This Is Your Time

Delacorte. Nov. 2020. 64p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780593378526.
Gr 5 Up–Ruby Bridges displayed courage and resilience when chosen to integrate New Orleans’s all-white public school system in 1960 at the age of six. Bridges pens a “letter of peace” addressed to Congressman John Lewis and “the young peacemakers of the world.” She briefly describes her experience. She also explains what it was like for her father to witness his young daughter battle adversity and his own struggles. Her father served in the armed forces during the Korean War only to return to the systemic racism of the United States. Her teacher, Barbara Henry, taught Bridges when white parents refused to let their children share a classroom with her student. The text then recalls the children that Bridges has met in the last 25 years that she has spent traveling and speaking. She hopes that young people can break the cycle of racism and continue to rally against injustice in its many forms. Finally, Bridges speaks to the events of today. She addresses the pain and frustration that has led to a summer of protests after the murder of George Floyd by white Minneapolis police officers. She points out the echoes from the past that still reverberate today (there are several historical and contemporary photos that strike a powerful chord), and she shares her own suffering from having lost one of her sons, who was murdered. Ultimately, she advises readers to have “a heart full of grace.” Black-and-white photos enhance this short but exceedingly important book.
VERDICT Bridges’s message is timely, powerful, and full of hope. This missive of truth, spoken by a true American hero, deserves a place in all libraries.

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