Bridges, Ruby. This Is Your Time. Non-fiction. Random/Delacorte, 11/2020. 58pp. $15.99. 978-0-5933-7852-6. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 1-ADULT.
This is Your Time is activist and civil rights icon Ruby Bridges’ passionate letter to children. Addressing the reader as “you,” Bridges recalls her experience of being a 6-year-old girl and the first Black child to integrate her all-white, southern, elementary school in the 1960s. Bridges writes with honesty and bravery, describing her internal fears, most notably the initial conflict of being taught by a white teacher, who resembles the protesters shouting at her on a daily basis. Each page of text is accompanied by b&w photos ranging from the 1960s to the present and includes personal photos from Bridges’ collection. This powerful book touches on the Civil Rights Movement and activism in a way that appeals to all ages. Throughout the letter, Bridges’ reflections draw parallels to today’s Black Lives Matter Movement, while empowering youth to be brave and seize the opportunity to make change. Bridges also shares thoughts from children she’s met throughout her activism, presenting them as wise and empathetic. Her writing on the difficult issues of race and racism is easy to understand for younger children without lessening the impact for older readers and would be just as successful as an independent read or a read-aloud.
Solia Martinez-Jacobs, Bret Harte Middle School