History Comics: Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin
I’ve been impressed by the majority of the History Comics line for their modern, sensible approaches to stories, well-known or not, that younger readers will find interesting.
The tale of Rosa Parks, whose refusal to be sent to the back of the bus kicked off the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and eventual desegregation of transit, is fairly well-known. By incorporating the earlier resistance of the Claudette Colvin, who wasn’t as respectable and photogenic a figurehead for a movement, this story will be fresh for many readers. History Comics: Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin is written by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Shauna J. Grant.
The text is specific about the teenaged Colvin being too young, too dark-skinned, and too poor to be the right test case. Most of the book follows her story, giving a young audience an immediate sympathy with the events. It’s not always happy, as the book points out that Colvin and Parks (and others who took a stand) were often ignored by the male leaders of the movement, left to struggle to make a living on their own. Yet their determination made a difference.
I particularly appreciated Grant’s art; the figures are simply styled, allowing for reader identification, and the key players are memorable and admirable. The title is a bit misleading, as most of the book is about Colvin, but her story is lesser-known and thus more interesting.
This series of events is a key marker in civil rights history. The narrator and the open, friendly art style make History Comics: Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin an enlightening read with something new to say.
(The publisher provided an advance digital review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)