• Title: Rosa
  • Author: Nikki Giovanni
  • Illustrator: Bryan Collier
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
  • Publication year: 2004
  • Brief Summary: From Macmillan Publishing: “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 tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Much as I said All Because You Matter is an important book for black and brown children’s self-esteem and could be used in the beginnings of discussions on The Civil Rights Movement, so too can this book. This book more than many that I have covered is not important but needed on the discussion of The Civil Rights Movement. While this book has large pieces of text, it can still be digested by young children. This book could easily go all the way to 3rd grade. While it is a non-fiction picture book, it presents the facts in a creative, meaningful way. For reference and simply for a historical refresher (or if you want to be encouraged) here is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream speech in its entirety from NPR.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – I really think I would include this book in my Best 50 List. This book is so so important. It is important to learn about Rosa Parks and how integral she was to that Supreme Court decision. But this book is also important because it teaches children about the terrible injustice in the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Tills and how these and other injustices happening to African Americans every day (and unfortunately, still happening) was the impetuous for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to head The Civil Rights Movement and for, in 1963, that famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The illustrations in this book are filled with a life and vitality. Children can learn about this true historical event in vibrant color and rich texture. One of my favorite illustrations is of the Women’s Political Council sitting around a table at Alabama State making the pamphlets that would be distributed among Montgomery’s African American population. The scene is multi-faceted with the colored patterns of the women’s shirts, and the reader feels as if the page is moving as the pamphlets swirl around them.

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