My favorite event in history is the Montgomery Bus Boycott, so as my children have gotten older, I feel like it is time to share my admiration for the event with them. From school, they know the basics of the event, and key players Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which is a plus. We recently read a book that facilitated a little more of our conversation.
Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney was a great picture book to deepen our conversation about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.
In this book, the storyteller is a “dog-tired” dog who is playing the Blues and Jim Crow is a large black cloud that is surrounding Montgomery during the event. These symbolic aspects are conversation pieces themselves, but we didn’t delve too much into that. We focused more on the logistics of the event itself, including talking about how Dr. King was involved and the unification of the Black community during the Boycott. Even after we were finished with the book, we had conversations about related people and events, including Ruby Bridges.
This book is poetically written, and reading it aloud in the right cadence added to the beauty of the book. As with all books illustrated by Pinkney, the pictures do a great job of showcasing the mood of this historical event.
So, I’m sharing our bedtime read experience not only because Boycott Blues is a great book, but also because if there’s a historical event that you want your children to know more about, finding a picture book to help you start that conversation is a wonderful starting point.