She Persisted: Claudette Colvin

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
She Persisted: Claudette Colvin Book Poster Image
Well-crafted story telling of a teen civil rights hero.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Detailed history of the origins of the Montgomery bus boycott and other civil rights moments.

Positive Messages

Stand up for what you believe in even when it's scary. Work hard and be prepared when you take risks. Trust yourself.

Positive Role Models

Claudette persevered through many hard situations and had the strong support of her parents and her community.

Violence & Scariness

Claudette is arrested and dragged off a bus.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that She Persisted: Claudette Colvin tells the story of an amazing and often overlooked figure in the civil rights movement, creating an emotional connection to make history come alive for young readers. Beautifully written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Chelsea Clinton, and illustrated by Alexandra Bolger and Gillian Flint, this book is similar to other books in the She Persisted series: It combines clear language and simple facts with an age-appropriate storytelling style. At the end of the book, there are references and a list of ideas for how to persist.

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What's the story?

In SHE PERSISTED: CLAUDETTE COLVIN, readers are introduced to young African American Claudette, who, at age 15, defied the law and refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that made school segregation illegal, Claudette and her friends were bused to a school that had Black and White students, and was far away from their neighborhood. Her calm act of defiance got her arrested, and with community support, planted the seeds for the historic bus boycott.

Is it any good?

A teen activist's life story shines and inspires here, with facts and emotion powerfully woven together to share her thoughts, hopes, and dreams. She Persisted: Claudette Colvin is a beautifully written book, with just the right amount of detail about the early life and motivation of a strong, smart, determined woman who made a difference. The child's perspective is especially meaningful to readers who might wonder if they can really make an impact on the world, and the illustrations draw in younger readers and bring context to historical moments that might otherwise seem distant.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the community reacted to the arrest in She Persisted: Claudette Colvin. How do you think your community would react to a similar event today? Where have we made progress, and where do we still fall short?

  • How would you feel if you were told to give up your seat on a bus so that someone else could sit down?

  • What other people do you know about from the civil rights movement?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of civil rights and resistance

Themes & Topics

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