Reviews for Through My Eyes


The Book Report Reviews 2000 March-April
This autobiography gives a riveting account of the remarkable courage shown by a six-year-old black girl who fearlessly endured the taunts of segregationists as she attended an all-white school for the first time. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, federal marshals had to escort young Bridges to her neighborhood school. Bridges poignantly tells the story of how she unknowingly became a pioneer in school integration at the tender age of six. When the federal court upheld the law requiring equal education for all children, Bridges passed a battery of tests qualifying her to attend the school closest to her home. Protesting parents kept their children away from this school. Bridges' first grade teacher becomes the unsung hero in this story as she endures ridicule from administrators, teachers, and parents for her willingness to teach a black child. Real-life photographs dispersed throughout the book depict the actual events as they occurred. This first-person narrative is a superb read-aloud. Social studies teachers will greatly benefit from this book during their civil rights unit. Readers will enjoy reliving the life of this six-year-old from childhood to adulthood as they discover an inspiring story for all ages. Highly Recommended. Dawn G. Green, Library Media Specialist/Education Consultant, Bloomfield, New Jersey © 2000 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 November 1999
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 3^-9. 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)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
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.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2000 #1
The 1960 photograph of Ruby Bridges entering Frantz elementary school in New Orleans, her back as stiff as her starched white dress, remains one of the most dramatic images of the civil rights era. Norman Rockwell painted her, John Steinbeck wrote about her, and Robert Coles worked with her. But Bridges needs no intermediaries to cloud the lens of her story; she relates it far more powerfully than anyone else to date. After establishing a historical context, Bridges lets her childhood memories, rather than her adult perceptions, drive the narrative: "That whole first day, my mother and I just sat and waited. We didn't talk to anybody. I remember watching a big, round clock on the wall. When it was 3:00 and time to go home, I was glad. I had thought my new school would be hard, but the first day was easy." In contrast to Coles's message-laden biography (The Story of Ruby Bridges, 1994), where Ruby moves from child to saint in a mere thirty-two pages, here she emerges as an understandable and sympathetic young girl. She stoically spends first grade alone in a classroom but at home jumps rope with her friends, chanting a rhyme she hears on the street: "Two, four, six, eight. We don't want to integrate." Unfortunately, the narrative is interrupted by tangential boxed information, such as the extended pieces on Steinbeck or Thurgood Marshall that spread across the bottom of the pages and are directed more to adults than to children. Although the format is distracting, and the photographs are an uneven mix of stock photos with more germane news shots and candids, Ruby's strong voice commands attention. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1999 December #1
Gr 4-7-Profusely illustrated with sepia photos-including many gritty journalistic reproductions-this memoir brings some of the raw emotions of a tumultuous period into sharp focus. In her recounting of the events of 1960-61, the year she became the first African-American child to integrate the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Bridges is true to her childhood memories. She is clear about what she remembers and what she later learned. Her account is accompanied by excerpts from newspaper articles, comments by her teacher, and a time line that fill in the details and place her story within the context of the Civil Rights Movement. The narrative draws a distinct contrast between the innocence of this six-year-old child who thought that "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate" was a jump-rope chant and the jeers of the angry crowd outside her school carrying a black doll in a coffin. A powerful personal narrative that every collection will want to own.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 October #3
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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 December
Gr 4-7-Profusely illustrated with sepia photos-including many gritty journalistic reproductions-this memoir brings some of the raw emotions of a tumultuous period into sharp focus. In her recounting of the events of 1960-61, the year she became the first African-American child to integrate the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Bridges is true to her childhood memories. She is clear about what she remembers and what she later learned. Her account is accompanied by excerpts from newspaper articles, comments by her teacher, and a time line that fill in the details and place her story within the context of the Civil Rights Movement. The narrative draws a distinct contrast between the innocence of this six-year-old child who thought that "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate" was a jump-rope chant and the jeers of the angry crowd outside her school carrying a black doll in a coffin. A powerful personal narrative that every collection will want to own.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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