Disclosure: This book was provided by Penguin Group for review purposes. You can find out more about the Ordinary People Change the World series at their website.
About the Book:
I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos is a picture book biography that introduces the reader not only to the life of an important historical figure, but also encourages children to stand up for themselves.
Brad Meltzer chose to tell Rosa Parks’s story from childhood and in first person, which immediately draws in young readers and makes her life relatable. He reveals an event from when she was young where she was knocked to the ground by a white boy on roller skates. The way she remains calm and assertive parallels what happens later in life when she refuses to give up her seat on a bus with segregated seating. In Meltzer’s hands, Rosa Parks is a role model for the ages.
In addition, Christopher Eliopoulos’s lighthearted cartoon drawings appeal to children, particularly reluctant readers. He emphasizes Rosa Parks’s diminutive statue, keeping her more childlike even as an adult.
I am Rosa Parks is an excellent addition to any bookshelf. Of course, it is a wonderful choice to have on hand for both Black History Month and Women’s History Month. However, it’s also a book to have on hand for a child who has difficulty speaking up, being assertive, or who is being bullied. Who can’t benefit from something like that one time or another in their lives?
Want to see what’s in the book for yourself? See the author reading to book in the video below.
Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Dial Books (June 17, 2014)
Activities Inspired by the Book:
- Rosa Parks’s Bus
In the book we learn Rosa Parks encounters a bus driver who tells her to “Get off my bus.” As she points out, the bus really belongs to everyone. What do you think she’d say if she found out that these days people call it the Rosa Parks bus? (See a photograph of the Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum.)
Read the book or another biography of Rosa Parks. Encourage the children to draw or make a bus to honor her. Projects can ranges from cut out shape collage to paintings, depending on the age of the children. Look on Pinterest for tons of craft ideas, for example here.
2. Public Transportation
Not only was Rosa Parks a hero, but all the people who boycotted the buses for months afterwards were heroes, too. Depending on the age of the children, have them explore methods of public transportation in your community. Challenge older children to try alternative transportation to school for a day, such as walking or biking. If they come to school in a car, perhaps they could try taking a bus or train. Always keep safety in mind, though.
About the author:
Brad Meltzer seemingly does it all. He hosts TV shows, writes novels for adults, and still has time to pen children’s book biographies. The one thread that ties them all together is his love of history. See more at Brad Meltzer’s website.
If you have a few minutes, watch Brad Meltzer’s hilarious video storytime. In this episode he reads and discusses I am Rosa Parks. Can you imagine having this guy for a dad?
About Multicultural Children’s Book Day:
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
See our previous post for more about the event and free stuff you can get by participating.