In Don’t Ride the Bus on Monday, the author attempts to achieve three goals for the reader. First, she seeks to provide a close-up view of the person of Parks. Second, she wants to develop a sense of her world and of what it was like to be African American in the South before the Civil Rights movement. Third, Meriwether hopes to afford insight into a dramatic moment in history, when one individual’s actions affected the course of things to come.
When analyzing how effectively Meriwether achieves these goals, it must be remembered that this is a very brief text. Therefore, it is impossible for the author to lend much dimension or scope to her biography of Parks. This lack of space is one of the book’s main limitations, as basic facts are given but elaboration is sketchy at best. The simple format makes the work suitable for a very young audience, but the saga of Parks’s story is so remarkable and her accomplishments so extraordinary that the book would also be appropriate for young adults as well. Older readers, however, will not find the type of in-depth information that they might desire.
In delineating for the reader the character of Parks, there is never any doubt that Meriwether intends for the book to extol the virtues of her subject. She makes no attempt to develop Parks as a full personality, with characteristics that are both good and bad. Instead, Don’t Ride the Bus on Monday is designed to be a tribute to...
(The entire section is 573 words.)
Because of its ability to inspire, Parks’s life is a fitting subject for a biography directed toward juvenile readers, who are often in search of individuals whose courage makes them worthy of emulation. As the focus of the Montgomery bus boycott, Parks became known as one of the founders of the Civil Rights movement and as one of the historic figures in the battle to overcome discrimination in the South. Yet it is her role as an average citizen who acts with courage and tenacity and achieves remarkable results that she best serves young readers.
Thus, Parks becomes a powerful role model for children and young adults, who are often fired by high ideals but feel impotent and powerless against overwhelming odds. The real value of a book such as Don’t Ride the Bus on Monday is that it offers young readers a different kind of hero: a feisty, middle-aged woman who makes a difference by taking a just but unpopular stand. That such an individual can accomplish so much is a noble lesson, and Meriwether succeeds in taking Parks’s story of courage and determination and fashioning it into a classic account of the struggle for freedom. This book illustrates that it is not only the powerful who shape history.