Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice is a graphic-novel biography of the iconic Supreme Court justice, the second woman appointed to the Court. Many of the issues it presents, particularly involving legal fine points and courtroom strategy, will be way over the heads of much of the middle grade target audience. And between the earnest tone and the sense that the book is preaching to the choir, it may be a bit of a slog for many. But fans of the Notorious RBG will find inspiration here. And some of the everyday obstacles women faced in the mid-20th century (from lack of bathrooms in law school to women not being allowed to serve on juries) will be startling revelations to readers today.
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What's the Story?
Born to a strong, loving Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, young Ruth Bader feels the shadow of World War II and the Holocaust, admires Eleanor Roosevelt, excels in school, then suffers a great loss when her beloved mom dies of cancer -- and another one when, per Jewish custom, she's not counted as an official mourner because she's female. The long path of BECOMING RBG takes her through college and law school at a time when female students were a rarity, then on to a career driven by a quest for justice supported by rigorous legal work, ultimately leading to her appointment as the second woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Is It Any Good?
This middle-grade graphic-novel biography of iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tries but doesn't entirely succeed at making its complex subject accessible to kids. Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice, by author Debbie Levy (I Dissent), offers many relatable, thought-provoking moments and historical insights amid a pile-on of fine points of legal issues that will go over the heads of much of the target audience. Readers may also struggle with the relevance of issues like whether to go to college at Cornell or Barnard.
The book has a strong tone of advocacy for causes in line with Ginsburg's positions, but there's also an emphasis on the importance of respecting and working with people who don't share your views. All the quotes are documented, and an extensive appendix offers much for further reading.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the Supreme Court is shown in Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice. How do the justices' decisions affect people's lives?
Do you think the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life was well-suited for a graphic novel? What can graphic novels do that text alone cannot? Did following her story in comics panels help you understand the history, legal issues, and who she is as a person?
Have you ever been told you couldn't do something because of your gender? How did it feel? What did you do?
- Author: Debbie Levy
- Illustrator: Whitney Gardner
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Activism, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: November 5, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 18
- Number of pages: 208
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 12, 2019
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