Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Robert Coles
Illustrator:  George Ford 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Scholastic, 2004   ISBN: 978-0439598446

Ruby Bridges was six years old and living in New Orleans when a judge decided that she would be one of four black girls who would be sent to two white elementary schools. The judge wanted to show the people that it was not acceptable for black and white children to be placed in separate schools and to receive different standards of education. It was against the law and he wanted to see things change.

And so Ruby and her family prepared for her first day in first grade at William Franz Elementary School. They prayed together and hoped that Ruby would be able to manage the difficult road that lay ahead of her.

On the first day of school Ruby was escorted to school by armed federal marshals. They were there to make sure that the crowds outside the school did not harm Ruby. The people were furious that a little black girl was going to their white school. Every day for weeks and then for months Ruby had to go through the same thing. And every day Ruby was the only student in the class. The parents of the white children refused to send their children to the school. Ruby did not let this bother her. Instead she worked hard to learn her lessons and her courage and good will amazed her teacher, Mrs Henry. Mrs. Henry wondered if Ruby?s will would break under the pressure, but it never did.

This is a powerful book about a very special little girl who never allowed the hate of others to get to her. With her faith in God and the love of her family and friends to sustain her, Ruby Bridges was able to march for a whole year, twice a day, past people who wanted to hurt her, without getting upset. She asked God to forgive them and she kept on going.