It is six months after Rosa Parks made her famous bus protest and refused to move to the back of the bus. The Alabama bus boycott is still going strong and Alfa Merrifield and his family are having a tough time making ends meet. He, his sister, Zinnia, and his grandmother, Big Mama, walk everywhere and pool their money to pay for their shabby home. Walking everywhere isn’t easy, but they stick with it because they know the system needs to change. Twelve-year-old Alfa works hard to help with the bills and must walk to and from work each day. Things are bleak and go from bad to worse when they find out their rent money is missing, again. With only a little time left to get the money together Alfa and Zinnia are trying to find out who is taking their money. When their family gets accused of stealing thousands of dollars from someone else, it looks like things will never get better. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words stick with Alfa and inspire him to solve his problems without violence. He is also determined to solve both mysteries. Will they discover who is stealing their rent money? Can they manage to stay off of public transportation? If they do, will the laws ever change? How long will the bus boycott last? Alfa and Zinnia may not be prepared for what awaits them. Take a ride back in history and learn about how our world has changed.
Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriette Gillem Robinet is a delightful historical fiction book about a family who will capture your heart. Alfa is a character that I could really connect with and I feel as if I know him. I worried about him, felt sad for him, and laughed along with him when he saw the humor in the world around him. This is a wonderful book for people of all ages, and I think kids in fourth through eighth grade will especially relate to Alfa and Zinnia. The book touches on issues in history and allows us to look at life during the 1950s. We get to see what life was like for a typical African American family struggling to make ends meet and fighting peacefully for their rights. I found myself hoping that good things would come their way and was impressed with their perseverance. I think Alfa would be an excellent friend because he is kind and hard working. I like that he keeps the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with him at all times and does his best to solve his problems with nonviolence. We can all learn a lot from a character who keeps hope in his heart in the face of adversity. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it. You will enjoy seeing a slice of history come to life and you will be reminded of how far we have come towards equality. Working together, we can set our goals and make a difference.
Has anyone else read Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriette Gillem Robinet? Or have you read another book by Harriette Gillem Robinet?
Happy Reading! ~L
Happy Reading! ~L