Title: Rosa (Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Award)
Author: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher & Publication Date: Scholastic Inc., 2005
Genre: Biography, picture book
Grade Level: 2-4
Summary: This picture book biography is about Rosa Parks and the stand she took on the bus in Alabama. She was asked to move from the neutral section of the bus for a white person and she decided she was tired of doing everything for white people so she said she would not move. They had her arrested and the women of the Women's Political Council held a meeting to talk about what happened and what they should do. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was asked to come to speak with them and he did. They boycotted the buses until they were given permission to sit where ever they wanted.
Response: I thought this was a wonderful biography picture book. The text was simple and easy to read. The illustrations were amazing. The images were produced using watercolor and collage. The illustrator said he used yellow and dark hue to create the feeling of heat through his illustrations, because the heat was the main thing he noticed when he visited Montgomery, Alabama. They were almost full double-page spreads, but the text was set in a column to the side of the illustration. I was inspired by this book and I think anyone who reads it would be also. I felt the emotions of the text and images and was angry when Rosa was angry. I really enjoyed reading and learning from this book. It may seem like a simple picture book, but it is so much more!
Teaching Ideas: When I was in fifth grade my class used the whole black history month to focus on several different prominent African Americans. We had to research important African Americans in the United States and find books about them. Then we had to write a paper about their life and the things they are famous for doing. It was called a "Who Am I?" paper. We then had to dress up like the person and read our paper to the other upper elementary classes and they would try to guess who we were. I was the only student to memorize my two page paper and I was awarded extra credit. That is an option that applies from teacher to teacher. This would be a great idea for upper elementary classrooms. Rosa is a well known historical figure and this book would be a great resource for starting the unit plan.