A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mentions several landmark legal cases and explains vocabulary, including "trailblazer," what a U.S. Supreme Court justice is, and what a "dissent" is. In the Supreme Court context, "It's when you disagree with the majority of justices and write your own opinion telling the public why."
There's nothing that a woman cannot be. "Oftentimes, change doesn't happen all at once. It happens little by little, case by case." "Sometimes the only way to make change is when someone gives you a chance.… Other times, you won't know change is possible until someone shows you it's possible." "Over time, the best reasoned dissents can eventually become the majority view. That's how progress works. When you break down barriers, others can get a fair chance." When you see something "that's unjust, you need to take a stand. Use your voice. Use your brain. If people ignore you, let them hear your dissent. You may not win now, but you can open minds tomorrow." The best part of blazing a trail "is leaving tracks. That means you're not just doing things for yourself. You're leaving a path for others to follow. Start with one voice and let it grow into a chorus." "Create equality, create justice." "Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." "Hatred is similar to injustice --both are destructive fractures in our society that we must repair."
Positive Role Models
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a role model for all kids in terms of how she fought for equal rights and opportunities for all and how she fought against stereotypes of her as a woman and as a Jewish person. She persevered and never gave up her fight for equal justice under the law. The book explains antisemitism in a way kids can easily grasp, showing how it affected Ruth's understanding of prejudice and injustice: "Being Jewish, I also learned that there were people who didn't like me just because of my religion." Ruth's' parents were supportive and forward thinking. "When I was little, people expected different things from boys and girls. In some of the earliest books I read, boys would be climbing trees and riding bikes, while girls would just sit around in pink dresses…. Thankfully, my parents didn't accept the way things were." Her mother told her, "There's nothing a woman can't accomplish."
Ruth's life story shows how she broke gender and religious barriers despite efforts to exclude her because she was a woman and Jewish. She went on to be the second woman and first Jewish woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. The book shows visibly diverse kids in the classroom and playing together on the street, as well as visibly diverse adults in other scenes. Some pages highlight heroes and trailblazers who are people of color, including Harriet Tubman, Pauli Murray, and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson. The final, aspirational illustration includes visibly diverse kids in Supreme Court Justice robes, including a girl wearing a head scarf, a Sikh boy wearing a pitka to cover his hair, and a blind person with a guide dog.
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A sign on a motel in one scene says "No Dogs or Jews." When she tries to get a job after law school, after tying for first place in her graduating class, different law firms tell her, "We don't hire women," "We don't hire Jews," and "We don't hire mothers with children."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Am Ruth Bader Ginsburg is part of the Ordinary People Change the World series by author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos, which portrays historical and historically significant contemporary figures as big round-headed children, even as they grow up to accomplish great things. Ginsburg is a great role model for courage, perseverance, and compassion. I Am Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a call to use your brain and your talents to fight for justice as it artfully underscores the idea that one person can make a difference. There's antisemitic language on a motel sign and in one speech bubble.
Is It Any Good?
This concise biography does a fantastic job of highlighting Ruth Bader Ginsburg's many accomplishments with kid-friendly writing, humor, and appealing cartoon-like illustrations. Complex case law is distilled to refer to things as being fair or unfair -- language kids can easily understand. Ruth is a tremendous role model for kids, and I Am Ruth Bader Ginsberg does her justice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.