This Is Your Time

Book review by
Diondra K. Brown, Common Sense Media
This Is Your Time Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of girl who desegregated school in 1960.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

An integral story from the civil rights movement is told from the author's first-person prospective. Black-and-white photographs from important moments in history, then and now, appear throughout the story. 

Positive Messages

Accept and love others, regardless of your differences. "Young Peacemakers," as author Ruby Bridges calls her readers, can bring hope, prosperity, and equity to our nation's future.

Positive Role Models

The author sees her story from 60 years ago through her 6-year-old eyes, as she was the first Black child to go to an all white school in New Orleans, Louisiana. She writes of her father, "My father loved me more than I would ever know, and I felt that he was my very own hero." Other positive role models in the book, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, represent the strength of perseverance and integrity. 

Violence

There are a handful of violent photographs in the book, including police beating protestors and firing water cannons at them.

Sex
Language

The book jacket displays a portion of the Norman Rockwell painting The Problem We All Live With, which depicts the "N" word written as graffiti on a wall.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that This Is Your Time is an ode to all civil rights champions, old and young, as author Ruby Bridges recounts her experience as a child, and inspires the next generation of change agents. New York Times Best-selling author and civil rights icon Bridges takes readers on a journey through her experience as the only Black student in an all-White elementary school in New Orleans in 1960, following the institution of desegregation laws. She writes in heartbreaking detail about her journey to school each day, walking past White protesters who shared the same skin color as her teacher and spewed hate speech, a far cry from her the first-grade experience she imagined. Black-and-white photographs, both historical and from 2020 protests, illustrate the spare text. The book explores what it means to be the first at something, and why it's harmful not to stand up against institutional discrimination. Families might want to check out the movie about Ruby Bridges' experience.

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What's the story?

THIS IS YOUR TIME is a letter to "Young Peacemakers of America" calling them to action -- to create a more united future. Author Ruby Bridges tells her story of independently desegregating an all-White public school, William Frantz Elementary, in New Orleans, Louisiana, on November 14,1960. Then 6-year-old Ruby isn't met with smiling faces and welcoming teachers as she enters first-grade, but by angry segregationist protestors and police officers. Born the same year as the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Ruby seems almost destined to be thrust into history, while trying to understand how and why the world is filled with hate. New details of this famous story emerge from the primary source. The story and accompanying historical and contemporary black-and-white photographs parallel the racial injustices and struggles of the civil rights movement and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the role of young people in the protests.

Is it any good?

This riveting and emotional story transports readers to an important moment in American history. Sixty years after the events of that day, This Is Your Time reminds readers how history is repeating itself. As Bridges reflects, "the struggle for liberty and justice for all continues." This book calls into question what progress has been made, and what work is left to be done. The book pulls at the heartstrings of readers, as Bridge's terrifying experience is relayed with incredible detail. It also offers hope, as the author reflects on how inspired she is that equity will be achieved through the courageousness and social-consciousness of the next generation. Several black-and-white images from the author's person collection, as well as the civil rights archives, are displayed throughout the book and add context and visual dimension to this powerful story. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how school desegregation in the United States looks in This Is Your Time. What did you know about this piece of history before reading the book? What did you learn? 

  • Do you think Ruby's parents made the right decision in allowing her to be the first Black child to integrate into William Frantz Elementary school? How do you think Ruby felt every day of first grade, walking to school with four federal marshals and being the only child in her class, taught by a White teacher? 

  • Do you think its important for children to participate in public demonstrations for social justice and equality? Why or why not? 

Book details

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