Cover image for Ruby's wish
Ruby's wish
Bridges, Shirin Yim.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
In China, at a time when few girls are taught to read or write, Ruby dreams of going to the university with her brothers and male cousins.
Reading Level:
600 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 60688.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.3 2 Quiz: 32805 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Audubon Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize
Dudley Branch Library J PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lackawanna Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Niagara Branch Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
East Delavan Branch Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Alden Ewell Free Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Bookmobile Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Bookmobile
Collins Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Concord Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenilworth Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
North Collins Library J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author's grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby's Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage.

Author Notes

Shirin Yim Bridges comes from a family of writers and artists. She has lived in many countries around the world and now lives in Northern California. This is her first book for children.

Sophie Blackall has illustrated two books, A Giraffe for France by Leith Hillard and 20 Party Tricks published by Chronicle Books. She lives in New York with her husband and two small children. Just like Ruby, her favorite color is red.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 2. Born into a large, wealthy Chinese family, Ruby is named for the color she loves and wears every day. She studies traditional subjects such as embroidery and cooking but she also flourishes at the family school, even though in those days girls rarely learned to read or write. When she writes a sorrowful poem about her family "where only boys are cared for," Ruby's grandfather summons her for an explanation. Ruby confesses her desire to attend a university, and at a family celebration he surprises her with an announcement of her university acceptance. On the final page the narrator reveals that this is based on a true story: "Ruby is my grandmother, and every day she still wears a little red." Told in a concise, straightforward style, the narrative provides just enough background for young children. With crimson outlines and highlights, the gouache art features a vibrant, red Ruby set against predominantly neutral backgrounds. Ruby's tale will supplement multicultural and women's history units and serve as a springboard to other family stories. --Linda Perkins

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bridges, in her first book (based on her grandmother's story), handles the conflict between Chinese tradition and young Ruby's longing to attend university with grace and compassion. She sets the scene with a description of "a block of houses, five houses wide and seven houses deep, [once] the magnificent home of one family." Ruby lives in this home with her grandfather (who "did what rich men did in old China: he married many wives"). A tutor teaches any of the 100 assorted grandchildren who wish to learn, but Ruby is the only girl who continues to study while also keeping pace with learning her many household duties. Bridges characterizes the heroine as confident and spunky. For instance, she "insist[s] on wearing red every day"; opposite, Blackall (A Giraffe for France) gives a nod to Chinese silkscreening with four poetic images of her, one per season, wearing various red outfits. One day, her teacher shows Ruby's grandfather a poem she has written in calligraphy: "Alas, bad luck to be born a girl; worse luck to be/ born into this house where only boys are cared for." Grandfather questions her about the poem, and she confides her wish to go to university. Years later, at a New Year's Day celebration, he proves that he was listening. Blackall conveys their special relationship in subtle ways: Grandfather's presence on the balcony, observing Ruby at her studies, a gentle stroke of her head when Ruby is called to Grandfather's office. This understated tale takes Ruby's predicament seriously while still celebrating her love of learning and her joyful personality. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-In 19th-century China it was not the custom to educate daughters. Girls were taught to run a household and do womanly tasks. Only boys received a formal education. Ruby's grandfather returned from the "Gold Mountain" (California) a wealthy man and, as was the custom of the day, married many wives who gave him many sons who all reared their families in the large family home. Thus, Ruby was raised in a house surrounded by extended family. Perhaps her grandfather brought back more than money from California, for he provided an education in the home for any of the children who wished to receive it. Ruby, with her love of the color red, drank in learning like a flower soaks up sunshine. Still, she knew it would be her lot to marry, while her boy cousins could continue their education. Her grandfather, however, knowing the wish of her heart, made it possible for her to be one of the first girls to obtain a university education in China. Based on the true story of author Shirin Yim Bridges's grandmother (and ending with a smiling photograph of the woman next to the author's illustration of her as a girl), this award-winning story (Chronicle Books, 2002) is a gentle, heart-felt tale that explores issues of equality and stereotyping. Sophie Blackall's gouache illustrations reflect Asian art forms and show a spunky girl to whom children will relate. The author narrates the tale with gentle expression and true feeling. Original background music has an oriental flavor. This beautifully crafted labor of love is a celebration of the value of education and the joy of following your dreams.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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