Back of the bus by Aaron Reynolds
Author Marilyn Robinson
Mon 6 Feb 12
Rosa Parks’ defiant December 1955 confrontation on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, is told from the fictionalized viewpoint of a child who is there. He describes riding the bus with his mama (“We’re sittin’ right there where we’re supposed to— / way in back”) and rolling a marble down the aisle to the front, where smiling Mrs. Parks rolls it back to him. Then, as people get on the bus, the driver tells Parks to move to the back. She refuses, and the driver calls the police. The boy “knows . . . she don’t belong up front like that, but then he realizes “maybe she does too.” The child’s innocent viewpoint personalizes the well-known historical event, while the illustrator’s (Floyd Cooper’s) paintings, show the crowded bus as well as stunning portraits of Parks, the driver, the boy, and his mother as they decide that they are “not gonna hide no more.” The book is appropriate for Grades 1-3.
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