Sunday, January 10, 2010


By Phillip Hoose
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN-13: 978-0-374-31322-7

FROM THE FLAP: “When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You just have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.’”- Claudette Colvin

On March 2, 1955, a slim, bespectacled teenager refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Shouting “It’s my constitutional right!” as police dragged her off to jail. Claudette Colvin decided she’d had enough of the Jim Crow segregation laws that had angered her and puzzled her since she was a young child.

But instead of being celebrated, as Rosa Parks would be when she took the same stand nine months later, Claudette found herself shunned by many of her classmates and dismissed as an unfit role model by the black leaders of Montgomery. Undaunted, she put her life in danger a year later when she dared to challenge segregation yet again, as one of four plaintiffs in the landmark busing case Browder vs. Gayle.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of a major, yet little-known, civil rights figure whose story provides a fresh perspective on the Montgomery bus protest of 1955-56. Historic figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks play important roles, but center stage belongs to the brave girl whose two acts of courage were to affect the course of American history.

BALANCED BUDGET (Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal)

Claudette Colvin stood up for a cause. Research your state’s financial budget. Write a letter to your state governor expressing your support for a line item or criticizing an area that lacks funding.


The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 381 days. If you had to walk to and from school for 381 days, how many miles would you walk? How about if you only had to walk to school for an academic year, 180 days, how many miles would you walk?

CHARITY WALK (Kinesthetic and Interpersonal)

As a class research three charities. Interview someone from each charity and vote on which one the class would like to support. Organize a school walk to support that charity.

FAMILY MEMBER TIMELINE (Visual/Spatial, Interpersonal, Verbal/Linguistic)

Interview a family member about his or her life. Make a timeline of his or her life that includes at least eight facts. Use photographs to highlight the events of his or her life.


Create a diorama of one of the historical scenes in the book. Write a short summary of the scene to top off your diorama.


-Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge
-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
-The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon
-The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
-We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose

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