Through My Eyes
Through My Eyes

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Annotation: Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #300912
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition Date: 1999
Pages: 63 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-590-18923-9 Perma-Bound: 0-8479-8823-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-590-18923-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8479-8823-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 98049242
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Bridges relates her story far more powerfully than has anyone else to date. After establishing a context for her place in the history of the civil rights movement, she lets her childhood memories, rather than her adult perceptions, drive the narrative, and emerges as an understandable and sympathetic young girl. Although the tangential boxed information is distracting and the photos are an uneven mix, Ruby's strong voice commands attention.
Publishers Weekly
With Robert Coles's 1995 picture book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, and a Disney television movie, readers may feel they already know all about Bridges, who in 1960 was the first black child to attend a New Orleans public elementary school. But the account she gives here is freshly riveting. With heartbreaking understatement, she gives voice to her six-year-old self. Escorted on her first day by U.S. marshals, young Ruby was met by throngs of virulent protesters (""""I thought maybe it was Mardi Gras... Mardi Gras was always noisy,"""" she remembers). Her prose stays unnervingly true to the perspective of a child: """"The policeman at the door and the crowd behind us made me think this was an important place. It must be college, I thought to myself."""" Inside, conditions were just as strange, if not as threatening. Ruby was kept in her own classroom, receiving one-on-one instruction from teacher Barbara Henry, a recent transplant from Boston. Sidebars containing statements from Henry and Bridges's mother, or excerpts from newspaper accounts and John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, provide information and perspectives unavailable to Bridges as a child. As the year went on, Henry accidentally discovered the presence of other first graders, and she had to force the principal to send them into her classroom for part of the day (the principal refused to make the other white teachers educate a black child). Ironically, it was only when one of these children refused to play with Ruby (""""My mama said not to because you're a nigger"""") that Ruby realized that """"everything had happened because I was black.... It was all about the color of my skin."""" 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. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Harvard psychologist Robert Coles told The Story of Ruby Bridges (1995) in a picture book for young children. Here Bridges tells her own story for older readers, combining her adult commentary, news reports of the time, and graphic personal memories of what it was like for her as a six-year-old child, the first black pupil to attend a formerly segregated school in New Orleans, in 1960. The book design is like a magazine article's, with spacious type, occasional small boxed quotes, and dramatic sepia-toned news photos, many of them full-page close-ups showing the angry, jeering demonstrators, the small girl escorted to and from the school building by her mother and the U.S. marshalls, and young Ruby with her supportive white teacher alone in the classroom. Most moving is Bridges' memory of her childhood innocence (There were barricades and people shouting and policemen everywhere. I thought maybe it was Mardi Gras, the carnival). She even jumped rope to the rhyme Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate. She didn't know what it all meant, until one day a little white boy refused to play with her: his mother had told him not to, he said, because you're a nigger. Ruby was stunned to realize that it was all about the color of my skin. This is a great book for classroom discussion and has a good deal of interest to adults: the individual child's experience, the roles of Bridges' mother and teacher, the civil rights history. Bridges speaks without heroics about what happened to her then and what it means now. (Reviewed November 15, 1999)
Word Count: 11,246
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 36565 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.6 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q17389
Lexile: 860L
Guided Reading Level: R
Fountas & Pinnell: R

In November 1960, all of America watched as a tiny six-year-old black girl, surrounded by federal marshals, walked through a mob of screaming segregationists and into her school. An icon of the civil rights movement, Ruby Bridges chronicles each dramatic step of this pivotal event in history through her own words.


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