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In 1854, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.
One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way to church. Though there were plenty of empty seats, she was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened all because of her race--even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court--where future president Chester Arthur represented her--and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation, and Lizzie's case set a precedent. Author Beth Anderson and acclaimed illustrator E. B. Lewis bring this inspiring, little-known story to life in this captivating book.
About the Author
Beth Anderson, a former teacher, combines her love of writing with the joys of discovery and learning in her narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books. Visit bethandersonwriter.com.
E.B. Lewis is an award-winning illustrator and fine artist who has illustrated over seventy books for children. He teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Visit eblewis.com.
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book ILA Children's Book Award Nonfiction Honor Winner of Bank Street College of Education's Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for excellence in nonfiction Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers Shortlist for inaugural Goddard Riverside CBC Youth Book Prize for Social Justice Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
★ "Anderson's third-person text allows readers under Lizzie's skin... Lewis' dappled watercolors depict the action and extend it. A two-page author's note fleshes out the history, including mentions of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks. Necessary." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "Anderson's vivid, well-researched narrative includes dialogue that 'closely follows' accounts of Jennings’ experience that appeared in newspapers at the time. Using brighter hues than his usual palette, Lewis creates a series of vibrant, expressive watercolor paintings that transports viewers back in time, while portraying characters as distinct individuals. A memorable picture book introducing a nineteenth-century defender of civil rights." -- Booklist, starred review
★ "... (T)he first victory in what would become a 100-year-long battle to end segregation on public transportation. Shimmering jewel-toned watercolors blur and delineate details in Lewis’s paintings." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "In 1854, when Lizzie Jennings was forced off a traditionally 'whites only' streetcar, she went to court, winning the right for all black passengers to ride in the same car with white people on the Third Avenue Railroad in New York City. Set on spreads with full-bleed illustrations, the storytelling is straightforward and direct. Dialogue closely follows contemporary newspaper accounts to enliven the historical moment. The well-chosen language... is a pleasure to read aloud. Lewis employs pastel colors, shades of blues, pinks, and purples, and plenty of background yellow... lighten(ing) the story and support(ing) its positive outcome. An important story beautifully told." — School Library Journal, starred review