Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott

by Dee Romito (Author) Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

This stunning picture book looks into the life of Georgia Gilmore, a hidden figure of history who played a critical role in the civil rights movement and used her passion for baking to help the Montgomery Bus Boycott achieve its goal.

Georgia decided to help the best way she knew how.

She worked together with a group of women and together they purchased the supplies they needed-bread, lettuce, and chickens. And off they went to cook.

The women brought food to the mass meetings that followed at the church. They sold sandwiches. They sold dinners in their neighborhoods.

As the boycotters walked and walked, Georgia cooked and cooked.

Georgia Gilmore was a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama. When the bus boycotts broke out in Montgomery after Rosa Parks was arrested, Georgia knew just what to do. She organized a group of women who cooked and baked to fund-raise for gas and cars to help sustain the boycott. Called the Club from Nowhere, Georgia was the only person who knew who baked and bought the food, and she said the money came from "nowhere" to anyone who asked. When Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for his role in the boycott, Georgia testified on his behalf, and her home became a meeting place for civil rights leaders.

This picture book highlights a hidden figure of the civil rights movement who fueled the bus boycotts and demonstrated that one person can make a real change in her community and beyond. It also includes one of her delicious recipes for kids to try with the help of their parents!

Select format:


Starred Review
While this historical picture book includes the two best known figures in the Civil Rights movement, it is most notable for celebrating the life and contributions of a little-known person who, like so many, many others, put herself at risk to further the cause she believed in.

Publishers Weekly

Romito focuses on little-known civil rights activist Georgia Gilmore, a cook at the National Lunch Company in segregated Montgomery, Ala. Inspired by Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat and the subsequent bus boycott, Gilmore organized a group of women to cook and sell food in their neighborhoods ("People always had to eat. So I made pies"). The proceeds secretly helped fund the boycott. Romito emphasizes how their venture came with risks; to protect the buyers and makers, Gilmore had people pay in cash and refused to divulge the names of the cooks and bakers, saying, "It came from nowhere." Freeman creates bold compositions comprising the food, its makers, and even Martin Luther King Jr., who assisted Gilmore in starting her own cooking business. Romito concludes with the news of the Supreme Court outlawing bus segregation--followed by a suggestion that more work was to be done: "Georgia Gilmore kept right on cooking." Ages 6-9. (Nov.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3—Romito retells the life story of Georgia Gilmore, a woman whose pies and delicious homemade cooking helped sustain the Montgomery bus boycott. Nicknamed "the Club from Nowhere," Gilmore along with a team of women risked their jobs to build a network wherein people from the community could financially aid the boycott through the purchase of her pies (Gilmore donated her profits to the Montgomery Improvement Association). The book ends with the Supreme Court decision that segregation on buses is unconstitutional and Gilmore is shown continuing to bake—as the fight for civil rights would wage on. The text emphasizes for young readers how important Gilmore's contributions were to the civil rights movement, including her work with Martin Luther King Jr. and her testimony in court on discrimination on buses. Bold and richly colored illustrations give life to Gilmore and her iconic pies. The detailed back matter, which includes Gilmore's recipe for homemade pound cake, makes this picture book a well-rounded nonfiction read. VERDICT A winning addition to libraries that serve young readers.—Molly Dettmann, Norman North High School, OK

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Dee Romito
Dee Romito is an author of books for young readers from picture books to middle grade. Her middle grade books include The BFF Bucket List, No Place Like Home, Postcards from Venice, and co-authored Best.Night.Ever. Her debut picture book, Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott received a starred review.

She is a deaf Illustrator based in Singapore and represented by MB Artists. She loves drawingand visualising stories through her personal experience. Her life goal has been to have anemotional connection with those who view her work. Her most recent picture books are Dancing With Daddy by Anitra R. Schulte and How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. When she's not illustrating, she enjoys swimming, cooking and spending time with her loved ones.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little Bee Books
Publication date
November 06, 2018
BISAC categories
JNF007050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Cultural Heritage
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF053140 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Topics | Prejudice & Racism
JNF007110 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Social Activists
JNF025210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/20th Century
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
African American women civil rights workers
20th century
Civil rights
Montgomery Bus Boycott, Montgomery, Ala., 195
Gilmore, Georgia

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!