Great Illustrated Books

Through My Eyes

By Ruby Bridges

Scholastic Press, 1999
Pages : 64
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 0590189239

In 1960, African American first grader, Ruby Bridges, helped to integrate the New Orleans public schools, passing a mob of demonstrating segregationists every day on her way to class, where she was taught by a courageous white teacher, Barbara Henry. Ruby's affecting and inspirational autobiographical account is interspersed with quotes by eyewitnesses, her mother, the newspapers, and child psychiatrist, Robert Coles, who worked with Ruby.

For that entire year, six-year-old Ruby attended the William Frantz Elementary School, an all-white school, where most of the students and their parents assembled every morning to protest their school's integration. Ruby's teacher, Barbara Henry, came to work every day to work with her only student. Unaware that the hubbub outside was all about her, Ruby jumped rope at home with her friend and chanted, "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate," assuming the crowds' hateful refrain was just another jump-rope rhyme. With its haunting, sepia-toned photographs, this is an indispensable addition to literature on the Civil Rights Movement in America and on children who made a difference. What is clear when you read Ruby's account is just how much the U. S. has changed in 50 years, something that will impress children who are unaware of how things used to be.

Norman Rockwell painted a famous painting of Ruby being escorted to school by U. S. marshals, and called it "The Problem We All Live With." John Steinbeck wrote about her in his book, Travels with Charley: In Search of America (Penguin Books, 1986, c1962). Robert Coles later wrote about her in his adult book, The Moral Life of Children (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986), and his children's book, The Story of Ruby Bridges.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Adler, David A. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday House, 2001.

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Rosa Parks. Holiday House, 1993.

Coles, Robert. The Story of Ruby Bridges. Scholastic, 1995.

Curtis, Gavin. The Bat Boy & His Violin. Simon & Schuster, 1998.

English, Karen. Francie. Farrar, 1999.

Freedman, Russell. Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Holiday House, 2006.

Freedman, Russell. The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights. Clarion, 2004.

Giovanni, Nikki. Rosa. Henry Holt, 2005.

Golenbock, Peter. Teammates. Harcourt, 1990.

Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice. Farrar/Kroupa, 2009.

Hoose, Phillip. We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History. Farrar, 2001.

Lynch, Chris. Gold Dust. HarperCollins, 2000.

Lorbiecki, Marybeth. Sister Anne's Hands. Dial, 1998.

Martin, Ann M. Belle Teal. Scholastic, 2001.

McWhorter, Diane. A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. Scholastic, 2004.

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Mayfield Crossing. Putnam, 1993.

Parks, Rosa with Jim Haskins. I Am Rosa Parks. Dial, 1997.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. Viking, 2009.

Rappaport, Doreen. Martin's Big Words. Hyperion, 2001.

Ryan, Pam Mu�oz. When Marian Sang. Scholastic, 2002.

Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Dial, 1976.

Critics have said

Sepia-toned period photographs join the sidebars in rounding out Bridges's account. But Bridges's words, recalling a child's innocence and trust, are more vivid than even the best of the photos. Like poetry or prayer, they melt the heart.
Publishers Weekly