Picture Books

Ruth and the Green Book

Picture book. By Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Gwen Strauss. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 2010.
Story for young readers about an African American family travelling during the Jim Crow era and the networks of support and services listed in The Green Book.

Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity

A historical fiction picture book for 7- to 11-year-olds about the challenges of traveling for African American families during the Jim Crow era. As Ruth travels with her family from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandmother, she learns that the Green Book provides a vital record of the network of services and support for African Americans on the road.

Ruth and the Green Book is touching, affirming, informative, and beautifully illustrated. For readers of all ages, it will generate interest in the Green Book, which was published annually for decades by Victor H. Green & Company with listings throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Learn more in the Smithsonian Channel film, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom. Democracy Now! interviewed director and writer Yoruba Richen. Watch the interview below, with film clips, and see the full documentary at the Smithsonian Channel.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has digitized 21 volumes of the Green Book from 1937 to 1964. They can be explored individually and through an interactive map.