Reviewed July 9, 2007.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2005. 32 pages.
I read this book as an assignment for my graduate library science class, Resources for Children. We were looking at Caldecott and Coretta Scott King winners. Rosa was the winner of the 2006 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. The book was also a Caldecott Honor book.
Reading this book and looking at the pictures, it was easy to see why it won the award. We see Rosa Parks, an ordinary person going about her day. At home, she was caring for her mother, getting over the flu. At work, she was the most skilled seamstress in the shop.
We see the whole process as Rosa looks for a seat on the bus and only finds one in the neutral section, where both blacks and whites can sit. When the bus driver asks her to give up her seat, we see a tired woman who’s had a long enough day and simply decides she’s not going to do it.
The pictures portray Rosa’s quiet strength, as well as the glares of people on the bus. The story explains how she decided to keep sitting, even though it meant arrest—and how the news of that arrest spread and began a bus boycott that changed an evil law.
The book includes a striking fold-out section as the protesters finally, without violence, achieved their goal. The pictures give you a sense of having been there, among ordinary people, trying to put an end to injustice.