Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

*Comments on this post will go toward my Library Week challenge*
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice tells the story of a forgotten Civil Rights figure, the teenage girl who refused to give up her seat on the bus several months before Rosa Parks.  Claudette was beginning to feel that the adults in her life complained too much about Jim Crow laws of the south, but did too little.  When she boarded the bus that day, she wasn't thinking of denying the law right then, but she had put up with it too long.  Her actions then and later spoke of a girl with fight and a desire for justice and equality that should place her prominently with other figures of the Civil Rights Movement.  

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Things I Liked:
I was really impressed with Claudette and the revealing look at her life and how forgotten she is among civil rights history.  The way she stood up against police and jail and basically put her life on the line, I felt inspired.  Stories of her courage and really the courage of so many African Americans living during that time are so amazing.  One thing I didn't realize before, the bus boycott lasted 381 days!  Can you imagine trying to get around town on foot or with carpools for over a year?  It is embarrassing and shameful the things our country allowed and embraced for so long.  Books like this make me wonder if I would have accepted injustice and prejudice just because it was the way things were or if I would have fought against the Jim Crow laws.  A fabulous look at the brave people who recognized and weren't afraid to challenge our weaknesses.  I also loved the photographs and clippings and side stories on each page.  Here are a few of the quotes I loved, not directly relating to Claudette, but other civil rights leaders:

Mrs. King said this on the phone to someone who called to threaten her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr: "My husband is asleep...He told me to write the name and number of anyone who called to threaten his life so that he could return the call and receive the threat in the morning when he wakes up and is fresh." p 80 
Judge Rives during the court case to abolish segregated buses asked this: "Can you command one man to surrender his constitutional rights - if they are his constitutional rights - to prevent another man from committing a crime?" p 89
Things I Didn't Like:
I didn't particularly like the style of switching between Claudette's words and the omniscient narrator.  Sometimes I would have to look back and see which point of view the book was using as I read.  It kind of distracted me from the words.  

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

s-factor: none
(that I recall)

mrg-factor: X
not described, more implied in Claudette's story

v-factor: ->
violence happens, but isn't gory

Overall rating: ****

I find it amazing how many great historical figures are lost or forgotten. Any you think are important, but ignored?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I think there a quite a few Holocaust figures that are overlooked. Like a LOT of the Resistance workers. We hear about the Jews during the Holocaust, but not about the people that helped them.

    And then you have stuff like the Bosnian War, the collapse of Communism, and where can you find good YA fiction about that?!

  2. Shaynie, absolutely! I hadn't even thought of many of these situations! How very sad we know so little about them. We need more books!


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