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Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged Hardcover – Sep 1 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (Sept. 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888997795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888997791
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 1 x 25.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Quill & Quire

One day in 1946, hair salon owner Viola Desmond’s car broke down in the town of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. To pass the time while it was being fixed, she went to the movies, only to be told she had to move from her main floor seat to the balcony – the theatre was racially segregated, and she, a black woman, could not sit among the white patrons. Desmond refused to move and ended up spending the night in jail. Her story and ensuing legal battle angered and inspired the province’s black community, and became the catalyst for protests that eventually resulted in racial segregation becoming illegal.

Jody Nyasha Warner and Richard Rudnicki’s rendering of Desmond’s tale is a wonderful marriage of text and image. Warner uses a warm oral storytelling voice that invites the reader to “come on here, listen in close” to the tale of a woman who “sat down for her rights.” Rudnicki’s bright illustrations capture the changing emotions on Viola’s face while supplying details of architecture and fashion that bring the period vividly to life.

Although we might wish to hear more of Viola’s own voice, her bravery in the face of injustice is skilfully depicted, and an afterword provides more details about African-Canadian history.


...the author of the children's book 'Viola Desmond Won't be Budged!' knows why she wanted to write the Halifax businesswoman's story... "There's not much that's there that's Canadian and this is such a great story." (Monica Graham The Chronicle-Herald 2010-08-15)

...vibrant... (Canadian Teacher Magazine 2010-11-01)

Plain speech in the vernacular of the time and predominantly red-hued acrylic paintings that seem imbued with their subject's passion combine to great effect in this important but not-well-known piece of Canadian history. (Susan Perren Globe and Mail 2010-09-24)

Varying perspectives heighten the emotional intensity, as do the excellent layout and design. This unique offering will be of particular value when studying women's or black history. (Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst School Library Journal 2010-12-01)

...warm and engaging... (Rosalie MacEachern New Glasgow News 2010-11-09)

Desmond’s story should prove eye-opening to readers whose civil rights references are limited to American figures. (Publishers Weekly 2010-10-11)

This book is a powerful discussion starter on racism. (Linda Ludke Papertigers.org 2010-01-12)

Rudnicki's vivid, dramatic art intensifies the danger that Desmond's stubborn determination brought her, and it lends itself well to the warm recounting of the unnamed narrator. (Courtney Jones Booklist 2010-11-15)

From the first page, Viola Desmond Won't be Budged! hooks the reader...an engaging delight to read. (Crystal Sutherland CM Magazine 2010-09-03)

Using a cadenced style that echoes the oral tradition of African-Canadians, Warner recounts the story... (Kirkus Reviews 2010-10-01)

This carefully-researched book provides young learners with an informative look at racial segregation in Canada and a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. (Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children 2011-02-22)

...impressive... (Evelyn C. White Vancouver Sun 2011-02-21)

...a compelling story... (Marya Jansen-Gruber Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews 2011-03-21)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was perfect to help teach my students about our Canadian Hero, Viola Desmond and the injustice done to her . Since it arrived it's been well loved by my entire school and borrowed many times! It was a great resource to help teach our students about the meaning behind our first Heritage Day holiday in Nova Scotia but I also think everyone should read this book any time of the year as it is a very important part of history. I used this book for a read aloud and both a readers' workshop and a writers' workshop.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa6d9836c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6e3c768) out of 5 stars excellent picture book biography of a Canadian civil rights pioneer Nov. 9 2010
By M. Tanenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent new picture book biography about Canadian Civil Rights pioneer Viola Desmond. Like her better-known counterpart Rosa Parks, Viola refused to give up her seat--but in this case in a segregated movie theatre in 1946 Nova Scotia, rather than a city bus in 1955 Montgomery.

The story is told in a folksy, oral-history tradition, with the narrator speaking directly to the audience, drawing us into this compelling story of racism and courage. Viola, owner of a beauty salon, is forced to stop in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia when her car breaks down. To pass the time, she decides to stop at the local movie theatre. She finds the perfect seat, down in front, and before she can settle in to enjoy the movie, an usher tells her she has to go to the balcony. When she refuses, "They took Viola to jail. Can you believe it?" After being fined $20 (a lot of money back then) for "refusing to pay the proper ticket price," she was released. The judge wouldn't listen when she said she was happy to pay for a downstairs ticket.

Viola and black community groups decided not to put up with this segregationist treatment, and appealed her case. Although the appeal was unsuccessful, the author points out that Viola's fight galvanized the fight against segregation in Canada, which was outlawed in the late 1950's.

Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged! is the first book of Jody Nyasha Warner, a writer, editor, and former librarian who is particularly interested in African Canadian history. The strikingly colorful acrylic illustrations by Canadian illustrator Richard Rudnicki add significantly to the story; on the publisher's webpage, you can click inside to see a number of two-page spreads from the book. I particularly liked the artist's use of hot colors such as orange, red, and yellow, which lend an almost expressionistic color palette, enhancing the emotion of the story.

The book includes an afterword which provides a brief, but fascinating, glimpse of African Canadian history, placing Viola's story in some context and also providing some biographical material on this Canadian civil rights leader. The author also provides a few suggestions for additional reading on African Canadian history.

This book would be a terrific addition to school library collections, and would be an excellent choice to read during African-American history month, giving students some insights into similar struggles that went on among our neighbors to the North.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa73d1eb8) out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Feb. 19 2011
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Viola Desmond, an African Canadian woman who owned a successful beauty parlor in Nova Scotia, lived during a period of institutionalized segregation in Canada. One day when Viola decided she wanted to watch a film at the beautiful Roseland Theatre, she decided to occupy a seat with a better view on the ground floor, which was designated for whites. Even though Viola offered to pay the extra amount for a ground floor seat, she was still arrested for refusing to sit in the balcony section for blacks. Viola spent a night in jail, her case went all the way to Nova Scotia's Supreme Court, and she became known as Canada's first civil rights activist.

This carefully-researched book provides young learners with an informative look at racial segregation in Canada and a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. Interestingly, the book's 2010 publication coincided with a formal apology from Nova Scotia's government and a pardon of the charge against her, the first posthumous free pardon ever granted in Canada. Parents and teachers seeking new resources to teach about discrimination and social justice can use this book to add both an international dimension and a gender perspective to the lesson.