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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)) Hardcover – January 20, 2009

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6 Up—In Montgomery, AL, in March 1955, 15-year-old Colvin refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She was arrested, and although she received some help from local civil rights leaders, they decided that the sometimes-volatile teen was not suitable to be the public face of a mass protest. Later that year, Rosa Parks sparked the famous bus boycott. Colvin was left with a police record and soon faced the additional problems of an unwed pregnancy and expulsion from school. In spite of those troubles, she consented to be named as a plaintiff in the court case that eventually integrated Montgomery's buses. Thus Colvin played a central role in the city's civil rights drama, but her story has been largely lost to history. Hoose, who had been curious about the often-unidentified teen who first defied bus segregation, persuaded her to tell her story. His book puts Colvin back into the historical record, combining her reminiscences with narrative about her life and the tumultuous events of the boycott. He includes background about segregated Montgomery and places Colvin's story into the context of the larger Civil Rights Movement. The text is supplemented with black-and-white photos, reproductions of period newspapers and documents, and sidebars. While virtually all students know Rosa Parks's story, this well-written and engaging book will introduce them to a teen who also fought for racial justice and give them a new perspective on the era, making it an outstanding choice for most collections.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Nine months before Rosa Parks’ history-making protest on a city bus, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old Montgomery, Alabama, high-school student, was arrested and jailed for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Hoose draws from numerous personal interviews with Colvin in this exceptional title that is part historical account, part memoir. Hoose’s lucid explanations of background figures and events alternate with lengthy passages in Colvin’s own words, and the mix of voices creates a comprehensive view of the Montgomery bus boycott and the landmark court case, Browder v. Gayle, that grew from it. At the center of the headline-grabbing turmoil is teenager Colvin, who became pregnant during the boycott; and her frank, candid words about both her personal and political experiences will galvanize young readers. On each attractively designed spread, text boxes and archival images, including photos and reproduced documents, extend the gripping story. As in Hoose’s We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History (2001), this inspiring title shows the incredible difference that a single young person can make, even as it demonstrates the multitude of interconnected lives that create and sustain a political movement. Thorough chapter notes and suggestions for further reading close this title, which will find an avid readership beyond the classroom. Grades 7-12. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Series: Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1 edition (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374313229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374313227
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Mr. Hoose is an award-winning author of books, essays, stories, songs, and articles. Although he first wrote for adults, he turned his attention to children and young adults in part to keep up with his own daughters.

His children's book, "Hey, Little Ant" (Tricycle Press, 1998), inspired by his daughter Ruby and co-authored by his daughter Hannah, received a Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

His "It's Our World, Too! Stories of Young People Who Are Making a Difference" (Little, Brown, 1993) won a Christopher Award for "artistic excellence in books affirming the highest values of the human spirit."

His most recent book, "The Race to Save the Lord God Bird" (Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004) received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award and was named a Top Ten American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults among many additional honors. "We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History" (Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001) was a finalist for the National Book Award. In addition, it was dubbed a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an International Reading Association Teacher's Choice.

PHILLIP HOOSE was born in South Bend, Indiana, and grew up in the towns of South Bend, Angola, and Speedway, Indiana. He was educated at Indiana University and the Yale School of Forestry. He lives in Portland, Maine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By T. Johnson on January 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a native of Alabama (Selma) and a graduate of Alabama State University, I had heard about Claudette Colvin but the informational was skeletal at best. To actually read her account of events and know that an ordinary teenager did an extraordinary thing that sparked the movement led by Dr. King is something I will always cherish. Would love to have learned about her life after Montgomery (Claudette moved to New York where she lives today) and her views regarding discrimination in the north. Great book, great person, historical treasure.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on March 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Nine months before Rosa Parks famously and courageously took a stand against the stranglehold of the Jim Crow laws, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin also refused to give up her seat to a white person on a crowded Montgomery city bus. Claudette's bold move added fuel to the outrage that African Americans felt toward the oppression, ignorance, and hatred associated with the country's segregation laws. However, local leaders of the African American community perceived Claudette's youth, personality, and class to be unsuitable for holding her up as the key figure to initiate a mass boycott of the city's bus system. Rosa Parks assumed this role nine months later, thus precipitating more than a year of organized protest to end segregated busing in Montgomery.

During this process, Claudette engaged in a second courageous action that played a major role in the civil rights movement: she served as one of four plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit Browder v. Gayle that abolished segregated bus seating in Alabama. In Claudette Colvin, Phillip Hoose shines the spotlight on Claudette's motivation and anguish around two actions that hitherto remained fairly obscure in the historical record. Along the way, readers are given a jarring reminder of the heavy oppression, fear, and humiliation that African Americans experienced on a daily basis as a result of the country's institutionalized discrimination. This book provides a vivid demonstration of the power of organized resistance and the importance of social justice for all people.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Parson on March 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was very informing. I learned something I did not know. I always wondered why my father drew our feet and took the drawings to the store. I did not know that Blacks could not try on the shoes. It does make sense. The book put a lot of closure to some things I often wondered about.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Great Kid Books on May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Most American school children know the story of Rosa Parks, but few know that before Rosa Parks started her protest there was a brave young teen who challenged the segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama.

This is an amazing story - I read it in one sitting, it was so engrossing - of Claudette Colvin and her courage to speak up against the injustices of segregation. It's a great nonfiction for young adults - clear, descriptive background information, and many first-person accounts from interviews with Claudette and others. Fantastic. I think it would be great for kids in 5th grade and up.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In reviewing this type of book, I have to wonder if it's the kind of book that Young Adults want to read, or the kind of book that adults want young adults to read?

Claudette Colvin, a teen on her way home from school, was one of the first to stand up for her right NOT to stand up on the bus, even before the better-known Rosa Parks.

That said, it's a great book. The angle of a teen who was active within the Civil Rights movement is perhaps a more relevant take for teens.

It's highly readable and interesting, with pictures that add to the story.

I enjoyed Russsell Freedman's Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott book more, and it was actually where I first heard of Claudette Colvin's role in the bus boycotts.

Content: This book does not gloss over the very real, hard facts of prejudice and does contain some violence towards Claudette and others that a younger teen might find disturbing. The book also addresses rape and Claudette's teen pregnancy. For this reason, I would recommend it for teens, not tweens.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is an illuminating piece of nonfiction. Phillip Hoose tells the story without condescending, but he also doesn't assume the reader knows anything about his story. As an adult reader, I appreciated the deep background provided in sidebars.

From the first pages, which are largely pictures illuminating life in the South in the era of Jim Crow laws, I was wowed. The book reads almost like a documentary; Hoose uses photos, text boxes, background, newspaper text and interviews to paint a vivid picture not only of Colvin's life, but these years in Montgomery, Alabama.

Who is Claudette Colvin? She was a high school girl who refused to give up her seat for a white passenger. She did it nine months before Rosa Parks, and she was arrested. Part of what I love about this book is the honesty, which is at times brutal. Rosa Parks is an American hero, and so many of us growing up being wowed by her bravery. This book takes us back to the way it really happened, which isn't as simple. It's not a nice little story, but it's real. As a librarian firmly in the "teach the truth" camp, I loved this book. Some teachers and parents may react adversely to it. She cooperated with Phillip Hoose, who interviewed her numerous times for this book.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is an important book. It's a book I found illuminating even as an adult reader.
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