authentic photographs, an excellent index (which I used several times) and writing that was straightforward, this is a crash course in something most of us only know bits and pieces of. Put together as an overall picture it brings the entire evolution of human rights into focus. The interview with Claudette that is included in the paperback edition reveals her feelings about the aftermath of her actions and how she felt about being excluded from the fame and glory.

My only critisism of the book is that there was no definition or basic explanation of the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK is referred to, but for an uninformed reader a little more information stating that they were white supremicists who wore white robes or sheets with pointy hoods to hide their identity,who rounded up blacks and tortured, killed or destroyed their property, is something that should have been included in this book.

Review by Terrie Bishop, Academy Park Elem. School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Interest Level: Grades 6-12

Phillip Hoose – Official Website

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Written by Phillip Hoose
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Square Fish
160 p.
Release Date: December 21, 2010 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780374313227 (hardcover); 9780312661052 (paperback)

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