Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Book Poster Image
Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


A teen becomes pregnant by an older, married man.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old May 27, 2020

An amazing story that should have been told much sooner!!!

It's a good book telling an untold story of Claudette Colvin the ACTUAL first person to stand up to a white bus driver! It shares many hard but important t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byqwaszxerdfcv November 30, 2011


Stay positive and speak your mind!

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love politics

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate