This is Your Time is a stunning new book by Ruby Bridges, who as a six-year-old in 1960 was the first black child to attend an all-white primary school in New Orleans.
The book is small in size but huge in meaning. Bridges talks about the hate she faced outside her school gates every day from white adults who wanted to keep segregation. There is a black and white photograph on every other page, including some truly shocking images. A tiny Ruby is escorted into school by four federal marshals; racist protesters hold up a black doll in a coffin; and images of police targeting civil rights demonstrators in 1963 and 2020.
But there are also hope and joy, friendship and solidarity, and great faith in young people. Bridges writes to young readers: “I am so inspired by you and by everyone out there making change happen. I know, and you must remember… what can inspire tomorrow often lies in our past”. She knows this because of her lifetime of work telling young people her story.
The cover is a detail from Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live with, which I had never seen, and which is extraordinary.
Ruby Bridges’ message of courage and friendship is essential for all people. A gift to the future from one whose courage helped shape the best of the present.