Reviews for Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged

Booklist Reviews 2010 November #2
In 1946 Viola Desmond went to see a movie. Just as she was getting settled, she was told by the usher that main-floor seating wasn't covered by her ticket, and she'd have to move to the balcony with the other blacks. But she, like a prominent female bus rider, refused to give up her seat and was jailed. This incident is notable for its location: Nova Scotia. Viola Desmond was the Canadian Rosa Parks. Warner's picture book is worthwhile for its subject matter alone--civil rights struggles outside the U.S. barely register in American school curriculums--and although our neighbors to the north are often depicted as the final welcoming stop on the Underground Railroad, Canada's own history of discrimination often goes unmentioned. 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. Pair this with Nikki Giovanni's Rosa(2005) or Andrea Davis Pinkney's Sit In (2010) for a more rounded discussion of North American civil rights. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
In 1946 Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond stood up to segregation by refusing to change seats in a movie theater. This inspiring story will remind readers of Rosa Parks's conviction. Both Rudnicki's brightly colored acrylics and Warner's oral-style narration ("They took Viola to jail. Can you believe it?") are a little overdone. An illuminating endnote on African Canadian history is appended. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 October #1

In 1946 Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond thought to pass an afternoon at the movies while waiting for her car to be repaired. Desmond was the owner of her own beauty salon and founder of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture to train black students. She sat downstairs at the Roseland Theatre, although black people were supposed to sit in the balcony. She refused to move, was arrested and held in jail overnight. Throughout her trial and subsequent appeal, no one would admit that this was a racial issue. Instead the judge focused on the tiny differential in ticket price and fined her $20, then worth ten times what it is today. Using a cadenced style that echoes the oral tradition of African-Canadians, Warner recounts the story simply, allowing children to see raw discrimination for what it was. Rudnicki uses bold acrylics in vivid colors to tell the story. He captures the style, dress and look of the period, and the flap copy notes his images were based on archival photographs. An historical note with a couple of bibliographic citations offers more background. (Picture book. 6-9)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #2

Years before Rosa Parks's act of civil disobedience, Viola Desmond refused to give up her seat in a movie theater in Nova Scotia. Dragged out of the theater, sent to jail, and charged a fine, Viola returned home and shared her experience with her community, who fought (unsuccessfully) to appeal her case. Debut author Warner's conversational prose is message-driven ("They took Viola to jail. Can you believe it?") while Rudnicki's illustrations, in bright shades of green, red, and orange, are dramatic, if sometimes garish. An appended section on African-Canadian history provides additional background; Desmond's story should prove eye-opening to readers whose civil rights references are limited to American figures. Ages 5-9. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 December

Gr 1-4--Readers accustomed to stories of enslaved African Americans trying to reach Canada and freedom may be surprised to learn that slavery was legal there until 1834. Although the laws were not as restrictive as those in parts of the United States, many African-Canadians faced discrimination well into the 20th century. In 1946, Desmond was a successful businesswoman. On her way from Halifax to a meeting in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, her car broke down. Since the repairs would take several hours, she decided to go to a movie while she waited. She purchased a ticket and took a seat on the main floor of the theater. An usher told her she had to move to the balcony. When Desmond refused, she was forcibly removed by the police and spent the night in jail. While segregation was not technically legal, it was enforced by custom. Although the story is serious, the picture-book format and rhythmic text that mimics oral speech patterns will be inviting to a wide range of readers. The acrylic paintings portray Desmond as well dressed and professional, and the bold colors reflect her strength of will. 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, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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