Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illus. by Floyd Cooper
It's 1952 Ruth's dad has just purchased the families first car. They are going on a road trip, to Alabama, to visit Grandma.
When Ruth's family leaves their home state of Chicago, many hotels, gas stations, and restaurants won't take their business because they are black. Finally in Tennessee a friend of Ruth's dad tells them about The Negro Motorist Green Book. It was started by postman Victor H. Green and lists all the places in states where Black business was welcomed.
The family buys a copy of the Green Book the next day for 75 cents and the trip gets easier. Before reading Ruth and the Green Book, I didn't know such a guide book existed. I love reading an historical fiction that's fresh with new information. Ramsey's wonderful text makes learning about this little unknown part of history very enjoyable.
The text and illustrations complement each other very well together. Cooper's artistic style was a perfect fit for this story. The color contrast and shading are beautifully done. There's a lot of emotion in the characters faces, especially Ruth's. There are some great closeups of Ruth and her stuff friend, Brown Bear.
This is a great picture book. With only a few pages, Ramsey and Cooper are able to bring Ruth and her family to life.
We kept on driving through the night. Mama took a turn so daddy could sleep. I fall asleep with Brown Bear as my pillow. We must have pulled off the road in the middle of the night, because when I woke in the morning, we were all curled up in the car. I was stiff and hungry. Mama gave us cold biscuits and jam for breakfast. She said we should sing to cheer ourselves up. We sing a lot that day as we crossed the country. -(my favorite line)
The author includes a page about The History of the Negro Motorist Green Book at the end of the story.