Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Tonya Engel

Published by Dial Books

Because Claudette: Baptiste, Tracey, Engel, Tonya: 9780593326404: Amazon.com:  Books
Because Claudette – Books of Wonder

Summary:  “Because fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin didn’t give up her seat on the bus for a white person on March 2, 1955, she was arrested.”  Thus begins a chain of events that leads Claudette to become friends with Rosa Parks, get involved with the Montgomery bus boycott, and to testify in court when her lawyer challenged the segregation laws.  Claudette was inspired by Black activists from the past as well as her contemporaries like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and other women who refused to give up their bus seats.  When the Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional, Claudette read about it in the newspaper.  “On December 21, 1956, anyone could sit wherever they liked on the bus.  And all of it happened because of Claudette.”  Includes a brief author’s note, and a list of two books and three websites for further research.  32 pages; grades K-3.

Pros:  The simple text and beautiful illustrations (I love that cover) show how one young person can make a big difference.  This would be an inspiring book to read to younger kids for Black History Month.

Cons:  The lack of back matter was a real missed opportunity: there could have been photos, a lot more biographical information on Claudette, as well as more about the the others pictured in the text.

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