Title: Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!
Author: Jody Nyasha Warner
Illustrator: Richard Rudnicki
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Concepts: discrimination, social justice, consumers, prices, taxes
Review: Viola Desmond, an African Canadian woman who owned a successful beauty parlor in Nova Scotia, lived during a period of institutionalized segregation in Canada. One day when Viola decided she wanted to watch a film at the beautiful Roseland Theatre, she decided to occupy a seat with a better view on the ground floor, which was designated for whites. Even though Viola offered to pay the extra amount for a ground floor seat, she was still arrested for refusing to sit in the balcony section for blacks. Viola spent a night in jail, her case went all the way to Nova Scotia's Supreme Court, and she became known as Canada's first civil rights activist.
This carefully-researched book provides young learners with an informative look at racial segregation in Canada and a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. Interestingly, the book's 2010 publication coincided with a formal apology from Nova Scotia's government and a pardon of the charge against her, the first posthumous free pardon ever granted in Canada. Parents and teachers seeking new resources to teach about discrimination and social justice can use this book to add both an international dimension and a gender perspective to the lesson.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children