Elem./MG – Because Claudette

Baptiste, Tracey. Because Claudette. Illustrated by Tonya Engle. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2022. 978-0-593-32640-4. $17.99. 32 p. Grades K-8.

On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her bus seat to a white woman and was arrested. She was 15 years old. Claudette’s small act of resistance led to a chain of events that culminated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Through her courageous act of civil disobedience, Claudette met Civil Rights activists and leaders who were inspired by her bravery to change segregation laws. Most students will have heard of Rosa Parks, but few know that she was inspired by a young teenager. This text is told in a very simple narrative with stunning oil and acrylic paintings by illustrator Tonya Engle. 

THOUGHTS: I did not know the story of Claudette Colvin prior to reading this book. The beauty of this narrative is how Baptiste shows a direct line from one small courageous act to a world-changing event. An excellent read aloud, and an important addition for elementary and middle school collections. 

Picture Book          Anne McKernan, Council Rock SD

Elem – Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Rockliff, Mara. Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Random House Studio, 2022. 978-1-524-72064-3. $18.99. Grades 2-4.

Georgia Gilmore was cooking away when the news broke that Rosa Parks was arrested because she would not let a white man sit in her seat on the public bus. The outrage was loud, with radios urging people to boycott the bus on December 5, 1955. Throughout the protests and concerns, Georgia continued to cook and feed the protesters and raise money for support. Even when Georgia herself was fired, she continued to cook to do her part to help support the movement that was so critical to her and many Americans.

THOUGHTS: A nicely illustrated biography about Georgia Gilmore and the help and support she gave throughout the bus boycott. She personally met Martin Luther King Jr. and received support from him throughout this important part of American history. Overall this book is a great view of the bus boycott of Montgomery through the eyes of a person readers may not know about.

323.092 Civil Rights Leaders          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD
Picture Book

Elem. – Extraordinary Lives (Series NF)

Howard, Martin. Extraordinary Lives. Kane Miller EDC Publishing, 2020.  $5.99 ea. $35.94 set of 6. 128 p. Grades 2-5.

Neil Armstrong. 978-1-684-64073-7.
Anne Frank.

Stephen Hawking. 978-1-684-64075-1.
Katherine Johnson.

Rosa Parks. 978-1-684-64077-5.
Malala Yousafzai.

This reviewer read Neil Armstrong in the Extraordinary Lives series. This illustrated novel, written for grades 2-5, tells the story of Neil Armstrong from his nomadic childhood through his famous first steps on the moon, and his years after his famous moonwalk until his death in 2012. Includes quotes throughout the text, a Timeline, a Some Things to Think About section, and an Index.

THOUGHTS: This series would be an excellent addition to an elementary library. These kid friendly books will appeal to those who enjoy biographies and may just lure in those reluctant readers as well. Illustrated throughout the story, the text is presented in a very reader friendly manner.

92 Biography          Krista Fitzpatrick-Waldron Mercy Academy