Jaclyn Giordano's Reviews > Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Claudette Colvin by Phillip M. Hoose
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Apr 30, 10

bookshelves: award-winning-nonfiction
Read from April 26 to 30, 2010

"Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" by Phillip Hoose is an award-winning, nonfiction chapter book intended for readers in grades seven through twelve. This book has won numerous awards, including recognition as a 2010 Recommended Book for the National Council of English Teacher Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, which is an award that recognizes “excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children” and looks at areas of accuracy, organization, design, and style (www.ncte.org/awards). This text was also honored as a 2010 Honor Book for the Robert F. Sibert Award, which recognizes excellent use of language, presentation, organization, documentation, appropriateness, and accuracy in distinguished texts. This text was also honored as the 2010 winner of the Carter G. Woodson Book Award, which recognizes “the most distinguished social science books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States” with sensitivity and accuracy (http://www.socialstudies.org/awards/w...). "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" was also a 2010 Newbery Medal Honor Book. The Newbery Medal honors distinguished texts with accurate interpretations of concepts, clear presentation of information, development of plot, delineation of characters and setting, and appropriateness of style. "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" has won many other literature awards and is on numerous Best Books of 2009 lists.

Phillip Hoose is an award-winning author of many acclaimed texts. He graduated from Yale University and is also an accomplished songwriter and musician (www.philliphoose.com). In "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice," Hoose recounts a young woman during the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger—sparking a conflict that would begin a Movement.

Phillip Hoose carefully and extensively creates authority in "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice." In his Author’s Note, Hoose details the story of his initial research of the text, from Internet searches, to article searches in "USA Today," and the 14 extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin herself. Hoose even states, “Claudette let me read aloud the text of the entire book to her, sometimes stopping me to make corrections or to change the emphasis of a particular account.” Also, Hoose includes a bibliography in this text, with a long list of reputable and researched books, websites, and articles he used in gathering facts to tell this accurate story. In his Notes section, Hoose refers to sources of quoted material gained from additional interviews with other sources. Overall, Hoose demonstrates clear authority, as he has extensively shown and clearly credits evidence of research, notes, and consultations of experts in his journey of creating this text.

Along with authority, "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" also demonstrates accuracy. Page by page, clear photographs with fact-filled captions integrate and highlight important historical facts and events that escalate this story. Historical news articles and informational and enriching page inserts also are presented clearly and reference real events and people. Claudette Colvin’s personal feelings and ideas, which are personal, emotional, and subjective, are clearly distinguished from the historical, objective facts by clearly showing Claudette’s name next to her personal words and vignettes. Hoose’s clear research and careful writing creates very accurate writing.

This text is appropriate for its intended age range of grades seven through twelve. It may even be accessible to younger readers if done as a read aloud. Hoose’s style of integrating personal memoir with historical facts, with suspenseful details and stories building anticipation and emotion, will engage and motivate older readers to complete and find resolution to this emotional story. If used in classrooms, teachers may have to give students clear information and frontloading of topics that may be controversial for the intended audience: violence, death, brutality, pregnancy, and racism. If taught with sensitivity and respect for the topic, this text is appropriate for its intended audience. This text’s message of one individual creating such a big difference and helping launch a movement is crucial and appropriate for this intended audience. As "Booklist’s" review of this text states, “this inspiring title shows the incredible difference that a single young person can make, even as it demonstrates the multitude of interconnected lives that create and sustain a political movement” (www.amazon.com).

The literary artistry within this text perfectly creates and recounts this incredibly emotional and poignant time in history. The organization of combining and interweaving personal memoir and accounts along with historical facts and documents helps “provide a uniquely personal view of Colvin and the Civil Rights Movement” (www.ala.org). The beginning, middle, and end is told, creating an organization within this text that is engaging and whole. This time in history comes alive with personal stories, quotations, recollections, and memories of historic events during the Civil Rights Movement. Personal questions asked to the reader create empathy and an emotional connection. Questions such as “who wouldn’t cry?” after Colvin’s arrest help the reader put his or herself in Colvin’s place. Famous quotes, from historical figures like Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman, open each chapter, truly encapsulating how a whole society, a whole culture, a whole nation, was involved in this Movement. Similes like “I felt like a dog” produce such strong emotion and really place the reader right at this place in history, feeling looked down upon but demanding change and equality. This text, with descriptive and emotional narratives and facts, strong language, and a captivating story, creates an amazing text with literary artistry.

The attractiveness of this text comes from its many photographs, inserts, captions, and famous quotes. As "Booklist’s" review of this text states, “on each attractively designed spread, text boxes and archival images, including photos and reproduced documents, extend the gripping story” (www.amazon.com). The yellow cover and young girl’s face and newspaper clippings adorning it demand attention and further inquiry. Readers are enticed to read this young person’s story through both images and words.

"Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice," with its authority, accuracy, appropriateness, literary artistry, and attractiveness, is a text that truly engages and captures readers with an amazing tale of equality, diversity, and demand for true justice.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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MissDziura Awesome review Jackie! I completely agree with you on all the elements of an award-winning text, and believe Hoose's book exceeds each in a very moving way. I like how you mentioned that the text can be used with younger readers, if there is a fair amount of frontloading done first in order for students to comprehend the brutality of the times and her own struggles as a teenage mother. You did an excellent job going over each award the book received, and I like how you mentioned using the quotes found at the beginning of each chapter as a jumping off for discussion. Great job!


Jaclyn Giordano Amanda,

Thanks for the positive feedback. I think, if this text is used appropriately, then its appropriateness could expand to a wide audience. This point helps us remember to always preview and read texts before presenting them to our students! I believe we can still be authentic, innovative, and creative in teaching even though we may have read a book, even multiple times! Thanks for your comments!

Jaclyn Giordano


Sunday Great review. You make a clear case, with multiple sources cited, for accuracy, authenticity, literary artistry, attractiveness, and appropriateness - all criteria for a high quality information (hybrid in this case) text.


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