Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Activity 1: Story, Ruby Bridges, Surrounded by Love

Activity time: 10 minutes

"Ruby Bridges" Illustration by Nancy Devard

Download a coloring sheet (PDF) by illustrator Nancy Devard for the story, "Ruby Bridges, Surrounded by Love."

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and prepare to share it with the group.
  • Optional: Download, print, and copy the coloring sheet (PDF) for "Ruby Bridges, Surrounded by Love." Place coloring sheets and crayons where children can use them when invited but will not be distracted beforehand.

Description of Activity

Gather the children. Ask them how they felt when they first went to a new school or a new place. Affirm that even when they are new, they can make a difference. Tell them you will share a true story about a brave little girl who went someplace new, even when she was not sure others wanted her there.

Read or tell the story of Ruby Bridges.

When you are done, process the story with these questions:

  • What do you think about Ruby Bridges? Do you think she was brave?
  • What about her white teacher, Barbara? She was the only person willing to teach an African American child in the all-white school.
  • What did you think about Ruby praying for the angry people who yelled at her and threatened her? Do you think that would be hard to do?
  • The story is called "Ruby Bridges, Surrounded by Love." Why do you think it is called that? Do you think Ruby was surrounded by love? When was she and when was she not? (If you are using the coloring sheet for this story, guide children to notice how it depicts the surrounding love of Ruby’s parents. Also, you might note that Ruby surrounded others with love when she prayed for them even though those people did not show love to Ruby.)
  • As a Unitarian Universalist, what would you do to this situation? If you were a white child in that school, would you have gone to class, even if others didn't? Would you have gone to support Ruby?

Affirm that Unitarian Universalists work for things to be more fair. When others are not treated fairly we support them. Ruby acted bravely to get justice for herself and to give others a voice and a choice about which schools they would attend. Ruby acted with courage and love. Her teacher, Barbara, also showed courage and love in supporting Ruby.