Rosa by Nikki Giovanni – Coretta Scott King Award Winner

April 19, 2011

Rosa depicts the courageous story of Rosa Parks.  The book takes a look at the events that occured on that fateful day in 1955 when Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus.  Never before have I read an account of what happened to Rosa Parks, quite like this.  The story takes a look at Mrs. Parks’ everyday life and it describes what led to her decision to simply say “no” that day.  My favorite part is the page that depicts nothing more than Rosa Parks’ hands gripping her purse.  The text reads, “She thought about her mother and her grandmother and knew they would want her to be strong.  She had not sought this moment, but she was ready for it.”  The book goes on to explain the Montgomery bus boycott that resulted from her arrest.  It also briefly describes how segregation became illegal on November 13, 1956.  The book closes with a very powerful statment – one that sums up the entire story: “The integrity, the dignity, the quiet strength of Rosa Parks turned her no into a YES for change.”

Rosa is a very powerful story with powerful words and powerful illustrations.  The first time I read this book, tears came to my eyes as I pictured this quiet, yet proud woman stand up for herself and refuse to be treated as a lesser person because of the color of her skin.  I can only imagine the pride that her friends and family felt when they first learned of her courageous act  – one that changed our nation.  This book is amazing.  I simply do not have the words to describe how truly wonderful it is…

Image obtained from


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