Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

Amazon Link:

This book is the story of Rosa Parks, and the incident on the bus. It includes a background on her life prior to the bus incident and her fame.

I like this version of the story because it shows the historical incident without the excessive herofication. Rosa Parks is portrayed as a typical woman living in her time, who simply becomes tired of the way she and African American people are being treated on the bus. The story goes on to introduce Martin Luther King Jr.

I would try to use this book for activities based on character development, sequencing, and more.

I believe this book falls into all 5 of the SJE categories.

I would use this book when studying African American History, studying important/influential people, as well as, United States history.

Hina Patel


  1. "The integrity, the dignity, the quiet strength of Rosa Parks turned her no into a Yes for change." We are left with these powerful words at the end of the book. Her act of "defiance" became an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. I agree with you, this biography on Parks tells of her life as an ordinary woman. We learn from this story that an ordinary woman stood for change. I thought that it was one of the best bigraphies on Rosa Parks that I have read and it is beutifully illustrated.

  2. Rosa Park was not an ordinary woman- this story still leaves out many details about Rosa Parks' life and her investment in radical transformation in all of the south. Making Rosa Parks an "ordinary woman" takes away from her power as a leader for all African American people.

    A book I would Suggest: If A Bus Could Talk, The story of Rosa Parks, by Faith Ringgold.

    This book highlights exactly how EXTRAORDINARY Rosa Parks is:

    it highlights her prior involvement with the NAACP and the Highlander Folk School instead of portraying her as an average, middle-aged woman/ seamstress and not a political activist.

    -Rosa Parks was well known to all of the African American leaders in Montgomery for her opposition to segregation, her leadership abilities and her moral strength.
    -Rosa Parks was one of the first women in Montgomery to join the NAACP and was its secretary for years.
    -She learned about Union Struggles with the president of the Montgomery NAACP, E.D. Nixon.
    -A few months before the boycott… Rosa Parks attended an interracial meeting at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. Highlander was known throughout the South as a radical education center that was overtly planning for the total desegregation of the South, and Rosa parks was aware of that when she attended the meeting.

    Rosa Parks did not sit in the front of the bus. She sat in the front row of the “Colored” Section. When the bus got crowded she refused to give up her seat in the “Colored” section to a European American.

    It was not her intent, on this day, to break the segregation laws.. she even said, "I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home.”

    The Boycott had been planned and organized long before Rosa Parks was arrested.

    E.D. Nixon and other African American community leaders were looking for someone who had the respect of the community and the strength to deal with the racist police force as well as all of the publicity that would result from being at the center of a bus boycott. Rosa Parks matched this description.

    Hope this helps.