Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Published by Quill Tree Books

Summary:  Victor Hugo Green had a successful career as a mail carrier in Leonia, New Jersey, but he also liked to travel.  In the 1930’s, more people were buying cars and using them to visit new places.  Black travelers were less hassled in their cars than on trains, but they also faced Jim Crow laws that prevented them from using certain hotels, restaurants, and other establishments, and sundown laws that prohibited them from being in certain towns after dark.  Green used newspaper ads and articles and the knowledge of friends and co-workers to put together a directory of places that were safe to go.  Known as the Green Book, it started as a pamphlet in 1936, covering the New York City area, but continued to grow to cover the entire U.S. as well as Mexico and Canada.  In 1953, Victor Hugo Green retired from his postal career to spend his time running a travel agency and keeping up with the Green Book.  He died in 1960, a few years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made much of the Green Book obsolete.  Includes a timeline, selected sources, and a list of places to learn more about the Green Book.  40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  This fascinating look at the man behind the Green Book weaves in plenty of details about the ways racism affected Black travelers for much of the twentieth century.  The vivid oil paintings bring traveling to life with their colorful postcards, reproductions of black-and-white photos, and maps.  Worthy of a consideration for a Coretta Scott King award or honor.

Cons:  While I was hoping to see a page from the actual Green Book, the illustrations offer only tantalizing glimpses.  Guess I will have to peruse the digital editions listed in the back matter.

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