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Ruth and the Green Book (By Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Gwen Strauss, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper)

Published in 2010


In the 1950 Ruth takes a trip with her parents from Chicago to Alabama to visit her Grandmother. Ruth’s companion is her brown bear which as she points out she is getting a little old for, but her trusty friend is a comfort to her as Ruth and her family encounters racism and discrimination as they travel south. The family could not sleep in certain hotels, they cannot get gas and use the restroom. Ruth’s mother before the trip packed enough food before they left Chicago so they could make to Alabama without encountering any restaurants. The family stays with a friend one night and Ruth learns about the importance of finding Esso gas stations and she learns about the ugliness of Jim Crow. Ruth’s job in the car was to look out for an Esso station, when they found one the family discovers the Green Book a book that will help them discover where to eat, get gas, where to sleep, and even where to get a haircut. They are close to Grandma’s house when their car breaks down and with no one stopping to help Ruth looks in the Green book to find help and a place to stay for the night. It is there at the Palm Leaf Inn that Ruth meets a little boy whom as she comforts him, she thinks back to all the people who have helped her family on the trip, and she gives Brown Bear to the little boy. Traveling to Ruth was scary but she realized she was now part of community that helps people to travel and to feel safe.

A Bookish Decree: A book that shows resilience and the importance of being a part of a community in a time of adversity.

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