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Through My Eyes



Last updated Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Author: Ruby Bridges and Margo Lundell
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0590189239
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2023

Synopsis: In November 1960, all of America watched as a tiny six-year-old black girl, surrounded by federal marshals, walked through a mob of screaming segregationists and into her school. An icon of the civil rights movement, Ruby Bridges chronicles each dramatic step of this pivotal event in history through her own words.

Note to readers:
•  This book is written by Ruby Bridges, who, as a six-year old child, was the first to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  This book is written by Ruby Bridges, who, as a six-year old child, was the first to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Talk to the students about segregation and the effort to integrate schools especially in the Deep South.

Vocabulary:

•  segregation: the separation of a race, class or ethnic group by enforced (legal means) or voluntary residence in restricted areas by barriers of social interaction, by separate education facilities, or by other discriminatory means
•  integration: incorporation as equals in a society or an organization of individuals of different groups.
•  marshal: an officer of U.S. law enforcement who performs the duties similar to a sheriff.
•  protester: a person who expresses their objection, disapproval or dissent in opposition of something.
•  vandal: a person who willfully or accidentally damages or destroys something that is not theirs.
•  Mardi Gras: In French it literally means “Fat Tuesday”, which is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first of 40 days called Lent that leads to Easter Sunday. In advance, places like New Orleans, have a celebration of parades, parties, making noise, wearing masks and overeating before Lent begins. Lent for some religious faiths, means giving up something you like (candy, beer, going to movies) for the 40 days. In New Orleans, the festivities go one for several days before Ash Wednesday.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How would you feel if you had to do what Ruby did? (Do something that was the right thing to do, but large groups of people were against it. For example, a girl wants to play football with the boys.) Would you do it? Why or why not?
•  READERS: Show the photo on page 19 of the Marshals escorting Ruby and her mother out of school on the first date. Note how small she is compared to her mother and especially to the Marshals.
•  Also: Show the students the copy of the famous Normal Rockwell painting on page 25.
•  How would you feel have a real teacher all to yourself? Would it make school harder or easier? More fun?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Valentine’s Day card for someone.
(Readers: Please write “VALENTINE’S DAY” on the white board or on a piece of paper in case there are students who are unsure of the spelling.)
•  Draw a picture of yourself doing something that would be unexpected for you. It could be playing a sport you like or an activity people may not think is appropriate for you based on you gender or race. Example: girls playing football or boys baking cupcakes

Special activities:
•  Do the Word Search

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!