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Claudette Colvin [Hardcover]

Phillip Hoose
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 20 2009 Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)
“When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.’” – Claudette Colvin

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

 
Claudette Colvin is the 2009 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Book.

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Review

“Hoose’s book, based in part on interviews with Colvin and people who knew her - finally gives her the credit she deserves.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“History might have forgotten Claudette Colvin, or relegated her to footnote status, had writer Phillip Hoose not stumbled upon her name in the course of other research and tracked her down. . . .The photos of the era are riveting and Claudette's eloquent bravery is unforgettable.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin, a teenager who knew her constitutional rights and was willing to be arrested to prove it” – The Washington Post, a Best Book of 2009 selection

“Compelling.” —New York Daily News
 
“Hoose vividly recreates Colvin’s bravery.” —The New York Post

“Hoose makes the moments in Montgomery come alive, whether it’s about Claudette’s neighborhood, her attorneys, her pastor or all the different individuals in the civil rights movement who paths she crossed . . . . An engrossing read.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Phil Hoose, who has done pioneering work in bringing to our attention the crucial role of young people in social movements, here tells the extraordinary, yet little-known story of Claudette Colvin, who, even before the famous incident involving Rosa Parks, sparked the historic bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.  Claudette Colvin was a remarkable teenager. With great courage she acted upon her principles -- and played a significant role in the drama of the civil rights movement.  This is a story that if taught in every classroom in the nation, might well inspire a new generation of young activists to join the on-going struggle for social justice.” —Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

“Phil Hoose’s profile of the remarkable Claudette Colvin is MUST reading for anyone still imbued with hope. She is a lighthouse in a stormy sea.” Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Good War
 
“Today, thanks to Hoose, a new generation of girls—and boys—can add Claudette Colvin to their list of heroines.” —Christian Science Monitor
 
“Hoose writes in a fluid, easy style and weaves in many voices of the time. He captures the tension and explosive emotions in the pivotal scenes.” —Sacramento Bee
 
“Hoose’s evenhanded account investigates Colvin’s motives and influences, and carefully establishes the historical context so that readers can appreciate both Colvin’s maturity and bravery and the boycott leadership’s pragmatism.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly
 
“Hoose encourages teens to empathize with an age peer, once dismissed as too ‘emotional’ to withstand public scrutiny, who later testified in the federal lawsuit that would finally end discrimination on public transportation.” —Starred, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
 
“This inspiring title shows the incredible difference that a single young person can make.” Starred, Booklist
 
“Smoothly weaves excerpts from Hoose’s extensive interviews with Colvin and his own supplementary commentary.” —Starred, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Inspiring.” —Kirkus Reviews    

“Outstanding.” Starred, School Library Journal 

“Hoose reasserts her [Claudette Colvin] place in history with this vivid and dramatic account, complemented with photographs, sidebars, and liberal excerpts from interviews conducted with Colvin.” —Starred, The Horn Book
 
“This stirring account affirms Colvin’s rightful place in history and gives young people a reason to stand up for what's right, even if the laws are not.” —Shelf Awareness
 
“This fresh look at a well-documented period in American history will appeal to readers from young teens to adults.” —VOYA

“In Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice young readers finally get to hear Claudette Colvin’s story in her own words, giving them a detailed look at segregated life in 1950s Montgomery, Alabama, and showing them how one teenager helped change the world.” —Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund
 
Through interviews with Colvin and others, Hoose delves into the details behind this largely unknown incident, ensuring that readers will have Colvin’s courageous story forever seared into their memories.” —The Horn Book, a Fanfare 2009 book
 
 

About the Author

Phillip 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. Claudette Colvin won a National Book Award and was dubbed a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009. He is also the author of Hey, Little Ant, co-authored by his daughter, Hannah, It’s Our World, Too!, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, and We Were There, Too!, a National Book Award finalist. He has received a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, a Christopher Award, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, among numerous honors. He 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.

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First Sentence
Jim Crow's job was not only to separate the races but to keep blacks poor. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This should be required reading in public school! Feb. 28 2012
By Darlene TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I chose this book for the February Task of the 2012 Versatile Reading Challenge, which was to read a non-fiction book in recognition of Black/African History Month. It has won numerous literary awards, including: National Book Award for Young People's Literature (2009), Newbery Honor (2010), A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2009), Cybils Award Nominee for Middle Grade/Young Adult Non-Fiction (2009), Sibert Honor (2010), an ALA Notable Children's Book for Older Readers (2010), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2011), and YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Nominee (2010).

I read this book aloud to my children. It deals with the racial segregation laws that were in place in the 1950s in Montgomery, Alabama specifically as they related to bus passengers. Back then, there was a "white" section of the bus and a "coloured" section. All riders entered through the front door and dropped their coins in the fare box. If there were white passengers already aboard, a black passenger had to leave the bus and re-enter through the rear door after paying the fare. The first four rows, each containing ten seats, were reserved for the white folks. Even if there were no white passengers aboard, the black passengers could not sit in those rows and were forced to stand if the rest of the bus was full! If the first four rows were full and a new white passenger boarded the bus, the driver would order the black passengers to relinquish their seat. Unbelievably, every black person in a row would have to give up his seat for one white passenger to sit in the row because whites and blacks could not sit in the same row!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anger, Sadness and Pride Jan. 30 2009
By T. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
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.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children March 14 2009
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
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.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars engrossing story of a teenage civil rights activist May 20 2009
By Great Kid Books - Published on Amazon.com
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.

[...]
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History March 13 2009
By Jacqueline Parson - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring: Teens Can Make a Difference Jan. 19 2010
By Jennifer Donovan - Published on Amazon.com
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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