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Ruth and the Green Book

by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Gwen Strauss
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Published by Carolrhoda, 2010
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5255-6

Ages 6 - 9

Podcast featuring this book

Young Ruth is so excited to be traveling with her parents from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma. Their 1952 “sea mist green” Buick is a thing of beauty, but other aspects of their journey turn out to be less pleasant. A gas station attendant won’t let them use the restroom. The anticipation of staying in a real hotel turns to disappointment and anger: no blacks allowed. Then they discover The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guide to businesses and homes that welcome black travelers. “I couldn’t stop reading it—all those places in all those states where we could go and not worry about being turned away.” They stay one night at the home of a black woman who welcomes them with a warm smile and a free room, and a second night at an inn where every visitor has a copy of the Green Book. “It helped to know that good black people all over the country had pitched in to help each other. It felt like I was part of one big family!” Illustrations heighten the sense of history and emotion in a fascinating picture book that stays true to a child’s perspective while illuminating the essential support African Americans provided one another in the face of mid-twentieth century racism. A historical note provides additional information on the development and uses of The Negro Motorist Green Book. (MS) ©2011 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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