Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BOYCOTT BLUES by Andrea Davis Pinkney


How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation

by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-082118-0
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

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)