Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Bus of Our Own

A Bus of Our Own

Freddi Williams Evans
Illustrator:  Shawn Castello 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman, 2001   ISBN: 978-0807509715

Mable Jean is very excited because her father has agreed to let her go to school. On her first day, Mable Jean has a hard time walking the five miles to school, and she and her brother arrive late. On the way home, she hurts her foot and her brother has to carry her the rest of the way. Mable Jean begs her father to give a second chance. She wants to go to school this year and is determined to walk those five miles every school day.

When she has to walk to school in the rain, Mable Jean’s feet slip around in her boots, and she gets blisters. She cannot understand why the white children have a school bus to ride in, but she and the other African-American children don’t. Mabel Jean’s father wishes he could help his daughter and the other children, but he is afraid to ask the county for a bus because his employer might cause trouble.

Once day Cousin Smith gives Mabel Jean and her brother a ride home, and Mabel Jean asks Cousin Smith if he can get a bus for the children. Surely, Cousin Smith, who is well off, will be able to solve the bus problem.

This meaningful story is based on the true story of Mabel Maxine Lewis who lived in Mississippi in the 1940’s. In 1949 Mabel Maxine’s mother and the other parents in their community bought and operated a bus so that their children would not have to walk to school.

As they read this story, children will be amazed to discover that not so long ago African-American children were forced to walk to school because their county did not see fit to provide transpiration for them. They will see how members of a community can bring about change for the better.