“Viola Desmond Won’T Be Budged!” By Jody Nyasha Warner And Richard Rudnicki

In 1946, Viola Desmond bought a movie ticket at the Roseland Theatre in Nova Scotia. After settling into a main floor seat, an usher came by and told her to move, because her ticket was only good for the balcony. She offered to pay the difference in price but was refused: “You people have to sit in the upstairs section.” Viola refused to move. She was hauled off to jail, but her actions gave strength and inspiration to Canada’s Black community. Ages 5–9.


About The Author

Jody Nyasha Warner is a writer, human rights advisor and former librarian. She was inspired to write this book because so much African Canadian history is either not well known or not documented.


Read Aloud Tips

  • Set the tone for the book by describing civil rights and what it meant to be Black in Canada in the 1940s.
  • Introduce the students, if not discussed already, to Rosa Parks. After reading the book, ask students to comparisons, both similarities and differences, to Rosa Parks and Viola Desmond.
  • Ask students to describe what they would do if they were in Viola Desmond’s position.

“Using a cadenced style that echoes the oral tradition of African-Canadians, Warner recounts the story simply, allowing children to see raw discrimination for what it was. Rudnicki uses bold acrylics in vivid colors to tell the story. He captures the style, dress and look of the period, and the flap copy notes his images were based on archival photographs. A historical note with a couple of bibliographic citations offers more background.” – Kirkus Reviews

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