Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Overview

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white man. This simple act sparked a nationwide movement for equality. Award-winning author Russell Freedman puts readers in the midst of a volatile and uplifting time. This compelling and poignant volume, illustrated with arresting black-and-white photographs from the period, is an essential addition to the Civil ...
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Overview

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white man. This simple act sparked a nationwide movement for equality. Award-winning author Russell Freedman puts readers in the midst of a volatile and uplifting time. This compelling and poignant volume, illustrated with arresting black-and-white photographs from the period, is an essential addition to the Civil Rights canon.

Selected Honors for Freedom Walkers include:
An ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Book of the Year, The Horn Book Fanfare Selection (Nonfiction), a Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, an NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor, and an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work (Youth/Teens).
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Dotsy Harland
In 1955, the law in Montgomery, Alabama, said that African Americans had to sit in the backs of buses. They were also often forced to give up their seats to whites if buses became crowded. Some African Americans tried to fight back, refusing to give up their seats, and were arrested and fined. Leaders of the local black community wanted to take this issue to federal court, but they needed just the right person to help them win. They found that person on December 1, 1955, when a woman named Rosa Parks was arrested after politely refusing to relinquish her bus seat to a white person. Black leaders were hoping to create a high-profile case, and felt that the gentle, law-abiding Parks had the maturity and strength of character necessary to see the process through. Parks's case sparked an organized boycott of Montgomery buses, bringing the bus company to its knees and setting off an explosive nationwide struggle over civil rights. Freedman, a Newbery Award-winning author, highlights this heated period of American history with sensitivity and enthusiasm. He adds interest to the familiar story of Rosa Parks by including information on many other key participants, both black and white, who were crucial to the boycott's success. Freedman's clear, fluid prose causes this excellently documented book to read like a novel. Compelling photographs of significant people and events are placed on almost every page. This book is a must for public and school library collections.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Written by an acclaimed author of nonfiction for young readers, this well-researched account of the Montgomery bus boycott is a must-read for students in the upper elementary grades and middle school. The account sets the stage for the boycott by reviewing what life was like for blacks living in the South in the 1950s. The author uses personal accounts of various citizen participants as well as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., providing powerful words and experiences for readers. The numerous black-and-white photos make it seem like this event occurred long ago, but many teachers will have actually lived through this turbulent time and can relate to it. Students today need to be informed of the courage of others and the struggles overcome to appreciate the freedoms that they do have today. A bibliography and sources for the many quotes in the book are included. The eyewitness accounts bring this story to life.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Freedman begins this outstanding history by reminding his audience that the injustices of racial segregation did not happen that long ago in the United States. Throughout the book, he gives accounts of how much coordination and sacrifice went into conducting the Montgomery Bus Boycott-far more than students are likely to imagine from the usual popular and oversimplified versions offered in textbooks and on television. There is a refreshing emphasis on depictions of regular people and forgotten local crusaders working together to make the boycott possible and triumphant, from inspiring descriptions of drivers getting up at dawn to take others to work to accounts of well-known civil-rights lawyers working to find the right plaintiff to challenge unjust laws. Freedman's prose style pulls readers into the narrative, integrating the actual recorded words and deeds of the people to tell the story. The high-quality, black-and-white photographs range from everyday scenes of African-American boycotters meeting, waiting for carpools, and protesting to representations of more famous figures, such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. Extensive chapter notes, an annotated selected bibliography, and a thorough index round out the exemplary presentation. Pair this volume with Ann Bausum's Freedom Riders (National Geographic) and Nikki Giovanni's Rosa (Holt, both 2005) for a powerful introduction to the Civil Rights Movement.-Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Beginning with the story of a college professor's frightening experience on a Montgomery bus, Freedman brings this oft-told story to an audience ready to move beyond the popular legend. Civil-rights activist E.D. Nixon was looking for the best person to be the standard-bearer in a constitutional challenge to the segregated bus system of Montgomery, Ala. Though several others had been confronted or arrested on the buses, Rosa Parks was the perfect choice. Intelligent and quiet, the 42-year-old Parks had been involved in civil-rights work for years. Her arrest was used to launch the modern Civil Rights movement, resulting in a successful strike of 381 days and the eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Alabama's bus segregation laws were unconstitutional. Freedman does a masterful job of making a complex point in history-with so many key players and pivotal events-accessible and interesting to a young audience. The focus is on everyday people acting on behalf of what was right, even before they knew it would become a movement, people who became "actors in an historical drama that changed a nation." Clear prose, well-chosen photographs and superb source notes and bibliography make this an essential source on the topic. (map, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823421954
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 58,901
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell Freedman is a distinguished author of nonfiction for young readers on American history. His work has garnered numerous awards and honors, including a Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honors, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Golden Kite Award, and many ALA Best Books for Young Adults and ALA Notable Children's Books. In 2007, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal, making him only the fifth person in the children's book industry to have received this recognition. Russell Freedman lives in New York City.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2009

    Freedom Walkers: Reader Response

    Freedom Walkers, by Russell Freedman, tells the story behind the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott. This book takes a deeper look at some of the major leaders in the boycott, such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, some of the key events that took place, and some of the thousands of unrecognized heroes that made the bus boycott possible.

    Freedom Walkers is a very enjoyable and informative book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I never fully understood the impact the boycott had on the Civil Rights Movement and how it involved so many people. I was also shocked by the fact that the boycott lasted for 381 days. The theme of freedom is fully woven into the text, which makes it extremely apparent that that is what the African Americans wanted for themselves and for future generations. Because the book gives such an accurate description of the boycott, it would help students understand the passion and work that went into it. One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this were the pictures. The fact that the pictures were real made this book even more interesting, and it also would help students understand that this actually took place. I would most certainly recommend this book in a classroom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2009

    Freedom Walkers- A very educational look at the past.

    I really enjoyed reading Freedom Walkers, I thought this book was very eye-opening and educational. It is a book that should be incorporated into the classrooms for middle school aged children. The different stories of individual people from back in the segregation times is a wonderful way to explain just exactly how life was for African-Americans. Excellent story telling paired with marvelous pictures makes this a must read for everyone.

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  • Posted October 12, 2009

    My Reader Response

    This book retells the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This book also displays the involvement of the many contributors to the movement as well as the major events.
    I thought that this book was more entertaining than a textbook, but it still was not all that engaging. On the bright side, it had a very useful index and spectacular pictures depicting the events mentioned in the text. This book also won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award. I believe that this book would be useful to fifth and sixth graders and that the themes and subjects are segregation, injustice, courage, and perseverance. Some people may be offended by how the book has bible references, violence, racism, and even death. I would still want to use this book as a reference for the events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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