Nearly every child has heard of Rosa Parks, the recently deceased heroine of the Montgomery bus boycott. To honor her, poet Nikki Giovanni and artist Bryan Collier have teamed up to create a stunning new volume, Rosa. Moving beyond the familiar mythology of a woman too tired to move out of her seat, Giovanni and Collier tell the whole story of a strong woman with a mind of her own who knew the power of working with others. "She sighed as she realized she was tired. Not tired from work but tired of putting white people first. Tired of stepping off sidewalks to let white people pass, tired of eating at separate lunch counters and learning at separate schools. . . . Tired of 'separate,' and definitely tired of 'not equal.'" The cover shows the bus driver angrily willing this strong black woman to move and Parks' quiet defiance. The yellow wash of the illustrations reflects the hot Alabama sun as the book marches toward its stunning climax: a fold-out mural showing the proud, tired, resolved people of Montgomery preparing for the hard work to come. Copyright 2006 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Poet Giovanni's lightly fictionalized (and unsourced) feminist account of Rosa Parks's historic refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955 Montgomery emphasizes the role of the Women's Political Council but soft-pedals both the NAACP's contributions and Parks's own prior political activism. Handsome collage paintings with bold patterns and strong figures do more than ample justice to Parks's heroism. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 July #2
Rosa Parks sat. "She had not sought this moment, but she was ready for it." When she refused to move out of the neutral section of her bus to make way for white passengers, she sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. She was tired of putting white people first. Giovanni's lyrical text and Collier's watercolor-and-collage illustrations combine for a powerful portrayal of a pivotal moment in the civil-rights movement. The art complements and extends the text, with visual references to Emmett Till, the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Martin Luther King, Jr. The yellowish hue of the illustrations represents the Alabama heat, the light emanating from Rosa Parks's face a shining beacon to all who would stand up for what's right. A dramatic foldout mural will make this important work even more memorable. An essential volume for classrooms and libraries. (Picture book. 5+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection - March 2006
This is the story of Rosa Parks and how by saying "no" on a Montgomery bus she changed the history of our nation. On this particular day Rosa left work early. As usual she paid her bus fare, got off the bus, and re- entered from the rear. The section reserved for blacks was full, but the section for both whites and blacks had some empty seats. When the driver demanded her seat, Rosa did not move. She had decided not to give in to what she knew was wrong. She was tired of the segregation and she remembered the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. After Rosa's arrest members of the Women's Political Council met. First they prayed and then they created fliers that encouraged blacks to walk in support of Rosa. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in favor of blacks walking. So began the bus boycott. Almost a year after Rosa Parks had been arrested on that bus in Montgomery, the Supreme Court ruled segregation on the buses was illegal. The wonderful color illustrations bring life to this book. They are painted in a manner that allows the reader to see both the darkness and the light of this situation. The detail brings to life a very familiar page of our history. Highly Recommended. Karen Scott, Media Specialist, Thompson Middle School, Alabaster, Alabama © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 August #5
Giovanni (The Sun Is So Quiet ) and Collier (Uptown ) offer a moving interpretation of Rosa Parks's momentous refusal to give up her bus seat. The author brings her heroine very much to life as she convincingly imagines Parks's thoughts and words while she rode the bus on December 1, 1955 ("She was not frightened. She was not going to give in to that which was wrong"), pointing out that Mrs. Parks was in the neutral section of the bus and (as some fellow riders observe) "She had a right to be there." The author and poet lyrically rephrases what the heroine herself has frequently said, "She had not sought this moment, but she was ready for it." After Mrs. Parks's arrest, the narrative's focus shifts to the 25 members of the Women's Political Council, who met secretly to stage the bus boycott. Inventively juxtaposing textures, patterns, geometric shapes and angles, Collier's watercolor and collage art presents a fitting graphic accompaniment to the poetic text. After viewing an image of Martin Luther King, Jr., encouraging a crowd to walk rather than ride the buses, readers open a dramatic double-page foldout of the Montgomery masses walking for nearly a year before the Supreme Court finally ruled that segregation on buses was illegal. A fresh take on a remarkable historic event and on Mrs. Parks's extraordinary integrity and resolve. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)[Page 56]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-5 -Rosa Parks's personal story moves quickly into a summary of the Civil Rights movement in this striking picture book. Parks is introduced in idealized terms. She cares for her ill mother and is married to "one of the best barbers in the county." Sewing in an alterations department, "Rosa Parks was the best seamstress. Her needle and thread flew through her hands like the gold spinning from Rumpelstiltskin's loom." Soon the story moves to her famous refusal to give up her seat on the bus, but readers lose sight of her as she waits to be arrested. Giovanni turns to explaining the response of the Women's Political Caucus, which led to the bus boycott in Montgomery. A few events of the movement are interjected-the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education , the aftermath and reactions to the murder of Emmett Till, the role of Martin Luther King, Jr., as spokesperson. Collier's watercolor and collage scenes are deeply hued and luminous, incorporating abstract and surreal elements along with the realistic figures. Set on colored pages, these illustrations include an effective double foldout page with the crowd of successful walkers facing a courthouse representing the 1956 Supreme Court verdict against segregation on the buses. Many readers will wonder how it all went for Parks after her arrest, and there are no added notes. Purposeful in its telling, this is a handsome and thought-provoking introduction to these watershed acts of civil disobedience.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston[Page 192]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.