|Norman Rockwell's portrayal of Ruby Bridges:|
"The Problem We All Live With"
The Story of Ruby Bridges (ages 5-8) by Robert Coles, with beautiful illustrations by George Ford, shows us all how brave and how forgiving a six-year-old child can be. Every school day, Ruby was escorted by U.S. marshals (the city and state police would not help her) past angry crowds and up the steps to her new school. And as she walked, she prayed - that God would forgive them. A touching and powerful telling by a celebrated author (Dr. Robert Coles also happens to be a child psychiatrist that helped Ruby through the whole ordeal).
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (ages 8-12). From Publisher's Weekly: With Robert Coles's 1995 picture book, The Story of Ruby Bridges... readers may feel they already know all about Bridges... But the account she gives here is freshly riveting. With heartbreaking understatement, she gives voice to her six-year-old self...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.