Release Date: February 16, 2022
Creator(s): Mariapaola Pesce (writer); Matteo Mancini (artist)
Cover: Matteo Mancini
Format: 128 pgs., Full Color, 6.5" x 9", Hardcover
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
This graphic work, originally published in Italy is mostly outstanding, but has a few very strange flaws. One of these is the format of the book, only about three-fourths of which is actually graphic material. The other fourth of the book is a collection of design sketches and art notes that add very little to the book, other than page count. In a work where the graphic design is unusual or significant to the story, this would be more relevant, but in this case, it really wasn’t useful, unless the reader has never seen American clothing styles of the 1950s.
The story that it tells, of course, is a powerful one, but told in a strange format. A taxi driver is driving an African American celebrity to an event in 2014, and this leads to the driver telling the celebrity the story of Rosa Parks, while they’re stuck in traffic.
Unlike some versions, this one leaves in the back story of why it was Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and helped start the court cases and boycott. As the book points out, she was not the first to openly object to segregated buses, but she was better positioned than younger Claudette Colvin, who had done the same thing earlier.
The pacing of this version is good, and covers the bus boycott, in which the local African American community chose not to ride the buses of Montgomery for over a year, and both economic and legal pressures led to the integration of those bus services. The story of Rosa Parks has been told in many ways [even as a Doctor Who story], but this is a good one. Still, 30 pages of designer notes? That seemed quite excessive.
The book is aimed at teens and adults, but it will be best as a starting point for those wanting to read the story of Rosa Parks and her actions.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.