Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
By Terreece Clarke,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A teen becomes pregnant by an older, married man.
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The "N-word" is referred to but not used.
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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.
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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?
- Author: Phillip M. Hoose
- Genre: Biography
- Topics: Activism
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: January 20, 2009
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 114
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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