Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009. 144 pages. Tr. $19.95 ISBN 978-0-374-31322-7.
Annotation: Before Rosa Parks became famous for refusing to give up her bus seat, Claudette Colvin, a black teenager, initiated the protest that led to the Montgomery Bus boycott and the desegregation of public areas by first refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. This is the story that history missed.
Summary: Fed up with the injustice that accompanied Jim Crow segregation, Claudette Colvin was an early civil rights pioneer. Only fifteen years old, she was the first person to refuse to give up a bus seat to a white person. Rosa Parks did a similar thing about nine months later and was hailed as a hero. Unfortunately, for Claudette, after she was arrested, she was spurned classmates and ignored by community leaders. Later Claudette championed for equal rights when she was a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, a landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery. But Claudette was again largely disregarded for her heroic efforts, probably as a result of her unplanned pregnancy and expulsion from school.
Evaluation: The author has done excellent research for this book taking an in-depth look at Claudette’s life; he conducted many personal interviews with Claudette. Phillip Hoose wove together a gripping story with Claudette rightfully playing a central role in Montgomery’s civil rights drama. This informative book is replete with black-and-white period photographs and reprints of newspaper articles and other documents making it a visual historic treat. Recommended for ages 9 to 16.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Non-Fiction, Racism, African Americans, Biography, History, Civil Rights Movement
Awards: 2009 National Book Award Winner - Young People’s Literature, 2010 Newbery Medal Honor Book, 2010 Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book Award, 2010 ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2010 ALA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Honor Book