Reviews for Claudette Colvin : Twice Toward Justice

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #1
*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. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #2
It's 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, and fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin is in the thick of things. She refuses to give up her seat on the bus (nine months before Rosa Parks) and is also one of the plaintiffs in the federal case that ends segregated buses, yet her story remains largely unknown. Hoose fashions a compelling narrative that balances the momentous events of the civil rights movement with the personal crises of a courageous young woman. Because Claudette was young, pregnant, and unwed, it was the more respectable Rosa Parks who was thrust into the national spotlight as the face of the movement. But Claudette's story is no less inspiring, and Hoose reasserts her place in history with this vivid and dramatic account, complemented with photographs, sidebars, and liberal excerpts from interviews conducted with Colvin. Recent books have done a commendable job of exploring the civil rights movement beyond the iconic figures of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks -- A Dream of Freedom by Diane McWhorter, Freedom Riders by Ann Bausum, Freedom Walkers by Russell Freedman -- and Hoose's thoughtful book now joins their ranks.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
Claudette Colvin's story will be new to most readers. A teenager in the 1950s, Colvin was the first African-American to refuse to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Ala. Although she later participated with four other women in the court case that effectively ended segregated bus service, it is Rosa Parks's action that became the celebrated event of the bus boycott. Hoose's frank examination of Colvin's life includes sizable passages in her own words, allowing readers to learn about the events of the time from a unique and personal perspective. The sequence of events unfolds clearly, with its large cast of characters distinctly delineated. Period photographs and reprints of newspaper articles effectively evoke the tenor of the times. Both Colvin and the author speculate that it was Colvin's unplanned (and unwed) pregnancy that prevented her from being embraced as the face of the Civil Rights movement. Her commitment to combating injustice, however, was unaffected, and she remains an inspiring figure whom contemporary readers will be pleased to discover. (notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 February #1

In March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks triggered the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., by refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger, a 15-year-old Montgomery girl, Claudette Colvin, let herself be arrested and dragged off the bus for the same reason; in 1956, Colvin was one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, a landmark case in which Montgomery's segregated bus system was declared unconstitutional. Investigating Colvin's actions, asking why Rosa Parks's role has overshadowed Colvin's, Hoose (We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History) introduces readers to a resolute and courageous teenager and explores the politics of the NAACP and bus-boycott leadership. Because Colvin had been tearful in the period following her 1955 conviction, when her classmates shunned her, she was deemed too "emotional" to place at the center of the bus boycott; by the time Parks assumed that position, Colvin was disgraced: pregnant but not married. 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. Illus. with b&w photos. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)

[Page 51]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 February

Gr 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

[Page 119]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 February
Nearly a year before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery public bus, fifteen-year-old African American student Claudette Colvin was the first to be arrested for that brand of civil disobedience in the Alabama city. This book offers a glimpse at a long-overlooked figure in the civil rights movement, who is now credited with being an important factor in sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Colvin faced a court hearing and became pregnant shortly after her arrest. Local activists felt that she was not the right "face" for the cause, and she was generally forgotten in accounts of the civil rights movement for nearly fifty years. Hoose provides an in-depth account of her life, both during the civil rights movement and in the years afterwardThis story of Colvin's contributions to the civil rights movement is enhanced by first-person accounts, interviews, primary sources, and well-captioned illustrations. Potentially unfamiliar terms and concepts are explained within the text or in clear and unobtrusive sidebars. Of special interest is the exploration of the importance of perceived cultural, social, and physical appearance in the search for a public face for the legal battles of the civil rights movement in Montgomery and nationwide. This fresh look at a well-documented period in American history will appeal to readers from young teens to adults.--Sherrie Williams Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. 4Q 3P M J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.