Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator:  Bryan Collier 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 9 to 12
Henry Holt, 2005   ISBN: 978-0439898836

It was early December and both Raymond Parks and his wife Rosa were working hard. Rosa was an extremely skilled seamstress and there was always much to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Rosa was pleased when she was allowed to go home early on December first and was looking forward to spending time with her family. Of course there was the bus ride home to endure first. Like all the other black people living in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa was expected to enter through the rear door of the bus and she also was expected to sit in the rear seats of the bus. On this particular day the “black seats” were all full so Rosa sat in the “neutral section” which was for both black and white passengers.

Then the bus driver came down the aisle and told Rosa to get up. She was expected to give her seat to a white passenger. On day Rosa decided not to get up. She had had enough and she wasn’t going to accept being ordered about by a rude bus driver.

What followed was a series of events which changed Rosa’s life and indeed the lives of thousands of other Americans, both black and white. Rosa’s refusal to be a victim of racism and inequality was a beacon of light in a very dark time and it gave courage to many others. It encouraged them to join her fight against unfair laws and cruel treatment.

Unique paintings and photocollage artwork compliments the text of this very special biography about a courageous and determined person. The author beautifully captures the feelings of the people involved and the atmosphere of the times.