Ruby Bridges Debuts Children’s Book About Her Life Story
Ruby Bridges was only 6 years old when she and 3 other children were forced to walk past a hostile crowd of white people to her first-grade class. Imagine the terror, sadness, and confusion she must have felt being jeered by an angry mob when all she was trying to do was go to school. On November 14, 1960, Bridges walked into William J. Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, to become the first Black student to attend the racially segregated school. Even though she was only 6, Ruby was a hero and she showed the world what true courage looked like.
Six decades later race relations and hatred continue to divide America but Ruby Bridges is determined to make a difference. Thursday, September 8 she celebrated her 67th birthday and the release of her 8th children's book, 'I Am Rubby Bridges.' Once again she has authored a picture book about her experience to share it with a new generation of young readers USA Today reports:
The scene from American history was made immortalized in the famous Norman Rockwell painting “The Problem We All Live With.” Even more profound, is the fact that our nation's first African American President Barack Obama, hung that very painting in the White House near the Oval Office during his tenure!
On August 27, 2022, the National Civil Right Museum celebrated its 5th Annual Ruby Bridges Reading Festival. The iconic champion for Civil Rights was the guest of honor and held a book signing at the event. During her speech, Bridges told the crowded museum that "even as books are being banned, parents need to know they are available here." She added, "Reading is fundamental."
“ I Am Ruby Bridges,” features beautiful illustrations by Nikkolas Smith, and it officially went on sale Tuesday. It is aimed at readers 4 years old. Bridges says this is her "most personal book yet." She continued "It’s not just about my experience integrating schools. It’s also about the innocent ways that a child sees the world. Writing as my six-year-old self reminded me how differently kids interpret things than adults do."
She added: "Children are much better at finding humor in everything, and even in times of great challenge, that’s what this book really does. It allows young kids to learn history in a fun way, which is something that I’m very passionate about."
Also unique about this book is it has a glossary that features the words like “Supreme Court” and “law,” so that kids can learn what these things mean. This is an excellent way child no matter where you come from, you can make it. The book’s theme plays off the author’s name: “Ruby.” Rubie's story is intended to bring people together. So, it is told with a touch of humor from a vantage point of a first-grader. It focuses on the wonder of her story rather than just the scariness of that epic first day at school.
The books Illustrator, Nikkolas Smith had this to say about books, particularly Black History books, that are being banned from school libraries, "I was always one of the few Black faces in my elementary school, and I knew that Ms. Ruby was a huge reason why there was any progress at all," Smith shared. "She is an American hero and has been a lifelong icon of mine. It was a surreal moment at the start of this project, being able to talk with Ms. Ruby and get an understanding of that iconic time in her life through her six-year-old eyes."