Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

 
(i)

 

Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.
Newbery Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Educational value

The book gives an in-depth look at a time and movement that was initiated by a little known or remembered teen girl. There are great sidebars with golden nuggets of information like "Who was Jim Crow?" and photos of actual newspaper articles from the time. It all makes the history feel more real and relevant to younger readers.

Positive messages

The message of standing up to injustice no matter the costs is prevalent throughout the book.

Positive role models

At the time Claudette Colvin was not deemed a good role model. Looking back, she is a teen who never gave up, embraced her own features at a time when it was unpopular, and stood up to intimidation and institutionalized racism.

Violence

A girl is dragged off a bus by police. There are tales of women being raped and beaten by police, and one teen is sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. Stories of lynchings and retaliation crimes including bombings of homes and churches.

Sex

A teen becomes pregnant by an older, married man.

Language

The "N-word" is referred to but not used.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that amid this award-nominated, inspirational history lesson there are mentions of upsetting violence: stories of women being raped by men in the segregated South; several teens are arrested; a girl becomes pregnant by a much older, married man; and a teen is wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to die. There are also several bombings of homes and churches.

What's the story?

Claudette Colvin stood up to the unfairness of the Jim Crow laws months before Rosa Parks, yet history has largely forgotten all about her. Before Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year-old Colvin stood firm and was dragged off the bus, handcuffed, and thrown into adult prison. Her story should have been a rallying point for the civil rights movement, but Colvin was instead largely criticized and labeled "emotional" because of her stand. Despite personal problems, alienation from peers and adults, and intimidation Colvin did whatever she could to stand up for her rights and the rights of African Americans.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Phillip Hoose captured the feel of the civil rights movement and personal story of Claudette Colvin in this easy to read, highly engaging work. Visually, the novel is stunning with photos, newspaper clippings, maps, and side bars of information that take you into the heart of Alabama, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Colvin's life. Her story is not just told through Hoose's research and Colvin's own words, it's told from different perspectives of her friends, family, and those involved with the dramatic story.

The book goes into such great detail, readers can feel Claudette's pain, alienation, and sense of justice. This is an excellent novel to accompany any civil rights study and one of those stories of forgotten history that renews interest in the movement as a whole.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about embracing your features. Claudette embraced her natural hair when straight hair was more desired and the norm. What is considered the beauty ideal now? What do you embrace about yourself that other people may not support?

  • Families can also talk about standing up for injustice. While institutionalized segregation no longer exists, there are other injustices that need attention. Can you name a few? How can you help bring awareness and work to stop the problems?

  • Does racism still exist in America? If yes, can you name specific examples? What can you do about it?

Book details

Author:Phillip M. Hoose
Genre:Biography
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:January 20, 2009
Number of pages:114
Publisher's recommended age(s):13 - 17
Read aloud:13
Read alone:13
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

This review of Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byqwaszxerdfcv November 30, 2011
 

READ AND LEARN

Stay positive and speak your mind!
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byAwalkeratCSM February 9, 2011
 

One of the best Newberries ever!

This book immediately went on my very short list of admirable and can't-stop-reading Newberry books from the moment I read the first chapter. Most people moan and groan when they are forced to read a biography and think about the thousands of times they'll be caught looking out the window, but this one will keep even the reluctant reader glued. Realistic, hopeful, educational, and superbly researched, this is a teacher's powder puff dream for their middle grade students. Philip Hoose did the best research I have probably ever seen for a biography. I couldn't wait every time I picked up the book to start reading and learn about this forgotten, yet influential, historical figure's story. I loved the steady pace, detailed reality, and hope displayed on the pages that told of the greatest spark of the civil rights movement. Readers will never forget this book and will, years from now, be urging their teenager to read and learn about Claudette Colvin, "the girl who got arrested". As you can see, I gave full marks for educational material, positive messages, and good role models; however, I did have a pause when it came to the sexual content. The main character becomes pregnant, unmarried, and there is some innuendo used to abuse. The violence isn't described in detail but there are bombings, lynchings, rapes, girls being carried off buses and people arrested. But this book is nonfictional, and tells the truth of life and history out clearly, which is better than the Vampire Diaries or nothing. To any teenager I tell them, and I already have, I give two thumbs up!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 August 29, 2012
 

claudette colvin twice toward justice

Families can talk about embracing your features. Claudette embraced her natural hair when straight hair was more desired and the norm. What is considered the beauty ideal now? What do you embrace about yourself that other people may not support? Families can also talk about standing up for injustice. While institutionalized segregation no longer exists, there are other injustices that need attention. Can you name a few? How can you help bring awareness and work to stop the problems? Does racism still exist in America? If yes, can you name specific examples? What can you do about it?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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