Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
Carolrhoda Books
Another great historical tidbit we didn't know anything about! Who knew you could learn so much from picture books?
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family's new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren't treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws... Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth's family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebook—and the kindness of strangers—Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma's house in Alabama. Ruth's story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact.
Do you remember a time when you were younger and your parents bought a new (or new to you) car? Sliding around the seats, checking out where the cup holders were, marveling over power windows or individual AC vents. How much more exciting if your family has never even had a car before!

Do you also remember a time when you were young, and something wonderful was ruined by someone else's meanspiritedness? Ruthie goes through a whole range of emotions, and a little bit of growing up, on her journey to Grandma's. A great way to introduce youngsters gently to the issues of racism and of helping out a stranger. We give it a

5 out of 5.


  1. Sounds WONDERFUL. I love picture books that open the mind to a broader view of the world.

  2. Thanks for talking about this book. I really wish it had won a CSK award because it did expose me to something I knew nothing about - rare for a picture book.

  3. It's a great book, my daughter and I picked it up in the library last week and I'm anxious to share it with my students, thansk.

  4. How did Comment Challenge work out for you? Even if you didn't make the five-a-day goal, come by the Finish Line at http://www.motherreader.com/2011/01/comment-challenge-2011-finish-line.html