Back of the Bus
by Reynolds, Aaron; Cooper, Floyd (ILT)

Passing the time on a long bus journey, during an era when segregation edicts require him to sit in the back, a young boy witnesses Rosa Parks' brave defiance of the racist policy requiring her to give up her seat. By the Coretta Scott King medalist illustrator of The Most Precious Gift.

Aaron Reynolds is the author of the Caldecott Honor Medal-winning Creepy Carrots, illustrated by Peter Brown, which was also a New York Times bestseller. Among his other books for young readers are Chicks and Salsa; Nerdy Birdy; and the graphic novel Caveboy Dave. He lives in Illinois.

Floyd Cooper ( always dreamed of becoming an artist and has developed into a highly-acclaimed creator of books for young readers. Among the books he has either written & illustrated on his own or illustrated for others are Jump! (From the Life of Michael Jordan); Max and the Tag-Along Moon; The Blacker the Berry, for which he was awarded the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration; and I Have Heard of a Land, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. Floyd lives in New Jersey with his family. Follow him on Twitter @floydcooper4 .

Rosa Parks' defiant December 1955 confrontation on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, is told from the fictionalized viewpoint of a child who is there. In free verse, he describes riding the bus with his mama ("We're sittin' right there where we're supposed to- / way in back") and rolling a marble down the aisle to the front, where smiling Mrs. Parks rolls it back to him. Then, as people pile on the bus, the driver tells Parks to move to the back. She refuses, and the driver calls the police. The boy "knows . . . she don't belong up front like that, but then he realizes "maybe she does too." The child's innocent viewpoint personalizes the well-known historical event, while Cooper's oil paintings, expertly rendered in his signature "subtractive" style, show the crowded bus as well as stunning portraits of Parks, the driver, the boy, and his mother as they decide that they are "not gonna hide no more." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

A child's-eye view of the day Rosa Parks would not give up her seat. On Dec. 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., a boy and his mom sit at the back of the bus, and he amuses himself by rolling his tiger's-eye marble down the bus aisle. "Mrs. Parks from the tailor shop" rolls it back to him. Soon the bus is packed, but it does not move. The boy, acutely sensitive to the tone of his mother's and the driver's voices, wonders what is happening, but he sees that, like his mama, Parks has her "strong chin." She's taken away, the bus goes home and the boy holds his brown-and-golden marble to the light, thinking he does not have to hide it anymore. The language is rhythmic and inflected with dropped gs, with slightly overdone description, but clearly explains to very young children Parks's refusal to give up her seat at the front of the bus to a white man. Cooper uses his "subtractive method" on oil color, in which illustrations are rubbed out or lightened, making the pictures glow with burnished grace. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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