Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice

Hoose, Phillip M. Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice. Melanie Kroupa Books, 2009. 144pp. Lexile 1000.

This is a great addition to the increasing number of books about teens who made a difference in our history.  Hoose spent years trying to get an interview with Claudette Colvin, who as a fifteen-year-old was arrested for, and convicted of, not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery in 1955.  Colvin was also one of the plaintiffs when civil rights leaders sued in federal court to end segregation on the buses.  Yet before the publication of Hoose’s book, Colvin was minimized in historical texts, sometimes mentioned as an unwed mother (she became pregnant after her conviction when she was isolated and scared).  When Colvin finally agreed to meet, Hoose interviewed her fourteen times.  Her words shine through in the text, providing an extraordinary character study of a brave teen set in the context of the civil rights movement.  Winner of the National Book Award as well as a Newbery Honor and Sibert Honor Award book.  Black-and-white photographs, sidebars, extensive bibliography/webliography, endnotes, and index.

Writing Std #3: Write narratives to develop real experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.  This book is an excellent model for research and writing.  It would be particularly helpful for students conducting oral interviews.  Hoose addresses the process of getting and conducting his interviews in his Author’s Note and the Notes section.  He also does an exemplary job of weaving the quotes into the text.