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.