One November day, a brave little girl named Ruby Bridges went to her first day of school. She would be the first black student to attend a whites-only school, changing it from segregated to integrated. In 2018, students of different races and ethnicities attend school with each other every day all across America. In 1960, though, racist sentiments were so prevalent and mainstream that she and her mother had to be accompanied by U.S. Marshals for their own safety. She faced segregationist protests and extreme animosity in the name of bringing about the equality promised by Brown v. Board of Education.
If you want to know what it was like to go through such a harrowing experience, you can learn about it from Ruby herself. In the book Through My Eyes, Ruby goes over what she went through on that November day. This is a deeply moving first-hand account of one of the landmark events in the Civil Rights Movement.
Remember: The Journey to School Integration, written by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, is a unique book that tells the story of school integration by using brief, fact-based paragraphs in addition to photographs from the time period with made-up captions. The mixture of photo, fact, and fiction encourages empathetic transportation, with questions like “What would I have said?” and “How would that have felt?” arising organically within the reader.
To find similar Children’s books, check out our list of books about the African-American Experience