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The Story of Ruby Bridges

Book by Robert Coles. Reviewed
by Tamiku Dewa, Tricia
Kallestewa, Emma Coates-Finke,
Daniel Pedro, Alan Penketewa,
and Ashley Segura of A:Shiwi
Elementary School
in Zuni, New Mexico.

[ Cover -- 'The Story of Ruby Bridges' ]

Ruby Bridges was a very brave six-year-old black girl who went to an all-white school in 1957. The first day she went to her new school, her mother walked to school with her. United States marshals walked up the steps with them. There was a crowd in front of the school chanting, "Two... four... six... eight.... We don't want to integrate!" There was a lady who called out, "I'm going to poison you." An old lady was holding a little black doll inside a tiny casket, and Ruby got scared. Another lady was calling, "I'm going to hang you!" They were holding up signs saying mean things about black people. Ruby's mom went with Ruby the first two days, and the third time Ruby had to go by herself. Her dad wanted to take her, but the marshals said that he couldn't go because he might get too mad and hurt someone. So, Ruby went by herself. Her dad said, "You are dad's brave little girl," because Ruby went to a white school alone.

Ruby had to be taught by herself because the other teachers did not want to teach her, and the white parents did not want their kids to be in the same class. So, some people took their kids out of the school, and some left their kids, but they were in another classroom.

Because some of the people said they were going to poison her, Ruby did not eat her lunch. At home, she only ate packaged food. At school, she put her sandwiches in a cabinet and her milk in the paste. Finally, the janitor found out about the food and milk. The teacher wasn't mad at Ruby, though. She was concerned that Ruby wasn't eating her lunches. So, from then on, the teacher ate with her.

Finally, Ruby asked why no kids were in her class. The teacher, Ms. Henry, went to talk to the principal. After a long argument, the principal finally agreed to put some of the other kids in Ruby's class for part of the day. When they played "Duck, Duck, Goose," the other kids tried to skip Ruby. Ms. Henry said, "No skipping." One boy named Billy said his mom said he couldn't play with her because she was a negro. The next day, when Ruby was reading, the same boy was holding his ears because he didn't want to listen to her.

Every day Ruby prayed for the people outside the school because her mother said, "They don't know what they're saying." One day she forgot to pray for the people. She went back down the school steps and started to pray for them.

One day Billy's teacher and Ruby's teacher were getting together on the bench at recess. Billy's teacher said, "I don't know how you did it but you did it well!" They watched as Billy made room on the merry-go-round and told Ruby to get on.

[ Students at A:Shiwi School ]
Students of A:Shiwi School; Zuni, New Mexico

We felt sad because people were mean to Ruby Bridges. People should know this story, so they would know how lonely and frightened someone can be if almost everyone is against them. We think people should read the book The Story of Ruby Bridges, because it is about a little girl who helped change a bad law. She was a girl who was not afraid to do things. The book is about being prejudiced against other people, and that is wrong. Prejudice is a hateful thing. The book teaches people to be kinder and not to be prejudiced against people who are different.

[ AETI 1998 Table of Contents ]

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