Tag Archives: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Suggested Teaching Resources for Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

By Alyssa Dilday, Dalene Kolb, Maria Lopez, Theresa Miles, Yvonne Rodriguez, Janell Tymony, and Pui Wah Wong.

Abdulaleem, Maryam. “Before There Was Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin.” New York Amsterdam News, 100.4 (2009): 5.

In the articleBefore Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin,” Abdulaleem notes that while Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat officially marked the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it was the Supreme Court case Browder v. Gayle, and Claudette Colvin’s testimony in that case, that ultimately desegregated the buses. Abdaulaleem quotes Hoose’s description of Colvin’s actions: “The bus driver ordered her to get up and she refused, saying she’d paid her fare and it was her constitutional right. Two police officers put her in handcuffs and arrested her. Her school books went flying off her lap.”  “All I remember is that I was not going to walk off the bus voluntarily,” Colvin says.  Hoose says the stories of Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are wonderful, but those are the stories of people in their 30s and 40s. Colvin was fifteen. Hoose feels his book will bring a fresh teen’s perspective to the struggle to end segregation.


Aronson, Marc. “The Greatest Story Never Told: An Interview with National Book Award Winner Phillip Hoose.” School Library Journal. Ed. Phyllis L. Mandell. Posted January 1, 2010. Web. Accessed March 16, 2012. <>.

In this interview with School Library Journal, Phillip Hoose describes his experience writing Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.  After spending four years tracking down Claudette Colvin, Phillip Hoose began to write “the true story of a teen who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, AL, in 1955”.  Hoose won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for discussing Claudette Colvin’s story.  Hoose’s opinion of what Claudette did as a teenager is very high.  Hoose states, “Talk about stuff that will get you killed.  [Claudette’s story] is better than fiction, because it really happened. My challenge was to find the feelings, the emotional part, inside the story.”


“Black History Month NYC Street Ed: Before Rosa Parks Claudette Colvin.” YouTube, February 29, 2009. Web. Accessed March 16, 2012. <>

This video shows Patrick Barr’s New York City mural that commemorates Claudette Colvin.  The mural states, “Claudette Colvin was fifteen years old and was arrested six months before Rosa Parks for not giving up her bus seat in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, but because Claudette was a pregnant teenager, Rosa Parks became the symbolic leader, but Claudette Colvin is considered the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”  The other side of the mural quotes Claudette herself:  “Keep on pushing, you can’t stop now.  Move up a little higher.  Someway, somehow cause I got my pride; don’t make much sense not to keep pushing.”

Cappy, Kristen. The Understanding Courage Project. Curious City, 2009. Web. Accessed March 17, 2012. <>.

This excellent source documents the King Middle School students’ attempt to bring Claudette Colvin’s story to the community with the Understanding Courage Project.  Portland, Maine students were directed to select a quotation from Claudette Colvin that had an impact on them and illustrate their reaction; these illustrations were then displayed in the existing advertising space inside the city buses in Portland, Maine. Here you can see some of the students’ artwork and a photo of Claudette Colvin and author Philip Hoose as they react to the completed project. There is also a link to a similar project organized by the students at the University of California, Berkeley.

Folley, Marquette. “381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott.” Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service . Ed. Steve Arnold. Smithsonian Institution, Apr. 2010. Web.  Accessed March 3, 2012. <>.

This is the site for a traveling photography exhibit that toured the southern United States between December 2005 and April 2010 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Though the exhibit can no longer be visited in person, the photographs can be viewed at this site, bringing to life the events that Claudette Colvin put into motion by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white woman. In addition, you can also download the exhibition brochure, which includes an essay by Charles E. Cobbs Jr. (professor of Africana Studies at Brown University) on the lasting significance of the boycott on the civil rights movement.

Levine, Ellen S. Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories. New York: Puffin Books, 2000.

Freedom’s Children is a great resource for those interested in finding out more about the contributions of children and young adults during the civil rights movement. This collection includes thirty true stories about young African Americans who, like Claudette Colvin, faced violence, humiliation, and even death to stand up for their right to equality. In addition to Claudette Colvin, Levine introduces teenager James Robertson of Birmingham, Alabama, who would organize demonstrations on city buses in which activists would remove the color board that divided the bus and sit wherever they pleased.

McDaniel, Kelley. “Curriculum Guide: Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice.” Word Press Blog. Web. Accessed March 3, 2012. <>.

This Curriculum Guide, created by Kelley McDaniel, Librarian of King Middle School in Portland, Maine, is an excellent resource for teachers to use in the classroom. It aims to make students think critically about the actions of Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks, and the African-American community by providing questions that prompt group discussion. Additionally, the Discussion Guide describes the creation of a community art installation titled “Understanding Courage,” in which students chose a quotation from the book and wrote their reactions to it; these reactions were placed on the interior advertising spaces of city buses.  (See Cappy, above).


Staino, Rocco. “Hoose’s Claudette Colvin Wins National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.” School Library Journal. Ed. Phyllis L. Mandell. Posted November 18, 2009. Web. Accessed March 16, 2012. <>.

In the article “Hoose’s Claudette Colvin Wins National Book Award for Young People’s Literature,” author Philip Hoose discusses winning the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and his journey with the School Library Journal.  For his book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, 2009), Hoose spent four years tracking down the now seventy-year-old Colvin, whose courageous act took place just nine months before Rosa Parks’s same stand became a symbol of the Civil Rights movement.  Hoose states, “‘I know they [referring to high school students today] hear the story of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks every Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month, but the immediacy of it, what it would have felt like, how humiliating it was, how unfair it was every day, I think the emotional part of that is fading.  I’m glad to restore it, to try to help. It’s a part of American history that really needs to be remembered.’”


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A Biography of Phillip Hoose

By Yvonne Rodriguez and Pui-wah Wong

Phillip Hoose was born on May 31, 1947 in Speedway, Indiana. He attended school at Indiana University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Cappy). He and his wife, Sandi Ste. George, have two children, Hannah and Ruby. Originally Hoose wrote for adults, and then later focused on children’s and young-adult books in order to relate more with his two daughters (Robinson). Not only is Phillip Hoose a well-known author, he is also known for his songwriting and music. He is a member of a band, Chipped Enamel, as well as a founding member of the Children’s Music Network (Amandolare). He has a love of history and has tied this into his many works about young adults. Some of Hoose’s works include: Hoosiers (1995); Hey, Little Ant (1998); We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History (2001); It’s Our World Too! (2002); The Race to Save the Lord God Bird (2004); Perfect Once Removed (2006); Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice (2009); and Moonbird (2012) (Cappy).

Hoose first learned about Claudette Colvin while he was writing his book We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History. He later wrote Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice hoping the book would inspire young readers to learn about the Montgomery bus protests and about how  segregation in the public transportation system came to an end. Claudette Colvin was the first in the south to refuse to give her seat to a white person. She, along with three other women (Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) was a plaintiff in the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit, which ended the legal discrimination that existed in the public transportation system in Montgomery (Augenbraum). Hoose says he wanted to write about Claudette because she had influenced human rights movements at a young age. By writing this book, Hoose hoped to present Claudette in a new light because her courage was “far too important to be forgotten” (Cappy).

Hoose has played an important role in children’s literature. Besides the role of  author, Hoose also acts as a researcher, an advocate, a guest speaker, and a role model for conservation. For instance, in an interview between Hoose and Marc Aronson, Hoose told Aronson that in writing his other book, We Were There Too!, he took six years to complete his research and writing (Aronson). In his books, he celebrates the social contributions of young people; he motivates teens to take a stand against injustice; he promotes peace, respect and perseverance; he helps youths to empower themselves; he promotes awareness of cultural diversity; and he promotes the ethical treatment of nature (Phillip Hoose).

In Claudette Colvin, Hoose also examines how adults’ prejudices and stereotypes regarding young people might have lifelong adverse effects. As an example, Hoose relates that people described Colvin as smart and explains that she had a dream to be a lawyer and/or President of the United States (Hoose 12, 56, 124).  However, her life changed after she took a stand for her human rights: she was convicted of violating the segregation law, disturbing the peace, and “assaulting” one of the police officers when she was dragged off the bus. Although the first two convictions were discharged after an appeal, the third conviction of “assaulting” one of the police officers was maintained. Colvin felt resentful at the appeal court’s decision in maintaining the third conviction because she had to bear a lifelong criminal record for a crime she did not commit (49, 54).  To make matters worse, after her arrest, most of her school’s teachers, parents, and students looked down on her protest. They whispered that she was a trouble maker and that she deserved the criminal charges (42).  As Hoose’s work shows, Colvin’s dreams might have come true had she not been criticized as “emotional” and “uncontrollable” by her community (52).

Hoose was honored to be the first non-fiction author to win the Young Reader’s National Book Award in 2009 for Claudette Colvin (Aronson). He was also winner of the Christopher Award for his book Its Our World, Too!: Young People Who Are Making aDifference. Further, Hoose also won the Parents’ Choice Award for his books We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History and The Race to Save the Lord God Bird.  His books have also been nominated for the Newbery, Robert F. Sibert, YALSA, Young Adult Library Services Association, Jane Addams Children’s Book, and American Library Association Book Awards (Phillip Hoose).

Works Cited

Amandolare, Sarah. “Phillip Hoose, Author of “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice”. Finding Dulcinea. Dulcinea Media Inc., 2010. Web. 20 February 2012.  <–Author-of–Claudette Colvin-Twice-Toward-Justice-html>

Aronson, Marc. “The Greatest Story Never Told.” School Library Journal 2010.  56.1 (2010):30-33. Database: OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Calif.State Univ.,Fullerton, Pollak Library. 10 Mar. 2012

Augenbraum, Harold. “National Book Foundation.” National Book Foundation, 2007.  Web. 20 February 2012.<>

Cappy , Kirsten . “Word Press.” Phillip Hoose. N.p., 03 November 2011. Web. 20 February 2012. <>

Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin.  New York: Square Fish, 2011.

Phillip Hoose. “Claudette Colvin”. Phillip Hoose.  2 Mar.  2012 <>

Robinson, Dick. “Biography Phillip Hoose.” Scholastic., 2010.  Web. 4 Apr 2012.<>


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