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Back of the Bus Hardcover – January 7, 2010


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Back of the Bus + Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (January 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250910
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 10 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rosa Parks’ defiant December 1955 confrontation on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, is told from the fictionalized viewpoint of a child who is there. In free verse, he describes riding the bus with his mama (“We’re sittin’ right there where we’re supposed to— / way in back”) and rolling a marble down the aisle to the front, where smiling Mrs. Parks rolls it back to him. Then, as people pile on the bus, the driver tells Parks to move to the back. She refuses, and the driver calls the police. The boy “knows . . . she don’t belong up front like that, but then he realizes “maybe she does too.” The child’s innocent viewpoint personalizes the well-known historical event, while Cooper’s oil paintings, expertly rendered in his signature “subtractive” style, show the crowded bus as well as stunning portraits of Parks, the driver, the boy, and his mother as they decide that they are “not gonna hide no more.” Grades 1-3. --Hazel Rochman

Review

"The language is rhythmic...the pictures glow with burnished grace." --Kirkus

"A noteworthy reflection on the actions of a single individual in turning the tide of segregation." --School Library Journal

More About the Author

Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times Bestselling Author of many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Carnivores, Chicks and Salsa, Joey Fly, Private Eye, and the Caldecott Honor winning Creepy Carrots! He frequently visits schools and his highly participatory presentations are a blast for kids and teachers alike. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife, two kids, four cats, and between three and ten fish, depending on the day.

Customer Reviews

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This back of the bus view of Rosa Parks was very stunning, poetic and impressive.
D. Fowler
As the story opens, the boy tells us, "We're sittin' right where we're supposed to--way in back."
M. Tanenbaum
Telling the story, and using a child narrator makes this book stand out as absolutely excellent.
thereader18

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A young boy and his Mama were on a yellow and white bus with green trim around the windows. He bright eyes shown as he looked out the bus window and thought to himself that they were "sittin' right where we're supposed to--way in back." It was a warm December day in Montgomery, Alabama and the window was down. He began to play with his big brown tiger eye marble and as the bus lurched and slowed the marble raced down the aisle to the front where Mrs. Parks was sitting. She worked at the tailor shop and she just smiled and sent the marble back to him. His Mama scolded him with those "worked-all-day eyes" and he put the marble up . . . for just a bit.

People began to crowd the bus and he could hear Mr. Blake, the bus driver, say, "Y'all gotta move, now." He had a "growly ol' voice," enough to make anyone move, except someone wasn't planning on it. The yellow and white bus with the green trim around the windows stood still and the boy asked his Mama why they weren't moving. "Hush, child." He took out his marble again, but got another scolding from his Mama's "crinkled-up somethin's-wrong voice." There was something else wrong on the bus because there were people with angry scowling faces. Mr. Blake was going to call for the police. He then saw who was making those people angry. What was going to happen to Mrs. Parks? Were they going to be in trouble too?

This back of the bus view of Rosa Parks was very stunning, poetic and impressive. I loved the lyrical lilt of the tale and the unusual view of an historical event from the eyes of a child made this into a poignant one. The art work had a nostalgic, postcard grainy look that seemed to capture that moment in time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What is more iconic to the Civil Rights movement than the story of Rosa Parks? Author Aaron Reynolds, better known for his humorous picture books and graphic novels, takes a more serious turn as he retells the story of Rosa Park's famous bus ride from the perspective of a young boy who happens to be riding the same bus that December day in Montgomery along with his mama. As the story opens, the boy tells us, "We're sittin' right where we're supposed to--way in back." He's playing with his tiger's eye marble, letting it roll down the bus straight to Mrs. Parks from the tailor shop, who good-naturedly sends it right on back to him.

But when people pile on the bus, "all crammed in like lima beans," the driver, Mr. Blake, tells the African-American riders to move to the back of the bus. The boy can't understand why the bus is sitting there stopped, but Mama's got her "crinkled-up somethin's wrong voice," and he wants to know if they've done something wrong. He finally realizes it's Mrs. Parks who's still sitting up front in the bus, like she belongs there. Soon the policeman comes, taking Mrs. Parks away in handcuffs, as Mama watches with "the long tired eyes." While his mama says tomorrow "all this'll be forgot," the young boy somehow knows it won't be, and feels "a little strong, Like Mama's chin."

This is a sensitively done take on a familiar incident from history, told from a child's point of view, in a way that makes the subject matter accessible for children to learn from and discuss. It would be an excellent title for people of all races to check out of the library or purchase to share with their children in order to commemorate not only Mrs. Parks, but the other brave men and women who fought beside her in the Civil Rights movement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deb Bible on January 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautifully-illustrated book is a wonderfully sensitive retelling of the Rosa Parks story from a different perspective. It would be a lovely addition to any child's bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover
Back of the Bus
Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Philomel
2010
$16.99
Ages/Grades K-5

This review and more can be found on Get Kids to Read. [...]

Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds tells the story of what happened to Rosa, on that December afternoon. There are many stories that tell this story for children but what makes this book unique and special is that it is told from a child's perspective. In a world that was changed by heroes like Rosa Parks, children today don't fully understand why she had to stand up by sitting down. Telling the story, and using a child narrator makes this book stand out as absolutely excellent.

This book also works well as a picture book that can be used by older grades to begin a conversation on the topic and begin to research who Rosa was. The child narrator is also able to pick up on something that even his mother did not, that this was only the beginning of something greater.

This is a must own for Elementary and Children's library collections.
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By clap on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like the story and think its a great way to get young kids talking about race and the issues of racism and segregation that have plagued our country since its very beginning.
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