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BECAUSE CLAUDETTE by Tracey Baptiste Kirkus Star


by Tracey Baptiste ; illustrated by Tonya Engel

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-593-32640-4
Publisher: Dial Books

On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin stood up to racism and segregation in Montgomery, Alabama.

The African American teen’s unwillingness to give up her seat on a bus to a White person, months before Rosa Parks famously did the same, led to her arrest. Her lawyer, Fred Gray, arranged for Parks to meet with Colvin, and the two became friends. At Parks’ behest, Colvin joined the NAACP and spent evenings at Parks’ home when the group’s youth meetings ran late. Because they considered her a troublemaker, Colvin’s classmates ostracized her. She was one of five plaintiffs in a federal court case that challenged Montgomery’s discriminatory bus laws and one of the many people who mobilized to demand positive change. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began on Dec. 5, 1955, and by Dec. 21, 1956, anyone could sit wherever they chose on Montgomery’s public buses. This approachable biography of the young activist highlights her bravery, commitment, and vulnerability. Young readers will appreciate learning about a regular kid who did something extraordinary. The acrylic and oil illustrations are vivid and eye-catching, re-creating the period well and capturing its atmosphere. The backmatter includes an author’s note and a brief list of books for further reading. Most characters are Black; a few supporting characters are White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An engaging profile of an inspiring civil rights hero whom readers will enjoy learning about and cheering for.

(Picture-book biography. 5-8)