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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

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Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published September 20, 2016

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Debbie Levy

33 books57 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 912 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.2k followers
September 23, 2020
RIP, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 9/2020

I Assent to this Book!

I am watching my ten-year-old daughter read this book, and I smile, with some pride and hope for the future. At certain points she reads out what were even for me surprising details: RBG was one of only 9 women in her law school class of more than 500. RBG saw signs, growing up, that read: "No dogs. No Jews."

This is not surprising to me: "Boys were expected to grow up, and do big things in the world. Girls? Girls were expected to find husbands." Lyra finds that line sad but also sort of funny, as she hopes to do "big things in the world," herself.

RBG faced incredible discrimination as a Jewish woman that Lyra finds shocking. Lyra also has read about recent and increasing anti-semitic attacks in this country, and mentions this as she reads. We talk about the links between history and activism of the sixties and today. Still necessary to know and speak out about, yup.

Some of the stories of prejudice against women are not so surprising to Lyra. She watched her mother board a bus to the Women's March in DC, after all. But she does find it surprising to read that Supreme Court justices had actually once said the following:

"Woman has always been dependent on man."

"The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life."

We talk about these things. Some of it is difficult to understand for her. Yes, men actually said and thought these things. But she is glad to see that "Ruth really really disagreed with this," and in 1993 became the second woman appointed to the highest court in the land.

I want to see Lyra and her brothers reading books like this every day. I am thrilled to see that it is today on the NY Times Best seller list, so I am imagining girls and boys all over the world reading and gaining inspiration from it. That makes me hopeful as I begin the day and send Lyra off to school.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,694 reviews628 followers
November 4, 2021
This is a non-taxing, brightly illustrated, 40-page presentation of the life and accomplishments of the great jurist and advocate for equal rights, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Of course, in a book of this length some things are left out (including most of her thoughts on landmark cases). But the book captures the essence of this exemplary women who was not satisfied with the role that conventional society has laid out for her.

The book takes us through her childhood experiences that ranged from being told that she could not take “shop courses” and had to take “home economics” (which was unsuccessful in making her a good cook). There was also the school’s insistence that she, a natural left-hander, write with her right hand. And we see her come to grips with prejudice and discrimination against Jews, people of color, and women. Her determination to have a career was tirelessly supported by her husband (who also had a very successful, but not so obvious, legal career).

The book closes on an important point, noting that, while on the Supreme Court, she often clashed with Justice Scalia in interpreting the Constitution. But, she maintained a firm friendship with him that blossomed outside the Court and serves as an example of respect, civility and finding common ground.
Profile Image for Dylan Teut.
372 reviews135 followers
July 16, 2016
I loved how this book made a point that even though she often disagreed with Justice Scalia, they were still quite good friends. A great message that we can disagree on things and not hate each other. But the book is also so much more than that.
Profile Image for Kristen.
166 reviews77 followers
March 12, 2017
"Disagreeable? No. Determined? Yes."

I've always been a fan of RBG, so I really enjoyed reading this book. When I think powerful female, RBG always comes to mind. This book definitely reflected that through the life events that the author chose to focus on.

What was striking, and most definitely dismaying, was the prejudice RBG faced being Jewish. Not only this, but she also dealt with resistance for simply being a woman in a "working man's world". The book also touched on the time period -- "whites only," "no Mexicans," "no Jews." I was saddened that she grew up in a time period where hatred was so prevalent. I was also disheartened because I realized we are not so far away from that today. Despite all of this, there was a very positive message of perseverance in the face of adversity.

I read this book to my 3 month old son, and I will continue to read it to him until we can discuss this amazing woman together. I want to instill in him a love for all people, and the idea that you can overcome difficulties to achieve your dreams. A great place to start is with books like this.
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews110 followers
April 2, 2018
"Disagreeable? No. Determined? Yes."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a force to contend with. The second women to be appointed to the Supreme Court (after Sandra Day O'Connor), she is primarily known for being the "Great Dissenter" of the court. Ginsburg made a name for herself since high school. Attending college at Cornell, Harvard and Columbia Law School Ginsburg often outshined her mostly male classmates but still struggled to get hired. Why? Because she was a women. Well Ginsburg did not let that stop her and worked her way up all the way to the Supreme Court. This book is beyond inspirational. I have been enjoying very good children's books lately and this one is among the best. With great illustrations, this books is an abridged version of the life of this great woman. I want to put a copy of this book in the hands of every little girl and boy and of every adult that has ever felt defeated and it would be an honor to shake Justice Ginsburg's hand. Very well written and just wonderful all around, I highly (regardless of age) recommend this gem of a book.

I would like to mention Ginsburg's collars. Til I read this book I had not realized they are not mere fashion pieces (though they are that too). Ginsburg has a collar she wears when she wins but her most iconic piece is her "Dissent Collar" : a magnificent black and gold jeweled piece. Its her way of speaking up when she can not speak. Case in point, check what collar Ginsburg was wearing the day after the last election. Its no wonder how Ginsburg acquired the name "The Notorious RBG". She is an icon in more ways than one and could probably beat me in a push-up contest. I look forward to reading a more in-depth book about this amazing woman. As far as this book goes, I absolutely love it.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books981 followers
June 26, 2017
Like most people who care about what’s happening in the world and aspire to live in a more just society, I’m a huge admirer of Justice Ginsburg. The discrimination she faced as a Jewish female was appalling. She was one of nine women and 500 men in her class, and despite tying for graduating first in her class, she had trouble finding work because women were supposed to stay home with their children.

What Ginsburg has accomplished is awe-inspiring. I bought this for my six-year-old niece, and she needed help with the vocabulary and concepts, but I think it’s important to bring up the topics of religious and gender bias young.

Another thing I never knew about RBG was that she wears a different color collar if her opinion is in the majority—if she concurs—or if she’s in the minority—if she dissents. She is an awesome lady that everyone—boys, girls, adults—should know all about.

For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books104 followers
February 18, 2017
RBG is one of those folks who has a Clark Kentish librarian look even when she's in full-on superhero mode. I suppose that's true of a lot of heroes (they don' wear spandex and capes when they're fighting for justice.) But when I think back to some of the early superhero comics I think, well, Ginsburg could easily have been one of the models.

In any case, this is a great little window into Ginsburg's history and family life, adding some humor into the mix, making her more than just a hero, but a compassionate, unique, well-rounded person who isn't so grand at singing and cooking.

The book describes her battle against a culture that tries to keep so many people disempowered (women, people of color...). Not only does she fight to get past the barriers that try to keep her confined and keep her from working in the justice system as a woman and a Jewish person, but she fights to be part of the justice system in order to break down those barriers for other people. Her concerns are for others as much as for herself. She's a tzadik, something of a wizard, and a beautiful soul and a wonderful role model for kids, and a needful one in these troubled times. So, needless to say, I'm grateful for Levy's book.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,140 reviews
June 2, 2021
This is one of my favorite picture book biographies ever! I think it's brilliantly done. It is lively and engaging, full of heart and thought. I felt completely immersed in RBG's life and ideals. I absolutely love the way it is written. The illustrations are also outstanding and convey a sense of time and place through the decades. The story conveys important ideas like prejudice and other injustices in a way that respects the target audience, making it accessible without dummying down. I especially love that, while certainly this is full of "girl power", it shows that RBG fought for equality as important to both genders. In her school days, girls were excluded from taking shop and boys were excluded from sewing and cooking; Ruth realized that wasn't fair to girls OR boys. Later, she fought in front of the supreme court to prove that person's choices shouldn't be limited just because of their gender. "Ruth wasn't only fighting for women. When women were excluded from the work world, men were excluded from home life. Why shouldn't a father stay home to care for his children and cook the meals? Why shouldn't his wife run a business? These were fresh ideas in the 1970s." The story also touches upon prejudice and bigotry, such as when young Ruth saw a sign in front of a hotel that said NO DOGS OR JEWS ALLOWED. "She disagreed by never forgetting how it felt to read such words. She never forgot the sting of prejudice." She became a lawyer because she "learned that lawyers could fight unfairness and prejudice in courts." (I love the section where she meets Marty Ginsburg in college!) I also really appreciate the way her friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia was portrayed, how they could strongly disagree on important legal matters, yet still maintain a friendship and have fun together. I think this message has always been important, but especially so in today’s society! The story itself feels complete but the back matter is excellent and provides further details about RBG (including some wonderful photographs) and “Notes on Supreme Court Cases” a Selected Bibliography and Quotation Sources. Outstanding! I've read it twice and come away with tears in my eyes and a cheer in my heart. And, it was engaging enough to pull my oldest son away from his latest LEGO creation while I read it aloud ;-) I can't recommend this enough!
Profile Image for Cheryl .
8,922 reviews391 followers
August 2, 2017
Bravo; well done. Lots of information, but engagingly and accessibly told. Even more in the appendices, including photos. A little too simple, I think, for the 10-11 year olds who are usually assigned, iirc, a biographical research report, but maybe a good introduction for them, and definitely a worthy read for any young non-fiction fan.

I especially liked that the book pointed out how prejudices and limits affect all, not just those directly targeted. And I liked the bit about how she and Scalia very often disagree, but remain good friends.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books222 followers
January 7, 2017
Terrifically told and boldly designed. (Love the detail that it all started with reading in the library for RBG.)
5,870 reviews131 followers
June 6, 2021
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark is a children's picture book written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley. It centers on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had ample experience dissenting and objecting long before she reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in September 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton, replacing retiring justice Byron White, and at the time was generally viewed as a moderate consensus-builder.

Levy's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, informative, and lyrical. Levy's breezy text highlights Ginsburg's childhood, schooling, family, and career. Backmatter includes an author's note, photographs, notes on Supreme Court cases, bibliography, and quotation sources. Baddeley's playful full-color illustrations show a resolute Ginsburg realizing a life that includes college, law school, motherhood and a successful legal career.

The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Bucking all trends, Ginsburg pursued a different path than most women in the mid-20th century. The narration emphasizes Ginsburg's true-to-herself determination, as phrases written in large display type are splayed across spreads. A concluding spread offers more details about and context for Ginsburg’s accomplishments, especially in civil rights, alongside four photographs of the justice throughout her life.

All in all, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark is an inspirational biography of justice through the legal system in Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Profile Image for karenbee.
716 reviews10 followers
February 5, 2017
I wasn't going to review I Dissent because I'm trying not to "cheat" in this year's GR challenge but my 7-year-old daughter asked to read it TWICE, which is unheard of these days unless a book involves wars amongst the stars or Lego ninja, so I wanted to add to the sky-high ratings. When I brought it home, it got a hard pass because both of my younger kids thought the cover looked boring -- I love the cover, but our tastes diverge at times.

About a week later, my 7-year-old asked if we could read it, because she'd started reading it on her own (out of desperation? not sure) and "it was very interesting." So we read it together and they asked questions while we read; their classes had just discussed Dr. King so they had a passing knowledge of the broad strokes of the Civil Rights movement, which tied in nicely with Ginsburg's biography.

I think Levy has written a great kid-friendly biography, easy for lower elementary students (mine are 5 and 7) to understand with a little help, but still smart and fun to read. The story flows well and the illustrations are wonderful. There is a bit about the different collars Ginsburg wears that I think was my kids' favorite part, but my favorite part is way before that: a page about her childhood trips to the library that I have to power through so my voice doesn't crack. I also like that Levy includes Ginsburg's friendship with Scalia to show that you can disagree with someone and still be friends.

After we finished reading the first time, I was pleased with how it went -- the kids were engaged and interested throughout the whole thing -- but obviously it was more successful than I realized, because two days later it was put right back in my hands. I need to find a copy of this one.
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,016 reviews116 followers
September 25, 2016
"Her voice might not carry a tune, but it sings out for equality. Step by step, she has made a difference... one disagreement after another."
I received a special tote bag at BEA for this book and now it's one that I carry all over the place with me. So, having that bag made me anxious to read this book.
What a fantastic way to get history out to kids. It's not only great to learn about the history of equality and the good fight of RBG, but all those delicious vocabulary words are flowing freely throughout.
Ginsburg grew up in a time where race was judged, the color of your skin decided which places you would frequent and women were only here to find husbands. As we all know, you can never tell her no to anything. She stood up and fought her way through life and made quite the impression on people around the world.
We all have a new hero, Notorious RBG!!
Profile Image for Snooty1.
441 reviews8 followers
February 5, 2017
********1000 STARS*******
I wanted to start my year out with a book that would be inspiring to me!!!

I read this to my kids...and started crying 3 pages in. My oldest daughter took over for me and hearing her read this book to me...made me cry even more. I seriously started recording her reading it because I knew I wanted to remember that moment forever.
To say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my hero doesn't feel like I'm giving her enough credit. What do you feel for the person that fights battles so that you can have more...fight less? If you invite me to a birthday party expect this book to be part of the gift. This is a must read...must own book.

My husband bought this book for me...to read to our kids which by the way makes him the most amazing man on this planet...he gets me.
Profile Image for Queen Cronut.
183 reviews36 followers
October 14, 2019
An interesting picture book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and her fight against social inequality and prejudice. Although it doesn't go into great detail about RBG and her court cases, it definitely shows the mark she left on America and the addition of the author's note in the back was a nice bonus for extra information. Highly informative but very engaging with boldly colorful designs.
Profile Image for Emma.
1,177 reviews
March 13, 2017
Another title that would fit this book perfectly: "nevertheless she persisted".

I loved everything about I dissent and I wish I could get a copy for all the kids I know!

Special mention for the artwork that made an already awesome book even better.
Profile Image for Mississippi Library Commission.
389 reviews71 followers
February 4, 2017
Attention picture book biography fans! I Dissent is a must read for 2nd-5th graders. The book explores Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life and accomplishments in an easy-to-read style. Not only will kids learn a lot of synonyms for the word dissent, they'll also carry away the message that yes, their voice matters. Additional back matter rounds out the book perfectly.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,270 reviews476 followers
March 14, 2017
Love, love, love!!! A fabulous picture book biography of RBG, with a great author's note at the end with additional biographical information. Great illustrations and a writing style that tells her life story highlighting the times in her life that things were unfair and she stood up against them. A must-have for any classroom.
Profile Image for Richie Partington.
1,073 reviews122 followers
October 4, 2016
Richie’s Picks: I DISSENT: RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES HER MARK by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Badderley, ill., Simon and Schuster BFYR, September 2016, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-6559-5

“Boys were expected to grow up, go out in the world, and do big things.
Girls? Girls were expected to find husbands.”

“For all the mothers fighting
For better days to come
And all my women, all my women sitting here trying
To come home before the sun
And all my sisters
Coming together
Say yes I will
Yes I can”
-- Alicia Keys, “Superwoman”

“RBG is about more than simply breaking glass ceilings to join a man’s world. As the cofounder of the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, and often called the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement, RBG devised careful, incremental plans for revolutionary goals. She imagined a world where men transformed themselves alongside women and where sexual and reproductive freedom was grounded in women’s equity, and then she worked to make it real. Many of her ideals, from the liberation of men to the valuing of caregivers, remain unrealized. RBG’s longtime friend Cynthia Fuchs Epstein says, ‘I think had she not had this persona as this very soft-spoken, neat, and tidy person, with a conventional life, she would have been considered a flaming radical.’”
-- from the 2015 adult bio NOTORIOUS RBG: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG

The Supreme Court is where it’s at. This is what I explained last week to a group of three dozen Danish college students visiting California. One of their stops was at the San Francisco campaign headquarters of the female presidential candidate for whom I’ve been volunteering.

Many of those Danish students gasped audibly when I recalled how, back in the Sixties, women couldn’t even get credit cards in their own names, no less have an equal shot at getting into grad school, or get paid the same as men. This gender inequity is one of the things that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fought against throughout her career.

“Sometimes Ruth and her parents took car trips out of the crowded city. As they drove past a hotel in Pennsylvania, Ruth saw a sign: NO DOGS OR JEWS ALLOWED! This is how it was in those days: hotels, restaurants, even entire neighborhoods announcing, ‘No Jews;’ ‘No Colored;’ ‘No Mexicans;’ ‘Whites Only.’”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up a Jewish girl in Brooklyn, often coming face to face with rampant prejudice. Thanks to the encouragement of her mother who believed in education, Ruth was one of the relatively few women of her generation who attended college and then law school.

As we learn in I DISSENT, it was tough: Ruth was one of only nine women in a law school class of 500. She tied for first in her class, but as a woman, she had a terrible time trying to land a job after graduating. Seeking to advance in her career, she had to be truly outstanding in order to obtain a position as one of the few female law professors in the country.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought her understanding of inequity and intolerance in America to her work as a lawyer, professor, judge, and U.S. Supreme Court justice, advocating for those who were denied equal opportunity. Throughout her life, as we learn in this excellent picture book biography, she hasn’t hesitated to disagree with the status quo, whether it was asserting her right to write left-handed when her school forced students to use their right hands, letting her lawyer husband do all the family cooking, or standing up for immigrants and minorities.

Over the course of our national history, Supreme Court decisions have impacted women in a multitude of ways, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Author Debbie Levy provides examples of some notably sexist quotations from past Supreme Court opinions such as, “The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for man of the occupations of civil life.” It’s interesting to think about young people coming across such a backward notion in the very months that the ultimate glass ceiling might finally be shattered.

Twenty-three years ago, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the 107th U.S. Supreme Court justice, she was only the second woman to sit on the High Court. Since then, two more women have attained positions on the Court. That’s an important step in the right direction, but gender equity in America is still a work in progress.

As we see in I DISSENT, the fact that things have gotten better for women in recent decades is thanks, in good measure, to the tenacious, hard-working (and notorious) Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com
https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/
richiepartington@gmail.com
Profile Image for Memory Toast.
451 reviews16 followers
February 5, 2017
A powerfully-written, picture-book biography. While I commend the author for her compelling prose and well-structured and justified main idea, I disagree (ironically) with the tone of the book. Having read two accounts of RBG in the court within the past year (Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World andMy Own Words) as well as having read and watched interviews with the justice, I don't think most of her legacy is about dissenting. Ruth Ginsburg has made a point of building her opinions, whether they are with or against the court, with respectful and carefully measured words. By her own description, she thinks steps forward are made only when dissent is used judiciously and sparingly.

While the book does hint to this idea - for example, by mentioning her friendship with Justice Scalia, despite their often differing opinions - I felt that the tone overall did not emphasize this important aspect of Justice Ginsburg's work. I think part of my discomfort was with the illustrations, which I felt showed Justice Ginsburg as more angry and bitter-looking than she appears in general. That's not to say that Justice Ginsburg never wears the expressions from the book, but rather I don't think she does as often as is potrayed.

I guess I kind of wish this book had had a different title: "I Respect". Then it could have shown how Justice Ginsburg's real message to us all is that dissenting is not enough, though it is crucial. Speaking out is not enough, though it is vital. One must dissent and speak out in a way that shows one respects and values the person with whom one is disagreeing.
Profile Image for Maryc.
269 reviews25 followers
July 8, 2017
The content was good regarding Justice G.'s life and accomplishments in the face of antisemitism and sexism; but the author started off with a really awkward couple of pages of "DISAPPROVED, DIFFERED, DISAGREED, OBJECTED, RESISTED, DISSENTED," etc. (yes in all caps) to tie in with the title. Then throughout the story, she forces these words in awkwardly, interrupting the flow. It is a picture book for young children, and I didn't love the cartoonish illustrations either. At the end, (for the adult who is reading to the kids, presumably), there is a bibliography and a couple pages with more background on her life, her cases, etc. I do think it's wonderful to have such a book for young children and therefore I agree that it deserved recognition from J.A.P.A. "reading for peace and justice."
Profile Image for Jackie Ostrowicki.
337 reviews33 followers
November 25, 2018
Great mix of illustrations, typography/hand lettering and text showing how Ginsburg grew up and pushed the limits to become who she is today. Perfect book for a "strong girl" library.

Critic's review say:

"This bio of Justice Ginsburg is supremely inspiring, breaking down complicated ideas about the constitution, legal system, and issues of equality for young readers while celebrating Ginsburg's life."
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media

"There’s a new strong-willed young heroine in the world of children’s literature: Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

Abby McGanney Nolan, Washington Post
Profile Image for Julie Suzanne.
1,870 reviews66 followers
September 3, 2021
A new favorite! 5th grade Social Studies teachers (at least in NYS) PLEASE read and use!

This perfect picture book about Bader Ginsburg will be an ideal and enjoyable vehicle to hit major literacy and character ed learning targets while also teaching US Government content in an enjoyable and impactful way.

Social Studies:
--How the supreme court works
--Checks and balances in our government
--how laws change over time due to the action of elected officials and citizens
--the fight for equality for all

Character Ed:
--It's okay to be have different ideas
--We can disagree and still be friends
--Ginsberg is a hero and an amazing human being with many talents but also with many flaws and weaknesses (couldn't sing, terrible at cooking)
--We should stand up for what we believe in; we may not win every battle. There are some things we can't control but many we can with perseverance, determination and persistence
--respect for the elderly, taking care of one's health (mentions that she's very old but goes to the gym, travels, goes to the opera as a way of taking care of herself so that she is still fit to work hard).
--equal rights and equal treatment!
--the concept of stereotypes and gender roles

Vocabulary:
-persist
-resist
-dissent
-concur
-prejudice
-object
-role

Literacy opportunities:
--A quote from Supreme Court opinion on one page: I'd isolate the quote for a very short CLOSE READ exercise. What does this mean? What is the gist? How would you put this in other words? Use dictionary, thesaurus for "timidity", "delicacy" "evidently" "occupations" if you need to. Then refer to the page where underneath that quote the author says, "In other words, women and girls were too shy and weak to do big things in the world." Compare to kids' responses.
--how many synonyms for disagree were there in this book? What are all the ways you can say that you disagree? Agree?
--symbolism--what symbol did Bader use to communicate whether or not she agreed with the Supreme Court's ruling (nice example of a symbol).
--Enrichment opportunities: In the main, illustrated text, the author says, (just one example), that she disagreed "when the court wouldn't help women or African Americans or immigrants who had been treated unfairly at work." In the Notes at the end of the book, the cases that are referred to are given (i.e. Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2007). Students could try to learn more about such cases (advanced).

I could do so much with this book and a class full of 5th graders. I'd ask how they feel about many of the claims and statements made (do you concur or disapprove of this?) I'm giddy with the opportunities the text presents.

I especially love how the author starts with an example anyone could understand: explaining that at one time teachers forced left-handed students to write with their right hand. Because Bader was a lefty, she received low grades in penmanship. Asking kids to write with the hand opposite of their favored and having them imagine that they were forced to turn in work that way knowing that they would be graded on how neatly they wrote would infuriate them, I bet. They could empathize with this (I hope). It's a great access point to the concepts that will be presented in the rest of the book. This was a rule that showed prejudice against left-handed people, a quality that may not be controlled, perhaps.

Compelling question opportunities abound around which to frame a unit that is addressed with this text, and I can't recommend it enough to elementary to middle-school-aged kids (and adults who love picture books) and especially to teachers who are teaching Government or kids of any subject after they have learned the basics of US government.




Profile Image for Doc..
214 reviews64 followers
March 16, 2022
How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.

1. I love where it begins—in a library.
Like most game-changing individuals, RBG’s story starts with a passion for books and learning; it starts with finding strong female role models at home and through history and literature. With that, the book impresses upon children the importance of reading and self-improvement.

2. I love its unabashed defence of emotional responses.
As women are, to this day, discouraged from pursuing stressful courses because of the wide belief in “female fragility”, I thought it was important to note that RBG’s driving force is that “She never forgot the sting of prejudice.” I’m also glad to see a book emphasise that the law is not the domain of cold logic alone, that universal moral principles matter more, and that change usually begins in the court of public opinion.

3. I love that it explains the transformative function of dissent.
Women are often told that, if they want to be liked, they had better conform, better be polite. They had better endure rather than risk appearing confrontational. The book’s theme boldly rejects this notion and the status quo, elucidating how disagreeing leads to discourse which brings about progress.

4. I love its criticism of gender roles.
Growing up, Ruth hated that boys could take shop while she was stuck in sewing and cooking classes. In my school, the alternative was computer science, for which I opted. Afterwards, a friend’s mother told me, “You could’ve picked up a useful skill for when you need to mend things around the house.” Ruth resented such limits on a woman’s ambition, and the book points out how arbitrary they are.

5. I love its glowing yet matter-of-fact depiction of an unconventional family.
Ruth’s husband Marty did the cooking while she worked late, and outsiders mocked or were shocked at this. The book is careful to show that there are no predetermined moulds: The family did what worked for them. Marty did not “let” his wife advance in her career or “help” her by performing a few household chores; they shared the responsibilities of parenting.

6. I love that it tells us representation is not enough.
Ruth was one of few women to get into law school, and—despite tying for first place in her class—jobs were hard to come by for a woman. The book warily tells us not to become self-congratulatory as more women enter male-dominated fields. We must still fight to ensure equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace. It’s not a compliment when a man tells you, “It’s rare to meet a female *insert profession*!” We need to question the systemic reasons for our under-representation as well as refute this insistence that we are exceptionally talented rather than a privileged few.

7. I love its choice of lawsuits.
Over the years, RBG has argued for and presided over history-making cases, including guaranteeing marriage equality. But her first one before the SCOTUS—as amicus curiae for the ACLU—rightfully made it in here, proving that the book hopes to first and foremost champion female empowerment. This case is important because of its broad application of feminism, showing how its benefits affect women and men, especially those suffering because of our cultural expectations from “masculinity”.

8. I love its trivia on RBG’s accessories.
Bollywood has jumped on the feminism train lately—or so they would have us believe, though the top-billed leading stars of these movies are men (here’s looking at you, Dangal and Pink) and the plots are related from the male gaze. In the former, a female athlete’s losing streak is blamed on her discovery of makeup after a cloistered existence—not on a corrupt bureaucracy or underfunded women’s sports programmes or even the disease of consumerism, but on her new indulgence of feminine desires! So, while RBG’s fondness for lace collars may seem like an insignificant detail, it’s not. The book is telling us that although she may not cook or stitch, RBG is unapologetically feminine—there is no designated way to be a woman. Because feminists are not “trying to be men” or whatever absurd point the “meninists” are making today. And as much as industries and advertisers artificially and subliminally curate our tastes, no one should be condescended to or taken less seriously based on their appearance.

10. I love its inclusion of RBG’s friendship with Scalia.
I honestly don’t know how she did it, because that man was vile. But the book sends an important message at a time when the political left and right are failing to understand each other, let alone agree on fundamental issues. The internet has made it easy to seek opinions that confirm our biases but this is to the detriment of us all. We need to be constantly challenged so as to strengthen our convictions, advocate for them more strongly and, yes, even re-evaluate their impact as needed. Above all, we’ve got to value one another as human beings, despite our differences.

11. I love its art style.
There were moments when I thought this doesn’t work as a children’s book: the text is long-drawn and occasionally clunky; the cover art is severe; the title is too stiff; the cases lack context. But when you flip through the pages, it’s impossible not to be completely taken by the arresting and brightly coloured artwork and font, which reminded me of the Looney Tunes cartoons. This book is an excellent introduction to feminist ideas and to the fascinating, inspiring and opinionated Notorious R.B.G.

Profile Image for Alice Bell.
69 reviews1 follower
December 25, 2021
A beautifully illustrated book. Should be required reading for all children both girls and boys. RBG is a true role model.

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you”.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
490 reviews10 followers
June 11, 2020
I loved this book! I admire RBG anyway but o loved this book because the author explained court, law, judges, etc in a great way. These topics were explained in a way that was not too hard nor too simplistic. I think my 4th and 5th graders will love it, even if they don’t know who she is (yet).
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