Cover image for If a bus could talk : the story of Rosa Parks
Title:
If a bus could talk : the story of Rosa Parks
Author:
Ringgold, Faith.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young People, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 x 31 cm
Summary:
A biography of the African American woman and civil rights worker whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus led to a boycott which lasted more than a year in Montgomery, Alabama.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
AD 790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.3 0.5 35405.

Reading Counts RC K-2 5.1 2 Quiz: 21671 Guided reading level: P.
ISBN:
9780689818929
Format :
Book

Available:*

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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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F334.M753 R56 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

If a bus could talk, it would tell the story of a young African-American girl named Rosa who had to walk miles to her one-room schoolhouse in Alabama while white children rode to their school in a bus. It would tell how the adult Rosa rode to and from work on a segregated city bus and couldn't sit in the same row as a white person. It would tell of the fateful day when Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man and how that act of courage inspired others around the world to stand up for freedom.
In this book a bus does talk, and on her way to school a girl named Marcie learns why Rosa Parks is the mother of the Civil Rights movement. At the end of Marcie's magical ride, she meets Rosa Parks herself at a birthday party with several distinguished guests. Wait until she tells her class about this!


Author Notes

Faith Ringgold grew up in Harlem, has a master's degree in education, and has taught art in New York City public schools. Deeply influenced by the Black Power movement, Faith developed an art style based on her African-American heritage. She created a series of narrative quilts about the lives of black women, one of which inspired her first picture book, Tar Beach, winner of a Caldecott Honor Award and a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. She went on to publish several more acclaimed picture books, including Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky and My Dream of Martin Luther King. Of this book she says, "If that bus Rosa Parks was on could tell us what happened, its story would be better than anyone's. It was wonderful to write something children could accept. They are ready to imagine and have open dreams, like Rosa, who must have had a dream in order to stretch herself." Faith Ringgold divides her time between New Jersey and Southern California.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. There have been several children's books about Rosa Parks over the years, including the moving autobiography I Am Rosa Parks (1997), written with Jim Haskins. However, this picture-book biography condescends to kids, as if they require a sweet-faced talking bus with cute, flapping eyelashes and a smiling mouth, to entice them to the history. But beyond the intrusive frame, Ringgold tells the story in a direct text and bright acrylic narrative paintings, showing Parks as a political activist whose refusal to give up her seat on the bus sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. There are dramatic landmark scenes from the civil rights movement, including the lunch counter sit-ins, the leadership role of Dr. King, and the grief at his assassination. On the final pages, the magic realism is integral to the story as the passengers on the bus turn out to be Dr. King and other leaders paying tribute to "the mother of the Civil Rights movement . . . who, by sitting down, inspired people all over the world to stand up for freedom." --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

A contemporary schoolgirl boards the bus on which Rosa Parks rode in 1955 when, refusing to give up her seat to a white man, she helped trigger the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and it speaks. "Ringgold's paintings help animate this uneven tale, but a depiction of the bus with facial features, hair and hat compromises her powerful folk-art style," wrote PW. Ages 5-9. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-A talking bus is literally the vehicle for this picture-book biography. Marcie, on her way to school, finds herself on a driverless bus occupied by a group of unfamiliar passengers who don't seem to notice she's there. A disembodied voice tells her that this used to be the Cleveland Avenue bus but is now the Rosa Parks bus, and then launches into an account of the woman's life. Ringgold recounts the dramatic events triggered by Parks's refusal to give up her seat: the Montgomery bus boycott; the leadership, persecution, and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Supreme Court decision to ban bus segregation; and public recognition of the woman who started it all. The story ends when Parks herself enters the bus for a birthday celebration with the passengers who are now revealed as personages from her history. While the artifice of the talking bus and a few minor lapses in logic sometimes detract from a solid telling, the story does much to humanize a larger-than-life figure. Ringgold's colorful, textured acrylic-on-canvas paper paintings done in a na‹f style are a perfect complement to the stark realism of the events and the simple dignity of the subject. Color and line are used to suggest ideas, such as the turbulent purple, black, blue, and chalky white and the jagged forms depicting the Ku Klux Klan and bombings. Text and art harmonize, with print changing from black to white and appearing on each page in an interesting variety of layouts. An accessible telling and beautiful illustrations result in a worthy contribution to this developing genre.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.