Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Claudette Colvin, Newbery Honor Award 2010

Award-winning books are fun for librarians. We love to predict winners, promote those books, and of course, be right! On Monday, January 18th, the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott and many other awards were announced in Boston, MA at the ALA Midwinter conference. Committees had spent the last year reading books appropriate for each award and that weekend they decided on the winners. I’ve never served on a book committee, but I have friends that have served. It is not a task taken lightly. Everyone I know that has served on any committee has worked hard and deliberated thoughtfully. When I disagree with a specific choice I am reminded to give that book a second look to try to find what the committee found.

One of the Newbery Honor winners this year was one of my favorite books of the year! Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Philip Hoose was also named the winner of the National Book Award for Young People in November. This nonfiction book tells the story of a young girl who lived in Montgomery Alabama and refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. This happened months before Rosa Parks did the same thing. Colvin was young, impetuous and didn’t quite fit the profile of someone to follow – someone to get the boycott started. Although she did not become famous, as Rosa Parks did, she was very important in the lawsuit that finally ended segregation of the Montgomery buses. She and four other plaintiffs won their suit.

Her story is one of a young girl influenced by inspiring teachers, an important cause, and a community that supported the boycott through weekly meetings to keep morale strong while students and workers had to walk to work for a year because of the boycott. Although she was not on the forefront of this issue, her story is important. Hoose takes us Alabama where we meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lawyer Fred Gay from Montgomery, the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, and the NAACP’s famous secretary, Rosa Parks. Spend some time with these people as you read this marvelous book!

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