Cline-Ransom writes the moving story of young civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin in this chapter-book biography that expands the She Persisted picture-book series created by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger.
Weaving together detailed historical background and personal information about Colvin’s life, Cline-Ransome brings the teen activist to life with great compassion and impressive brevity. From her humble beginnings in Pine Level, Alabama, to the loss of her sister to polio when Colvin was 13, readers learn the personal struggles the youth experienced as well as some of her triumphs, such as her frequent victories in class spelling bees, before being pushed into the spotlight for refusing to give up her seat to a White woman months before Rosa Parks would. The book very briefly discusses the politics behind why Colvin is lesser-known than Rosa Parks, focusing on community activists’ leeriness of her youth and not mentioning her pregnancy. With an eye toward the audience, the book keeps Colvin’s emotional journey at its heart even as it summarizes the boycott in conclusion. Flint’s occasional black-and-white interior illustrations emulate Boiger’s airy style, depicting Colvin with her loving family, riding in a Montgomery bus in a scene foreshadowing her history-making moment, and praying in a jail cell. Suggestions for how readers might persist appear in the backmatter.
A noteworthy start for chapter-book readers wishing to read more about young leaders of the movement.(further reading, websites) (Biography. 6-9)