Ruby Bridges Reading Festival | National Civil Rights Museum

Saturday, AUGUST 27  •  9am-1pm

museum courtyard
Free & Open to the public


For the fifth year, the museum is proud to partner with civil rights icon Ruby Bridges-Hall to present the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival. Children pre-K through elementary school can not only receive free books at the festival but can also enjoy storytelling and entertainment. Educators, with their valid school ID, can also get free books for their classrooms.

Ruby Bridges will engage with young readers and their families by reading and signing her books Through My Eyes and This Is Your Time.

At six years old, Ruby Bridges-Hall was the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960 when her parents responded to a request by the NAACP to help integrate the New Orleans school system.The Ruby Bridges Reading Festival celebrates Bridges' legacy of passionately advocating for equal rights, education and tolerance by bringing together families across racial, economic and educational backgrounds around reading.

Bridges-Hall stated, “As a child, I never quite understood the power of a story until I found myself at the center of one that catalyzed and emboldened a movement.  Today it is so important that our children learn to believe in the power of their stories and know what a force for change they can be.  Which is why I am honored to have the opportunity to share my experience with the wonder of storytelling joined with the beautiful people of Memphis on the holy grounds of the National Civil Rights Museum."

Entertainment includes:

  • Magic Mr. Nick doing magic shows and bubbles
  • Miss B-Looney and Balloon Grammy making balloon art
  • DJ with music for Dance Parties
  • Read-alouds with authors
  • Take-It Craft Activities

Guest readers include:

  • Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, author of children’s books Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges Goes to SchoolThis Is Your Time, This Is My Story, and her September 2022 release, I Am Ruby Bridges
  • Civil rights icon Joan Trumpauer Mulholland who authored She Stood for Freedom.
  • Nikkolas Smith, children’s book illustrator of I Am Ruby Bridges
  • Children’s book author, Nancy Churnin who wrote Martin and Anne, Beautiful Shades of Brown, and Charlie Takes His Shot
  • Children’s book author Michael Waters and his daughter Liberty Waters who is the subject of Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip.


The event is sponsored by Ruby Bridges Foundation, International Paper, Scholastic, Georgia Pacific Memphis Cellulose, Toyota Bodine, Wells Fargo, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

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