________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 1. . . .September 3, 2010


Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!

Jody Nyasha Warner. Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2010.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-0-88899-779-1.

Subject Headings:
Desmond, Viola-Juvenile literature.
Race discrimination-Nova Scotia-History-Juvenile literature.
Civil rights-Nova Scotia-History-Juvenile literature.
Civil rights-Canada-History-Juvenile literature.
Black Canadians-Nova Scotia-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Crystal Sutherland.

**** /4



Viola Desmond was one brave woman! Now come on here, listen in close, and I'll tell you why.


Viola Desmond, a very practical, brave and idealistic black woman, decides it's time to take a stand against segregation when, while waiting for her car to be repaired, she is told she must move from her seat in the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, to the 'cheap seats' in the balcony. Viola thinks there's been a mistake at first, and she offers to pay the extra money required to sit in her seat. She refuses to move when she is told there is no mistake and the usher makes the real issue perfectly clear: "You people have to sit in the upstairs section." When it becomes obvious what the actual problem is, which Viola doesn't think is a problem at all, she takes a stand by staying where she is, sitting in a seat in the seating designated 'whites only' despite the consequences: a night in jail and a hefty fine. Not a lady to be deterred, Viola continues her fight against segregation with results that will amaze and inspire readers.

internal art     From the first page, Viola Desmond Won't be Budged! hooks the reader, the illustrations helping it along, including one of a woman who is having her hair done in Viola's hair salon while holding a magazine called True Story. Later in the book, Rudnicki's illustrations of the Roseland Theatre, where the story begins to take shape, along with a Pictou Advocate delivery truck, accurately depict the setting where Viola's story really begins.

      With bright and meaningful illustrations, sparse text and a fast-moving, action-packed story to tell, Viola Desmond Won't be Budged! is an engaging delight to read. A one-page 'Glimpse of African Canadian History' is provided at the end for those interested in learning more about African Canadians and the fight to end racism in Canada. A great starting point for discussions on racism and a great resource for further investigation of the history of racism in Canada with appropriate potential resources provided.

Highly Recommended.

Crystal Sutherland is a MEd (Literacy) and MLIS graduate living in Halifax, NS.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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