Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds and Floyd Cooper


It seems like any other winter day in Montgomery, Alabama. Mama and child are riding where they're supposed to, way in the back of the bus. The boy passes the time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus, until from way up front a big commotion breaks out. He can't see what's going on, but he can see the policeman arrive outside and he can see Mama's chin grow strong. 
"There you go, Rosa Parks," she says, "stirrin' up a nest of hornets. Tomorrow all this'll be forgot." But they both know differently.
With childlike words and powerful illustrations, Aaron Reynolds and Coretta Scott King medalist Floyd Cooper recount Rosa Parks' act of defiance through the eyes of a child who will never forget.

There are dozens of children's books about Rosa Parks, but I have never thought about what it might have been like to be another passenger on the bus, much less a child. Reynolds' text gives the familiar but important tale freshness, while Cooper's soft illustrations and the angle of his pictures reinforce the child's perspective. Every page is chock full of discussion starters. This is a beautiful book that needs to be part of every library.

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