cover image I Am Rosa Parks: 7

I Am Rosa Parks: 7

Rosa Parks, James Haskins. Dial Books, $13.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1206-5

Thoughtfully targeting their audience, Parks and Haskins reshape and simplify the events they recounted in Rosa Parks: My Story, making this Easy-to-Read book just that. Incorporating age-appropriate definitions of such concepts as segregation and boycotts, Parks's first-person account laces together brief, straightforward sentences that pack powerful messages: ""There was no school bus for us,"" she writes, describing her childhood. ""Sometimes when we walked to school, the bus would go by, carrying the white children. They would laugh at us and throw trash out the window. There was no way to stop them."" The book's opening sequence, an account of Parks's pivotal arrest on a Montgomery bus, use dialogue to give the narrative an immediacy and urgency (""Why do you push us black people around?"" Parks boldly asks the arresting officer); this is, curiously, the only chapter in which the authors use this technique. Clay's (The House in the Sky) paintings, almost one per page, vary from overdramatized tableaux to subtle reinterpretations of historical photographs. These latter illustrations are particularly effective in bolstering the book's inspiring portrayal of a major civil-rights activist. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)