Set in the late sixties, early seventies, Busing Brewser tells of two African-American brothers who are to be bused to a school in the white side of town. The older brother Bryan takes the news with the wariness of knowing the trouble he, his brother, and other black students will encounter. Brewster, not yet aware of these potential troubles and not yet able to read the signs protesting their busing, is excited about his new school. Author Michelson relates the story as representative of the experiences and reactions many young African-Americans encountered in the early times of forced integration. The story shows when kids are left to be kids they can bond over universal childhood activities, such as making fun of teachers. It is when the parents impart lessons in intolerance that racial tensions are introduced and reinforced. Michelson handles the subject matter deftly. Middle grade readers may need to read the author’s notes or have an adult explain issues surrounding the educational inequities of the times to understand the story’s context and the concept of busing. R. G. Roth’s stylized illustrations are subtle reinforcement of the text. Recommened by Katherine Stehman, Elementary School Librarian.
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010