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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Paperback – December 21, 2010
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'd never heard of Claudette Colvin, she was a 14 year old girl, who refused to give up HER seat before Rosa Parks.
Loads of black and white photos depicting the south of the 1950's and current photo's of Claudette Colvin and the author in the Afterword.
This should be in EVERY home with children 8 years and older and definitely in elementary classrooms.
This book has won The National book award, An ALA best Book for young adults, and a Newbery Honor Book winner. AND an Amazon.com Top 10 Book: Teens Plus many more . I recommend this to anyone who likes to read nonfiction, I recommend to anyone who likes courageous persons and willing to learn and understand so that past mistakes are not repeated . I recommend this to anyone outside the United States who want to learn something of the mid 20th century U.S. and the past connects with current events . A great read, I'd give it a 10 if I could, I bought it used and would have bought it new at twice the cost, that's just how highly I regard it. If this review has helped, click YES below. Thank you.
Phillip Hoose's book, "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" opens with a brief history of Jim Crow laws and segregation in the South, specifically in Montgomery, Alabama. Most of the information should be familiar to most readers, but there are details that really bring home the reality of Jim Crow - such as the man named Brooks who was shot for refusing to get off the bus unless he got his dime back.
The next chapter is about Claudette's early life, which was nearly as tragic as most of her later life. Her father left his family and eventually her mother shipped her off to live with her great aunt and great uncle. Fortunately, Claudette was loved there and thrived, becoming a good student. However, in another tragic strike, her younger sister died of polio when Claudette was only thirteen years old.
Still reeling from her loss, Claudette becomes passionately interested in civil rights following the arrest and sentencing of one of her classmates, Jeremiah Reeves. The next several chapters chronicle the lead up to Claudette's refusal to relinquish her seat, the violent incident itself, and the fall-out therefrom. Unlike Rosa Parks, Claudette was hauled violently off the bus, thrown into a squad car, handcuffed and locked in a jail cell. She knew enough not to fight back or even resist, but nonetheless her white accusers painted her as a wild unruly teenager which, despite the lack of truth, made her inappropriate as the "face" of the bus protest movement.
Also unlike Rosa Parks, Claudette was not hailed as a hero for her actions. Many, perhaps most, blacks resented her for drawing attention to the situation and making their lives more difficult. Needless to say, she does not receive justice and her actions seem to have no impact on improving civil rights. Her story is an excellent illustration of the difficulty of standing up for what is right and bearing the consequences for no apparent gain when even your own friends and allies turn against you.
In yet another tragic event, Claudette was taken advantage of during this low period by an older man who left her when she became pregnant. As if she wasn't already "unruly" enough, there was no way an unwed pregnant girl could be recognized by the civil rights leadership. But none of that stopped plucky Claudette who agreed immediately to join the lawsuit Browder v. Gayle which was ultimately - more than the year long boycott - what finally ended segregation on buses and other public services.
This book is chock-full of important information which most students (not to mention most adults) are probably unaware. Claudette Colvin is a tragic hero who paid as high or higher price in the fight for civil rights as any, yet who - so far - has received little of the recognition she deserves. Eclipsed by Brown v. the Board of Education, Browder v. Gayle was a landmark Supreme Court case which paved the way for the end of segregation (those dratted "activist judges"!). And finally, while I think that most people are aware that there was opposition and even violence from whites, I don't think that most people - even many younger blacks - fully appreciate how entrenched Southern whites were against losing the "Southern way of life", how hard they were willing to fight and what they were willing to do to prevent desegregation. Even I was breath-taken again at the level of violence and the danger for anyone who spoke out against segregation. This is an important lesson to remember in an era in which many would like to convince us that the election of the first black president means that racism is dead.
Many thanks to Phillip Hoose for researching the life and times of Claudette Colvin so thoroughly and for writing this book in such a clear and accessible manner, especially for letting us hear Claudette in her own words. With plenty of pictures to illustrate the text, this book can be understood by readers as young as seven or eight, and should be read by readers of all ages. The book has won four major awards, including the Newbery. It deserves them all and many more.
To give away some of the book:
Most everyone has heard of Rosa Parks who was told to relinquish her seat to a white passenger on a public bus, of which she refused. However, before Rosa Parks there were two similar incidents in that same Alabama city. The accounts and facts are very informative and revealing of the time period (1950s), the mindsets of many people of both sides of the color line, and excellent depictions that do not sensationalize anything (that is very important to me as a seeker of truths!).
The book is excellent for younger readers (maybe as early as 8 or 9, depending on maturity and a bit of help from grown ups to understand the material), and certainly for older readers.
I really enjoyed reading Claudette Colvin, I actually feel like I learned something! There was someone BEFORE Rosa Parks! This is the story that needed to be told, so many people know about Rosa Parks, but not every one knows about Claudette, and when I become a school librarian someday in the near future, I want to include this book on my shelves because students need to know not just about Rosa Parks but how there were many more like her before her and after her who stood up for their rights.
I think it's also interesting to note why Claudette's story isn't always told and the book really addresses that issue and some historical books that include Claudette don't explain why her story was often disregarded compared to Rosa Park's story.
This novel helps you learn about Claudette's story, but it also gives some history on Rosa Parks as well and that the two even knew each other!
The reason why this is a great reason to suggest to your son or daughter or to a student is because this book has a lot of facts and a lot of the story comes from the recounting of Claudette herself from interviews. To me that made this book credible and authentic and therefore, worth my time.and yours.