Monday, April 7, 2008


A. Title: Rosa

B. Author: Nikki Giovanni

C. Illustrator: Bryon Collier

D. Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.

E. Genre: Biographical Picture Book

F. Reading Level: 4-6

G. Awards: Coretta Scott King Book Award

H. Summary: Rosa is the story of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks is the African-American woman who refused to give up her seat on a public bus. This picture book takes you through Rosa Parks' day to show her side of the story. She didn't get onto the bus intending to cause a huge scene and be remembered throughout history. Rather, Rosa was tired and just didn't want to have to get up to give someone else the seat just because he was white, or just because she was black. The March on Washington, NAACP, and Martain Luther King's speech were amoung the Civil Rights events that were also discussed in Rosa. About a year after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, the Supreme Court ruled it illegal to segregate on a bus.

I. Response: I really enjoy any picture book that has a lot of historical and educational value. I am a huge history geek, and I think in the classroom is the perfect place to share that passion. We can learn so much from what we have already accomplished or failed to accomplish. This book about Rosa Parks' life really would be a great addition for any elementary classroom library. I really liked the combined use of collages and watercolors to illustrate the different feelings and emotions going on during the heated times. The collages had a neat touch with what looked like small, torn pieces of paper that were used to create some of the illustrations. I also loved the details of the faces and the way the light and shadows fell on them; they are truly gorgeous.

J. Teaching Ideas: The number of resources to go along with Rosa are amazing. I can come up with numerous history lesson plans involving Civil Rights, African American History, empathy, etc. A simple search on Google pulled up so many ideas from credible sources. Scholastic's website has a great resource that has an activity sheet to go along with it. The activity sheet has a list of events that happen during the book Rosa and the students are supposed to fill in the order the events took place in. The lesson plan aims to reinforce the comprehension and understanding of the story and the Civil Rights Movement. Some recommended discussion questions include discuss the jobs Mr. & Mrs. Parks had and were they wealthy, segregation, the typical bus rides for African Americans, what helped Rosa to be so brave and remain in her seat, the term boycott, why does MLK Jr. take the bus boycott to a national level, etc.

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