Ruby Bridges

Philomel. (She Persisted). Aug. 2021. 80p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593115862; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593115879.
K-Gr 3–The acclaimed Magoon joins a long roster of stellar writers taking on impactful women for Clinton and Boiger’s chapter book biography series. The strength of this narrative is not only the history of school integration it provides, but the perspective of the child who stood for all Black children seeking an equal education. Interior illustrations by Flint capture Ruby’s point of view through two key moments depicted in each chapter. These pencil drawings break up the text and add interest to the narrative with so much detail that readers can even spot that Ruby is left-handed. Starting first grade is a milestone, and Ruby’s experience, while unique, is also relatable. Riding in a big car to school, the giant men who surrounded her as she walked in, believing the crowds outside were a Madi Gras parade, and her loneliness in a classroom of one are described. The impact on her family and support of the community made being “brave” Ruby’s job all year. Integrating her school became Bridges’s identity as she gained an understanding of the significance of her experience and continues to represent the importance of equal education for all—persisting. A worthy compilation of resources and a list of how readers can stand up for equality is also included.
VERDICT Given the more relatable perspective of starting first grade, this volume makes Bridges’s story poignant for the intended audience. Start units about integration in schools with this book.

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