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Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott

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Georgia Gilmore was a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama. When the bus boycotts broke out in Montgomery after Rosa Parks was arrested, Georgia knew just what to do. She organized a group of women who cooked and baked to fund-raise for gas and cars to help sustain the boycott. Called the Club from Nowhere, Georgia was the only person who knew who baked and bought the food, and she said the money came from "nowhere" to anyone who asked. When Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for his role in the boycott, Georgia testified on his behalf, and her home became a meeting place for civil rights leaders. This picture book highlights a hidden figure of the civil rights movement who fueled the bus boycotts and demonstrated that one person can make a real change in her community and beyond.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published November 6, 2018

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About the author

Dee Romito

12 books244 followers
Dee Romito’s middle grade novels, THE BFF BUCKET LIST, NO PLACE LIKE HOME, BEST. NIGHT. EVER. and POSTCARDS FROM VENICE, are available from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, along with her debut picture book PIES FROM NOWHERE, from Little Bee Books. Watch for the FORT BUILDERS, INC. early chapter book series coming in 2020!

When she's not writing, you’re likely to find her on adventures with her husband and two energetic kids, at the local ice cream shop, or curled up in a comfy chair with her cats. She loves to read, travel, and giggle like a teenager with her friends.

Dee blogs at http://writeforapples.com and you can visit her website at http://DeeRomito.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 129 reviews
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,934 reviews687 followers
May 15, 2019
The bus boycotts in Montgomery were a hard time for lots of people who took a stand when Rosa Parks was arrested for just wanting a seat on a bus. Georgia Gilmore and a group of women started cooking to fund-raise in support of the boycott. This unsung hero will help children understand that everyone can stand up to injustice and help support others.
Profile Image for Christina Carter.
242 reviews32 followers
October 22, 2018
Note: This is a review of an advance reader copy. The book releases on November 6th, 2018

When I think about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, I naturally think of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and more recently, I now also think of Claudette Colvin who had also refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. I know about her because of Phillip Hoose's book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.

I appreciate the power of nonfiction text to teach us, and Dee Romito's latest book is no exception. Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott was an extraordinary read because it taught me about "a hidden figure of history" whom I will now never ever forget! It thrills me to read a book like this that highlights the work and legacy of an unsung hero of the civil rights movement like Georgia Gilmore. Her contribution was remarkable because she used something she was passionate about to make a real difference. An admirable, humble act of generosity was just the right ingredient to affect change.

Hearing the news of the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger stirred up a call to action in Georgia. And having been treated poorly herself by the bus drivers, she knew she had to do her part to fight for justice. She helped the cause by doing something that she was pretty good at...cooking. With her group, The Club from Nowhere, the team cooked and sold food, putting them in the position to donate money, to purchase gasoline, and eventually station wagons as well that would be used in the carpool system. What an incredible accomplishment! Georgia's story inspires me so much. It makes me believe that I can use whatever gifts and talents I have been given to make a real difference.

Pies from Nowhere is illustrated by Laura Freeman who uses such rich colors that beautifully complements the text. The book ends with an author's note that gives the reader more information about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, discusses the Supreme Court ruling in 1956 on the matter, and more about Georgia and The Club from Nowhere. There is also a recipe at the very end for Georgia Gilmore's homemade pound cake that I was especially excited to see.

Thank you, Dee Romito, for sharing Georgia's story with the world. I will certainly be sharing this book with my students. My 4th-grade social studies teacher is already making plans to borrow this book from our library right away so she can read it to her students. It hasn't even hit the shelves yet and it is already on hold!
Profile Image for Angela.
320 reviews8 followers
December 19, 2018
Such a clear, lovely, accessible book about one of the "foot soldiers" of the Civil Rights Movement. This is a great reminder that it wasn't just people like MLK and Rosa Parks, but hundreds of women and men who walked, cooked, gave, and fought for their rights and freedom. And it will help inspire kids who don't want to be in the spotlight, but still want to make a difference for causes they believe in. You don't have to make speeches - you can feed the people, and that is just as important.
Profile Image for Laura Harrison.
999 reviews111 followers
December 6, 2018
I just adore Pies From Nowhere...fascinating read with truly unique and warm illustrations. Completely under most ppls radar, I believe it could be a 2019 award winner.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
2,126 reviews88 followers
February 11, 2019
This is a perfect Black History Month read-aloud, and draws much-needed attention to the work of women in the civil rights movement.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.1k reviews271 followers
November 20, 2018
Civil rights books are filled with the amazing stories of many individuals who made contributions to the Movement, but this picture book tells a story with which most students and historians will not be familiar. While those who took a stand and spoke out and urged the citizens of Montgomery, Alabama to stay off those buses back in 1955 and 1956 were important, there were others working behind the scenes to help make that bus boycott a success. This picture book tells the story of Georgia Gilmore, who worked at a segregated restaurant before being fired for being involved in the bus boycott. Inspired by the oration and actions that seemed to promise change, she gathered together some talented women who liked to cook, prepared tasty means that they sold at the church meetings and in the neighborhood, and donated the profits to help fund the boycott. I had never thought about where the money came from to pay for the cars and gas used to transport the individuals who no longer rode those buses. I suppose I just assumed that everyone walked or got rides from other friendly folks. Thus, I had no idea that from a humble kitchen came the proceeds that fueled the movement and kept the bus boycott working. The author provides fascinating details such as how the transactions were made in cash so there was no trace of who was buying the food and that Georgia didn't reveal the identity of the others working with her or even that it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who loved her food and suggested that she start her own restaurant. There is an Author's Note that tells even more about Georgia and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and there is even a recipe for her pound cake. These words from Georgia might serve well to inspire each of us: "You cannot be afraid if you want to accomplish anything. You got to have the willing, the spirit, and above all, you got to have the get-up" (unpaged). Wise words, indeed, Georgia, wise words, indeed. The brightly-colored illustrations complement this important story well while the text provides a vivid reminder that no matter what our gifts and talents, no matter how big or small we or they may be, we can make a difference in the world around us. I'm thrilled to add this to my collection of civil rights books and just as thrilled to see attention brought to this woman.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
38 reviews3 followers
May 23, 2018
This is a wonderful and engaging book that introduces children to a little known (outside of Montgomery, Alabama) figure in the fight for Civil Rights. The illustrations are dynamic, rich and realistic. The colors saturate each page and the text brings them to life. Dee Romito is clearly devoted to the topic and the tale of Georgia Gilmore, Rosa Parks, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott is conveyed through a window of realism and truth. Very well done and highly recommended for families and libraries!
Profile Image for Amanda.
3,658 reviews30 followers
November 13, 2018
"You cannot be afraid if you want to accomplish anything. You got to have the willing, the spirit, and above all, you got to have the get-up." ~Georgia Gilmore

We are given talents and choices in life, what we do with those (both small and great) can determine our path. Georgia's path took a mighty direction through her open heart, her determination, her discretion, and her gifts for cooking and baking.
Profile Image for Earl.
3,501 reviews40 followers
November 21, 2018
A great spotlight on someone who played a role during a crucial period of the Civil Rights movement. I love learning about someone who I've never heard of before. It's like getting a piece of a puzzle I didn't know I was missing. I hope it inspires people that they can do practically anything they can think of to do good in the world and that they should do it. Includes an author's note and a pie recipe.
Profile Image for Douglas.
141 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2019
An outstanding read for young people because it doesn't center on historical celebrities. It isn't that the famous aren't deserving of praise - it's that it's important to remember the everyday people that actively worked to change the political reality of racist America. Mother Georgia Gilmore was one of those people and the author and illustrator nailed it. Extra points for the 'Chicago Defender' reference.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,020 reviews17 followers
November 11, 2018
Fascinating story about secret fighters in the Civil Rights Movement during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I loved reading about Georgia Gilmore and her nowhere helpers helping by feeding people and gathering money to contribute to the cause during the boycott. Wonderful illustrations and powerful story.
Profile Image for Sandi Van.
Author 6 books14 followers
November 7, 2018
Wonderfully written and illustrated. An inspiring story of how we can all do our part to stand up for what's right!
Profile Image for Alice.
3,480 reviews1 follower
July 18, 2018
Well crafted introduction to one of the lesser known heroes of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Fight.

I received this book as a galley.
Profile Image for Dion.
39 reviews2 followers
December 6, 2018
What a fantastic book about an unsung hero of the civil rights movement! This book has engaging text, and lovely illustrations, and it even includes a recipe! An excellent read.
Profile Image for Almira.
545 reviews2 followers
September 19, 2020
This is an exceptional look into the background of Georgia Gilmore, and her courageous actions to help feed her community during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
At this time in our country's history we need more people willing to take a stand for equality just like Mrs. Gilmore did all those years ago.
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 22 books501 followers
July 31, 2019
I just read this picture book at the library, and it brought tears to my eyes. THIS right here is how you change the world. I'm so glad to have discovered this historical figure. Great illustrations too. ;)
Profile Image for Tara Alyssa.
55 reviews
April 19, 2019
I love reading about unsung heroes, and Georgia Gilmore’s story is wonderful. This picture book is beautifully illustrated, and it’s a great segue to learn more about her. It makes me want some good home cooking now. I wish I had the privilege to try her pies and famous macaroni and cheese. Food really does bring people together: young and old, black and white. What an inspirational story.
Profile Image for Vannessa Anderson.
Author 1 book171 followers
October 30, 2019
When I opened the book the first thing I saw was a picture of a pie and it looked so good it made my stomach growl and all of the illustrations assisted in drawing me into the story.

This is a true story where we follow Georgia Gilmore from her youth when she lived on a farm in Alabama where her mother taught her how to be a humanitarian to adulthood during the turbulent time when Foundational Blacks a/k/a American Descendants of Slavery were fighting for their civil rights and Georgia’s role in the civil rights movement.

Pies From Nowhere How Georgia Gilmore sustained The Montgomery Bus Boycott was an important and informative read for youth and adults.
Profile Image for Ember Air.
548 reviews15 followers
February 11, 2019

What an amazing story! I haven't ever experienced this part of the history behind the Civil Rights Movement before and found it fascinating! This book sings the tale of the silent pushers of the movement; those behind the scenes that kept everything going, without whom the movement might have died before it accomplished all the amazing things it did! The end of the book has a great many sources for those interested in learning more about both the Nowhere Club, and some of the individuals you meet during this story. I highly suggest this book to everyone!
Profile Image for Jj.
1,159 reviews34 followers
February 16, 2019
This is a book that tells a great true story in an accessible way. It would be a useful and interesting starter for a discussion with kids about food and social justice, as well as grassroots activism. It would also be a great title to include with other books and materials about pie for Pie Day (January 23), which would provide a good (sneaky) opportunity for discussion of why we hear the phrase "as American as apple pie" and what that might really mean. Oh, since that is later January... well, with Black History month right around the corner in February, what better way to usher it in?
Author 5 books3 followers
December 28, 2018
Loved reading this biography of Georgia Gilmore, a woman of will, strength, and courage who helped the Montgomery Bus Boycott succeed through her gift of fine food. How I wish I could have known her, purchased her homemade pies and lunches to raise money for "the cause" for which she and many others labored.

The Author's Note holds impressive facts not found in the text.
The bibliography provides sources for additional reading and research.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,609 reviews5 followers
January 13, 2019
Another biography about a "new to me" person. Ms. Gilmore lived in Montgomery, AL during the bus boycott and was instrumental in funding it. She created the "NOwhere Club that baked and cooked food to sell and then the profits were given to buy gas, cars, and maintenance to keep up the transportation during the boycott. After the boycott was over, she continued to sell food and she hosted many meetings, including Dr. King, President Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy.
Profile Image for Rcltigger.
180 reviews
January 16, 2019
I really enjoy history books that focus on the personal contribution to the historical event. Georgia Gilmore was a a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama when the bus boycott occurred. She had given up riding the bus a couple of months before because of how she was treated by bus drivers, and decided to help in the movement by forming a group of women who cooked food and sold it to raise money for the boycott. It's a great story. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sarah.
800 reviews55 followers
December 21, 2018
I love picture books that shine a light on lesser known figures in history. Georgia Gilmore aided the Montgomery bus boycott with her time and talent cooking. She organized other women to use their gifts to help this movement. This gives young folks a wonderful example of how many different ways there are to help when we see wrong in the world.
Profile Image for Raven Black.
1,964 reviews5 followers
November 6, 2018
The unsung heroes of a story are just as important or more so sometimes, then the ones that get their names in the history books. And Ms. Gilmore did a very important thing... she feed people. An army can't go far on an empty stomach.
November 6, 2018
An inspirational story about a lesser known figure of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Fight!
Profile Image for Rajani LaRocca.
Author 21 books440 followers
November 6, 2018
What a fantastic book about an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement! This book has engaging text, and lovely illustrations, and it even includes a recipe! A fascinating read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 129 reviews

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