Children’s book publisher Scholastic announced three forthcoming titles with civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. Sixty years ago tomorrow, at the age of six, Bridges integrated New Orleans’ all-white William Frantz Elementary School, escorted by federal marshals. She was the first Black child to integrate an elementary school in the South. She had previously attended a segregated kindergarten.
The first title, I Am Ruby Bridges, will be published in spring 2022 and was described by the publisher as “a bold and beautifully illustrated book introducing a new generation of readers to this remarkable civil rights pioneer.” Bridges, 66, is the author of the 1999 Scholastic autobiography Through My Eyes, aimed at students in grades three through eight. The next of the new Scholastic titles will be spring 2023’s Dear Ruby Bridges: Letters from Kids Speaking up for a Better World, a companion to Through My Eyes comprised of letters Bridges has received over the years, along with A Talk with My Teacher, based on the relationship between Bridges and Barbara Henry, her first-grade teacher, also out in 2023.
Of the collaboration, Bridges said in a statement, “I am very happy that Scholastic and I are continuing our 25-year journey together.” Bridges, who’s been awarded NAACP Martin Luther King Award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and multiple honorary doctorates, also said, “In the hundreds of classrooms I have spoken in across this country, I’ve had the unique opportunity to see how a book can both educate and inspire our youngest minds. I often say that if we are going to make lasting change, it has to come from our young people. I look forward to bringing these new titles into the Scholastic portfolio as they believe like I do in the transformative power of storytelling.”
Ellie Berger, President, and EVP of Scholastic Trade Publishing said in a statement, “Ruby Bridges is a civil rights icon and inspiration, and her modern classic Through My Eyes remains a beloved gem on Scholastic’s backlist. Each of the three new books are core to Ruby’s mission of fighting bigotry, and align with Scholastic’s commitment to equality – drawing on the remarkable framework that she has built over the last six decades. These titles will (re)introduce Ruby to kids today and be presented through her singular perspective, promising to serve young readers for generations to come.”
Bridges’ story has also been explored in the 1995 picture book The Story of Ruby Bridges by Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Coles, illustrated by George Ford (Scholastic), and in the 1998 Disney movie Ruby Bridges. Bridges mother, Lucille Bridges, who escorted her daughter to school daily for her first year at William Frantz, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86.