Bridges, R. (1999). Through my eyes. New York: Scholastic Press.
This book would be appropriate for kindergarten through adult. For younger grades, reading aloud and looking at the photographs would be more appropriate.
This book could be used in social studies instruction.
Ruby Bridges experienced integration in the New Orleans school first-hand. This is an autobiography of her experiences during her first grade year, as the only African-American in her school in 1960. The articles and interviews were compiled and edited by Margo Lundell.
1999 Parents’ Choice Award; 2000 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award; 2000 Carter G. Woodson Book Award
This book is about Ruby Bridges’ experiences during 1960, as she integrated William Frantz Public School when she was six years old. She was the only African-American student that integrated that school that year. This book tells her story as she remembers it then. The book also includes photographs that show the protestors that were there as Ruby went to school each day. Quotes from articles and interviews give a picture of the turbulent times during the Civil Rights Movement.
The social studies strands addressed by this book are Civic Ideals and Practices and Individuals, Groups, and Institutions.
The illustrations in this book are black and white photographs using sepia tones from a variety of sources that document Ruby’s first grade year during integration. The photographs are very powerful in their portrayal of the courage that Ruby demonstrated.
Important access features in this book include a Dear Reader letter by Harry Belafonte, a bottom bar on each two page spread that give excerpts from interviews and articles, a heading at the top of each two page spread, a timeline of events during the Civil Rights Movement, and a section that explains what Ruby has been as an adult.
Use in My Classroom:
I would use this book during my study of the Civil Rights Movement in social studies and during Black History Month in February. This book could also be used to during a genre unit on biographies and autobiographies. Another way to use this book would be during a study of children who make a difference in the world.
My Response to the Book:
I thought this book was beautifully done. I expected Ruby Bridges to have some bitterness for the protestors and demonstrators that were present each day, but surprisingly she felt the opposite for them. This book, with its touching photographs, shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of many. I thought this book was wonderful!
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
Books about Civil Rights:
If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandell and
Students by Suzanne Jurmain