Ruth and the Green Bookby Calvin A. Ramsey, Floyd Cooper
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family's new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren't treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws...… See more details below
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family's new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren't treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws... Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth's family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebookand the kindness of strangersRuth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma's house in Alabama. Ruth's story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact.
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South. Ramsey drives this truth home in this story of the journey of a family traveling from Chicago to Alabama by car. "It was a BIG day at our house when Daddy drove up in our very own automobile--a 1952 Buick!...I was so excited to travel across the country!" Ruth's family encounters many of the obstacles that existed, from whites-only restrooms in gas stations to whites-only hotels: "It seemed like there were 'White Only' signs everywhere outside of our Chicago neighborhood." The Negro Motorist Green Book comes to the rescue, listing resources for black motorists in every state, and Ruth and her family make their way from safe haven to safe haven until they reach Alabama. Cooper masterfully captures the emotions of the characters, filling his pages with three-dimensional individuals. This story touches on a little-known moment in American history with elegance, compassion and humanity. (historical note) (Picture book. 7-12)
Meet the Author
Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Atlanta-based playwright, photographer, and folk art painter, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and Roxboro, North Carolina. In addition to having been a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, Calvin has a passion for travel and has lived in New York City; Santa Monica, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. John.
He is a former Advisory Board Member of the Robert Woodruff Library Special Collections at Emory University in Atlanta. He is also a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award.
His plays have been performed in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; San Francisco; Valdez, Alaska; Omaha, Nebraska; Baltimore; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
His plays include Bricktop, The Musical; The Green Book; Damaged Virtues; Canada Lee; Sherman Town, Baseball, Apple Pie and The Klan; Enlightenment; Sister Soldiers; Kentucky Avenue; Somewhere In My Lifetime; Johnny Mercer: A Man and His Music, a musical tribute to the author of Moon River and others; and The Age of Possibilities. He children's books are The Last Mule of Gee's Bend and Ruth and The Green Book.
He is the father of three children, all of whom are writers.
Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in Honor for his illustrations for The Blacker the Berry and won CSK honors for Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard Of A Land. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Cooper received a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma. In 1984 he came to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator of books and now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.
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This historical fiction book is highly recommended. The "Green Book" was true to life book that was written to help guide African-Americans travelers safely in areas (down South) that were segregated in the USA. The text is written at an easy-level (k-2nd grade, but the concepts are higher- segregation, Jim Crow Laws, discrimination, and comparing/ contrasting plot/ theme/ mood/ change of character/ perspective of a child telling the story are at above level) that supports the pictures (or vice versa) in depicting the story of a young girl and her family that travel from Chicago to Alabama. This story helps build background information for students who need help connecting with what life was really like in the year 1952 for African-Americans. My students will be discussing this book and preparing literary essays based on the thesis that this book demonstrates how African-Americans supported each other in a time when traveling South was dangerous. The book could be read for any age but may be best suited for elementary. Teachers of older student can use this book to open discussion or prior to reading a book such as the Watson's Go To Birmingham- a 6th grade novel.
Highly recommended!!! A must read for all ages. Historically correct and enlightning. A positive read especially for children.