Cover image for Boycott blues : how Rosa Parks inspired a nation
Boycott blues : how Rosa Parks inspired a nation
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, c2008.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
Reading Level:
560 L Lexile
Added Author:
Illustrations and rhythmic text recall the December, 1955, bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.


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Book EASY PIN 1 1
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Book EASY PIN 0 1
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This story begins with shoes.
This story is all for true.
This story walks. And walks. And walks.
To the blues.

Rosa Parks took a stand by keeping her seat on the bus. When she was arrested for it, her supporters protested by refusing to ride. Soon a community of thousands was coming together to help one another get where they needed to go. Some started taxis, some rode bikes, but they all walked and walked.

With dogged feet. With dog-tired feet. With boycott feet. With boycott blues.

And, after 382 days of walking, they walked Jim Crow right out of town. . . .

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney present a poignant, blues-infused tribute to the men and women of the Montgomery bus boycott, who refused to give up until they got justice.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Color and movement are vibrant components in this extraordinary book about Rosa Parks's efforts to take down Jim Crow. Text and illustration work in perfect sync. Andrea Pinkney chose the rhythm of the blues as cadence for the guitar-strumming hound-dog narrator: "This story begins with shoes./This story is all for true./This story walks. And walks. And walks./To the blues." In riveting poetic style, the author relates how Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, AL, on December 1, 1955; her defiance brought about the boycott that changed this nation. The evocative text is bolstered by Brian Pinkney's perceptive vision: he portrays a swirling black mass, colored ink on clay board, to simulate a menacing bird-Jim Crow-that "pecks, pecks, pecks" its determination to undermine the movement. Jim Crow hovers menacingly over the bus and whirls above the beleaguered walkers, but the ever-present dog keeps belting out inspiring words, swinging his tune out over the people. Against electric blues and greens diffused with streaks of black line, Pinkney's artwork rivets the eye with the red of Parks's coat, the yellow of the city bus, and the sunrise red that signals the Supreme Court ruling to end segregation. Children unfamiliar with the historic events of the period will find the tale uplifting and memorable, and for librarians, teachers, and parents, this story will read aloud well, mesmerizing listeners.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(Primary) "Child, child. You have not known weary till you have walked in my shoes...Dog Tired, that's me...This story walks. And walks. And walks. To the blues." So a guitar-playing hound begins his account of the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott. Though pictured, the dog himself isn't mentioned -- unlike "Jim Crow," who makes metaphorical appearances ("Jim Crow flew in waving his bony wings. Uh-huh. [He] landed with a will. Yes he did, child...peck, peck, peck"). Rosa Parks's resistance and Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark speech lead into the boycott itself: "We said if you don't, we won't. If you don't let us ride in any seat we wish, we won't ride at all. If you don't treat us fairly, we won't pay the fare. If we don't pay the fare, you won't have a bus business." The long year of walking, shared rides, mounting camaraderie, and the "miracle" of the Supreme Court decision are all exuberantly captured by Brian Pinkney's agile brush. He sweeps colored inks onto clay board along with freely applied black swirls, touched lightly with his familiar scratchboard technique; his illustrations, in deep blue and rich gold, eloquently express the protesters' emotions. With creativity, heart, and style, the Pinkneys capture the feel of that hopeful, heroic time. Author's note; five items "For Further Exploring." From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Grounded in the events of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, this hybrid of fact and fiction is leavened by a guitar-picking hound dog's blues-imbued narration. "This story begins with shoes. / This story is all for true. / This story walks. And walks. And walks. / To the blues." The oppressive force of Jim Crow laws is evocatively personified both textually and visually. "Jim Crow flew in waving his bony wings. And on that day, it was Rosa Parks who got Jim Crow's peck, peck, peck, right up close." Brian Pinkney's superb ink-on-board illustrations depict Jim Crow's chiaroscuro menace: Gestural, wing-like shapes flail above tense cityscapes. The text conveys the grim determination of the 40,000 participants in the 13-month-long boycott, interweaving 1956's landmark Supreme Court decision with segregation and Dr. King's Montgomery speech on the night of Parks's arrest. Parks's preceding, years-long activism in civil-rights issues is unexamined in both text and author's note, however, continuing an unfortunate silence shared with other treatments of the subject for young children. (author's note, further resources) (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* With glowing, dramatic double-page spreads and a clear rhythmic text, this large picture book tells the inspiring story of the Montgomery bus boycott. An adult who was there tells a child today how it was in language that has the beat of the blues weary, sharp, and sweet. Dog tired, that's me, says the narrator, who appears in most of the pictures as a dog strumming a guitar. Beginning with Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, the story moves on through history to Martin Luther King Jr.'s inspiring speech calling for a boycott and the many people who join the movement and refuse to ride the buses. This is one of the few Rosa Parks stories to show how long it took to defeat Jim Crow, how exhausting it was for the nonviolent protestors to walk through rain and steaming heat for more than a year, and how determined they were. Jim Crow becomes a metaphorical bird that struts and pecks, though the statement that Jim Crow flew in in 1955 may confuse readers: as the final note shows, segregation was established long before that date. The moving poetry and the art, with thick, swirling ink lines on bright washes in red, blue, purple, and green, express the dramatic confrontations and the inspiring history. Great for reading aloud, especially to the strumming of a guitar.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2008 Booklist