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de Nikki Giovanni
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The inspirational story of Rosa Parks.
She had not sought this moment but she was ready for it. When the policeman bent down to ask “Auntie, are you going to move?” all the strength of all the people through all those many years joined in her. She said, “No.”
A picture book account of Rosa Park's historic choice.
- Author: Nikki Giovanni
- Illustrator: Bryan Collier
- Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
- Date: 2005 (year published)
- Pages: 32
- Type of Book/Genre: Picture Book, Non-Fiction
- Short Summary of the Plot: At the beginning of the book, it talks about Rosa’s family, and how she was a really good seamstress. She was told by her boss that she could leave early that day, so she went to the bus. While she was on the bus, she sat in the “neutral” section of the bus that day (where white people or black people could sit). The bus driver yelled at her to give up her seat and move to the crowded back section of the bus. Some people were yelling she should be arrested, some people got off the bus, and some people said she had a right to sit where she was. The police were then called, and while she waited in her spot for them to arrive she thought about the brave folks that stood up for civil rights, and was tired of the separate but equal laws. Rosa Parks, got arrested, and women of color gathered together to create fliers that urged people not to ride the buses in support of Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr. took the lead and urged people to not take the buses. About a year later, the law was passed that segregation on buses was illegal.
- Tags/Subject headings that describe the content: Rosa Parks, civil rights leaders, true events with timelines.
- My Response: I really enjoyed this book and liked how they included specific facts with dates and references to people.
This book takes the story of Rosa Parks and turns it into an amazing book for young children. This is a book that teaches them about who she was and why she was so important to the civil rights movement. Its a book that students can easily understand and gain great knowledge from.
The key strengths of this book are a) it's absolutely important message and b) it's stunning illustrations, which seem to be a combination of collage and painting. Rosa more than lived up to its promise in both categories.
But...I'm not entirely sure who the audience is for this book. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm white. To me, most of the story seems to geared toward kids about 5 to 7--they need to be able to sit for longer reading sections and they need to understand some bigger words and concepts. But then Giovanni brings up Emmett Till, lynching (not defined in the text), and his open-casket funeral. So we've gone from the kind of harassments that kids might be familiar with from bullies (the implied "get out of my seat" and "you don't belong here", as well as Giovanni's ominously vague "potential for ugliness") to some incredibly dark territory, including words and events that adults will have to explain. (I believe there is now or soon will be a picture book about Emmett Till's mother.) This is a book-long story about Rosa Parks, but I feel like that one paragraph about Emmett Till would probably spark the most and most difficult conversations.
From that point on, as the story gets larger than just Rosa, it also has a couple sidetracks: in addition to the paragraph about Emmett Till, there is, for some reason, an entire paragraph about using a stencil-making machine. Giovanni also drops in the NAACP, "the nonviolent movement", "segregation" (not previously defined) and the doozy of a phrase, "makes no provision for second-class citizenship." All of these are important things, of course, but they mean that you need a kid who's a) old enough to either sit all the way through a longer reading or read this book for themselves and b) old enough to ask for more information instead of just getting bored when they don't understand something. That age probably varies by child.
I appreciate Giovanni's efforts to add in a few feminist comments, such as Rosa Park's thought that men take up more space than women. There's a parallel there with white people demanding that black people give them more space. Then Mrs.-Robinson-who's-actually-Dr.-Robinson has to make dinner, clean, put children to bed, and kiss her husband goodbye before she can go organize the bus boycott. To me, the critique is obvious--why the heck is an important woman doing all these chores without her husband helping when there's important work to be done? However, neither of these situations have any indication that this is not the way things have to be. In Rosa's mind, "Men take up more space." Period. Fact. To Dr. Mrs. Robinson, there's no annoyance or alternative. For both of them, it seems like this is just the way it is. If they can protest their treatment at the hands of white people, why do they let men walk all over them?
There also isn't really a conclusion to Rosa Parks' own story. We know she was arrested. How long was she in jail? How did she get out? Did she go to court? Did she ever get on a bus again? For a book called Rosa, this one doesn't stay focused on Rosa more than about halfway.
Gosh I feel like I'm being a grump about this award-winning, absolutely beautifully illustrated book. It addresses a lot of the annoying myths that white people like to say: that Rosa didn't stand up because she was tired from working (Giovanni spins this word out brilliantly) and that her protest ended segregation and that black people and white people all lived happily ever after. I'd love to talk to a teacher who uses this book in their curriculum to hear how they use it, what books they use as supplements, and what their conversations are like. Of course, these days this book is probably being banned from classrooms, because [sarcasm] how dare we teach children that progress is possible if doing so makes white people look bad? [end sarcasm]
Finally, about that amazing art: it's a little thing, but I love that Collier gets a little space for an illustrator's note. Ever since I started reading the historical notes in the back of American Girl books, I've loved reading everything that authors and illustrators can tell us about their work.
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"A cooling breeze on a sweltering day; a sun-dried quilt in fall; the enchantment of snowflakes extending the horizon; the promise of renewal at spring" (Giovanni, 2005, p. 4). This is how the author, the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, describes the heroine of her book. Young readers will surely be inspired by the story of a remarkable woman whose act of civil disobedience precipitated the Montgomery bus boycott.
The story begins with the description of a rather routine day: Rosa's mother recovering from the flu; her husband, a barber, working at the Air Force base; and Rosa hurriedly leaving her job as a seamstress as she thinks about preparing a meatloaf for dinner. These ordinary events make her extraordinary act of courage in standing against injustice even more remarkable. The events on the bus are described in detail, and her quiet refusal to give in to the demand that she give up her seat to a White passenger is in sharp contrast with the behavior of the bus driver who yelled, "I said give me those seats!" (p. 14) and the passengers who demanded that she be arrested. The story closes as groups of people who share her mission, including the Women's Political Council and the NAACP, mobilize to organize a bus boycott. Ultimately, the courage of these heroes, named and unnamed, led to the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation to be unconstitutional.
The rich watercolor and collage illustrations are captivating. The fold out pages that show those who walked, instead of riding the bus, and those who marched, capture how a number of people from all walks of life came together for the cause of Civil Rights. Many readers will notice how effectively Rosa is portrayed as the gentle hero of this story. In the illustrator's note, Bryan Collier writes, "to me, she is like a radiant chandelier, an elegant light that illuminates all our many pathways" (p. 4).
In an interview about her book, Giovanni said,
I've always liked the hero … I always liked the people that stood up, and Mrs. Parks had a particular stand that said, "You can make a difference. What you do can make a difference." And you do it with no expectation. And she always said that. Again, in my book, I'm not overly stressing that, but she always said she didn't know who, if anyone, would stand with her. She just knew that it was time for her to stand. (http: // www.readingrockets.org)
Giovanni's statement reminds readers of the value of standing up for what is right even when we are unsure about the support we will receive from others. Rosa Park's dignified resolve continues to inspire and to set an example for future generations.
Rosa Parks sat. “She had not sought this moment, but she was ready for it.” When she refused to move out of the neutral section of her bus to make way for white passengers, she sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. She was tired of putting white people first. Giovanni’s lyrical text and Collier’s watercolor-and-collage illustrations combine for a powerful portrayal of a pivotal moment in the civil-rights movement. The art complements and extends the text, with visual references to Emmett Till, the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Martin Luther King, Jr. The yellowish hue of the illustrations represents the Alabama heat, the light emanating from Rosa Parks’s face a shining beacon to all who would stand up for what’s right. A dramatic foldout mural will make this important work even more memorable. An essential volume for classrooms and libraries. (Picture book. 5+)
The text is accessible to young readers, but without sacrificing the complexity of the story, and the paint/collage illustrations by Bryan Collier are radiant.
It's easy to see why ROSA won both the Coretta Scott King Award and a Caldecott Honor -- the illustrations are spectacular. Bold yet detailed, they show Rosa Parks as she was -- not an old lady too tired to get up, but a strong young woman tired of oppression. In paintings that combine watercolor and collage, realistic images of people are set against slightly abstract backgrounds with skewed perspectives. The pictures radiate heat, light, and power.
Poet Nikki Giovanni's text is at times preachy, however, and Parks is portrayed as perhaps more than a mere mortal -- at times Bryan Collier's art suggests a halo above her. Though the book is aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds, some of the story will go over their heads, and many things are unexplained. What is the NAACP? What happened to Parks after the police came? There is a vivid picture of a cop confronting her, but her actual arrest is not mentioned. And she virtually disappears from the book halfway through. Various news events, such as the lynching of Emmet Till and freeing of his killers, are mentioned but not explained; an author's note would have been welcome. These events can be used as openings for parents to discuss them in more detail with their kids, but the book on its own may be confusing. Still, this is a gorgeously illustrated introduction to a watershed event.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)
The story of Rosa Parks and her courageous act of defiance. Provides the story of the young black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Alabama, setting in motion all the events of the Civil Rights Movements that resulted in the end of the segregated south, gave equality to blacks throughout the nation, and forever changed the country in which we all live today. She had not sought this moment but she was ready for it. When the policeman bent down to ask "Auntie, are you going to move?" all the strength of all the people through all those many years joined in her. She said, "No." An inspiring account of an event that shaped American history. Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This picture-book tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Award-winning poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni's evocative text combines with Bryan Collier's striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)323.092 — Social sciences Political Science Civil and political rights Civil Rights Biography And History Biography
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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