Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds
January 2, 2012 in Books With Social Studies Content, character education, Elementary Educators, Helping Girls and Women Around the World, multicultural books, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills Tags: 6 +1 traits of writing, Black History Month, Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Rosa Parks
Before I post about this beautiful picture book, Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds, I wanted to announce the winner of Mari L. McCarthy’s journaling giveaway contest. The winner is J. C. Nierad, and she chose Mari’s Musefull Journalling book. Congrats, J. C. To everyone else, I hope you will consider going to Mari’s website TODAY and signing up for the 27-day journaling challenge or get one of her other journaling products. Here’s the link: http://www.createwritenow.com
Back of the Bus Written by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
*Picture book, historical fiction (Civil Rights), preschool through 3rd graders
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: Teachers, parents, librarians, and home schoolers are always looking for a new way to share Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work and Rosa Park’s bravery with children. Back of the Bus is creative, interesting, and touching, while teaching about this turbulent time in history.
Short, short summary: Looking for a book to share around MLK day or during February, Black History Month? This is a good one. A young African-American boy is in the back of the bus, “where he belongs”, with his mama, and he is playing with a marble. He rolls the marble up front, and he sees a black hand reach down and grab it. It’s Mrs. Parks–he knows her from the tailor shop. But then the bus stops and they aren’t going anywhere. People want Mrs. Parks to get up and give her seat to a white man, but she refuses. The boy waits on the hot bus for the police to come and watches them put Mrs. Parks in handcuffs and off to jail. This is the Rosa Parks story told from a young boy’s POV, a young boy who was at the back of the bus.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This book has a STRONG voice, so you definitely want to bring this to your students’ attention–and use this book when discussing the 6 + 1 traits of writing, Voice. You can read your students a book about Rosa Parks that is nonfiction, and then you can read this book. Do they hear the personality of the main character in the historical fiction book? Which do they like better?
2. Discuss characters’ feelings with this book. What is the boy feeling? How do children know? (Use illustrations and text to support answers). How about Rosa Parks? How about the boy’s mom?
3. If students do not have background knowledge about why black people had to sit in the back of the bus in the south in the 1950s, then give them a quick lesson before the book. You can do a KWL chart before reading. Students tell you what they know about Rosa Parks, segregation laws, the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. You can also take things they want to learn and put this in the middle column. When finished reading and discussing, fill out the LEARN column with kids.