Ruth and the Green Book
The picture book inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film The Green Book
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren’t treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws . . .
Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth’s family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebook—and the kindness of strangers—Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma’s house in Alabama.
Ruth’s story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact.
|Grade 2 - Grade 5
|Picture Books, Social Studies
|Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
|Lerner Publishing Group
|Carolrhoda Books ®
|Number of Pages
|Reading Counts! Level
|JUV011010, JUV039120, JUV068000
|9.25 x 11
|Guided Reading Level
|ATOS Reading Level
|Accelerated Reader® Quiz
|Accelerated Reader® Points
|Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, Teaching Guides, and eSource
Author, Narrator: Calvin Alexander Ramsey
Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Atlanta-based playwright, photographer, and folk art painter, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and Roxboro, North Carolina. In addition to having been a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, Calvin has a passion for travel and has lived in New York City; Santa Monica, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. John.He is a former Advisory Board Member of the Robert Woodruff Library Special Collections at Emory University in Atlanta. He is also a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award.His plays have been performed in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; San Francisco; Valdez, Alaska; Omaha, Nebraska; Baltimore; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.His plays include Bricktop, The Musical; The Green Book; Damaged Virtues; Canada Lee; Sherman Town, Baseball, Apple Pie and The Klan; Enlightenment; Sister Soldiers; Kentucky Avenue; Somewhere In My Lifetime; Johnny Mercer: A Man and His Music, a musical tribute to the author of Moon River and others; and The Age of Possibilities. His children's books are The Last Mule of Gee's Bend and Ruth and the Green Book.He is the father of three children, all of whom are writers.
Author: Gwen Strauss
Gwen Strauss's book of poems, Trail of Stones, with illustrations by Anthony Browne was published by Knopf in New York and Walker Books in London. The Night Shimmy (Random House), a children's book with the same illustrator, has been translated into several languages. She is an award-winning poet and her writing has appeared in many publications, including the London Sunday Times, The New Republic, New England Review, Kenyon Review, Tampa Review, and Antioch Review. She works as the on-site director at the Brown Foundation Fellowship Program at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France.
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Floyd Cooper (1956-2021) was a Coretta Scott King Award winner and illustrator of numerous books for children including Ruth and the Green Book, A Spy Called James, and Max and the Tag-Along Moon. Unspeakable, one of his final picture books, was a National Book Award longlist title, a Sibert Honor book, and a Caldecott Honor book. He received a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and went on to develop a distinctive art technique called oil erasure.
Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!
Ruth and the Green Book
The picture book inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film The Green Book Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she… View available downloads →
This week and throughout the coming month, the United States marks several notable anniversaries: The 2nd anniversary of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the 101st anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on May 30, and Juneteenth on June 19 commemorating the emancipation of enslaved… View →
- Sequoyah Book Award Nominee
- Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List
- ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Bronze Award
- Skipping Stones Book Award
- Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor Book
- Jefferson Cup Award Honor Book
- Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
- SSLI Book Award Best Book
- Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children's Literature Finalist
- Bluestem Award Nominee
- Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children
- ALA Notable Children's Books
- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
“Ramsey fashions a well-told historical narrative, supported by Cooper’s expressive paintings.” —The Horn Book Guide
“Cooper’s soft, stippled illustrations capture both the pathos of the bigotry and the warmth of the support the family encounters, and a substantial closing note on the Green Book itself invites the audience to explore it further online. This will be a fascinating addition to any civil rights picture-book collection.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Cooper’s glowing, unframed, sepia-toned artwork delivers a strong sense of the period from a child’s viewpoint. . . . [T]his is a compelling addition to U.S. history offerings.” —Booklist
“The realistic illustrations are done in oil wash on board, a self-described ‘subtractive process.’ The picture is painted, then erased to ‘paint’ the final product. Overall, there is a sepialike quality to the art, giving the impression of gazing at old color photos. This is an important addition to picture book collections, useful as a discussion-starter on Civil Rights or as a stand-alone story.” —starred, School Library Journal
“Cooper masterfully captures the emotions of the characters, filling his pages with three-dimensional individuals. This story touches on a little-known moment in American history with elegance, compassion and humanity.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A sense of resiliency courses through Cooper’s (Back of the Bus) filmy illustrations—beatific portraits of the Esso worker who sells the family their Green Book and the owner of a ‘tourist home’ where the family spends the night radiate strength, kindness, and hope for a better future.” —Publishers Weekly