Review of This Is Your Time

This Is Your Time
by Ruby Bridges
Primary, Intermediate    Delacorte    64 pp.    g
11/20    978-0-593-37852-6    $15.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-37853-3    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-37854-0    $9.99

A letter of love and care from civil rights icon Ruby Bridges to twenty-first-century children marks the sixtieth anniversary of her integration of William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. Dedicated to John Lewis, the “conscience of Congress,” and addressed to “Young Peacemakers of the World,” Bridges’s book opens with a photograph of her first-grade self, looking inquisitively at the reader, her hand turning the page of a book. Powerful photographs, a mix of historical and contemporary, demonstrate hard truths throughout, with images shown of federal marshals escorting young Ruby and racist whites brandishing a Black doll in a casket in front of her school; the March on Washington alongside Black Lives Matter marches; and police turning fire hoses on teens in 1963 and spraying protestors with pepper spray in 2020. The book lays bare the ongoing consequences of racial inequality and injustice through descriptions and images of lost Black lives, including those of Freddie Gray and Bridges’s own son, Craig. The juxtaposition of historical and contemporary scenes maintains a serious mood throughout, but Bridges’s clear-eyed and comprehensible words — some acting almost as captions to explain the photographs; others expanding on large ideas — exhort young readers to stay united and positive, serve, and “keep your eyes on the prize” to make change. A boldly written, memorably illustrated message of hope for our time, from one who has fought for social justice all her life.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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