Rosa Parks by Eloise Greenfield

Written by Denise Turney

Rosa Parks
By Eloise Greenfield, Illustrated by Gil Ashby
ISBN:  0-06-027110-8
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Available:  Bookstores everywhere

When Rosa Parks grew up in Montgomery, Alabama she witnessed firsthand the unfair rules and laws that brown skinned people in America were told they must live by, rules such as drinking out of special water fountains, using special bathrooms, not being allowed to eat at lunch counters in the main section of a restaurant to being told they must ride at the back of the bus. 

Rosa Parks written by Eloise Greenfield and, being a children’s book, also illustrated by Gil Ashby, not only captures the truths about the challenges Rosa Parks and others actively engaged in the Civil Rights Movement faced in effort to bring a better day for all Americans despite the color of their skin, the book also teaches readers both young and older alike, more about Rosa Parks than they may have beforehand known. 

The writer of Rosa Parks, Eloise Greenfield, also having written eleven other books among which include:  Africa Dream, Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems, Me and Neesie and Talk About a Family demonstrates her skill at capturing the depth of a person she is writing about. 

After having read countless books about the Civil Rights Movement when I was a child myself and into my adult years, I came away with a sense of awe after reading this book.  I came away with a greater knowledge about Rosa Parks, a woman who took the steps which set the cycles of change for greater good into motion.

Children ages eight and up as well as adults will enjoy Rosa Parks.  It provides sufficient facts about Ms. Parks to allow its readers to gain a deep appreciation for one of America’s heroines.  A sense of forgiveness threads each of the pages.  Just as persons from time ago learned to value all humans and that to practice segregation and discrimination against even one person signaled a lowering of all people’s including the person/s choosing to engage in discrimination, the story provides a message for continual learning about our histories, our challenges and our triumphs.

I came away with an empowering and positive feeling when I finished this delightful yet very educational read.  Oddly enough I purchased and read the book because I wanted to keep my promise to read and review books for children, a population we must continuously encourage to read, write and exercise their literacy skills.  At the book’s end, I realized I kept reading the book because it had captured my attention, because the writing was so vivid, so well paced and balanced, it made me laugh, made me angry, made me hopeful.

Rosa Parks is a story anyone wishing to educate a young person about historic figures should add to their reading list.  It is a story that will leave you grateful for the choices Rosa Parks and others from the Civil Rights Movement made, choices that each of us benefits from today.


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