Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book

Beaming. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781506467917.
Gr 2-4–This picture book about the birth of the Green Book and its creator provides historical context and a foundation for current social justice issues. Victor Hugo Green (1892–1960), a Black postal worker from Harlem, NY, loved taking road trips across the United States, but it wasn’t always safe to do so because of Jim Crow laws, especially in segregated areas and sundown towns. Green understood that Black sightseers needed a reliable guidebook for safe travel; he created The Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. The travel guide sold more than two million copies, and although Green was successful, he wished for a world that didn’t need such a book. Some may find the time line of Green’s life and the history of his guidebook difficult to read, but the use of a roadway to depict the passage of time is a clever visual device. Dawson’s text makes a stark, complex topic accessible and comprehensible to younger readers. Harris’s digital illustrations are realistic for historical accuracy and offer a warmth that invites readers into the narrative. Back matter includes an informative author’s note, a time line, and a selected bibliography. Similar reads include Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood and The Journey of York by Hasan Davis.
VERDICT A compelling picture book that introduces the history of segregation and its impact in the U. S. to young readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing