A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, is an informative and engaging biography of the first Jewish woman to serve on America's highest court. Born in an era when girls were expected to limit their aspirations to the domestic sphere, Ginsburg dedicated herself to fighting for the rights of women and minorities. When she encountered obstacles, she persisted. The complicated legal ideas in the text are explained clearly and simplified for the intended age group, and the art humanizes the heroine and gives the book heart. RBG's life and accomplishments are truly inspiring, a powerful model for young readers.
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What's the story?
I DISSENT: RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES HER MARK tells the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg rose to become a Supreme Court justice. Born into a Jewish family in 1930s Brooklyn, she grew up when girls were expected to raise families but not participate in the workforce, and encountered prejudice against Jews and other minorities. But Ruth's mother supported her ambitions and education, and Ruth went on to attend law school, where she met her husband and started a family, sharing household and child-rearing duties, an unconventional arrangement at the time. When law firms wouldn't hire her, she worked as a law professor and argued cases about equality for women. President Jimmy Carter appointed her as a judge in Washington, D.C., and Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, the first Jewish woman on the nation's highest court, where she continued to fight for equality. A few meaty pages of afterword include more detail about Ginsburg's life and the important court cases she influenced.
Is it any good?
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. Levy cleverly pulls out words that show Ginsburg disagreeing with the status quo and organizes the narrative around them. The young Ruth in I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark not only dissented, she also "protested," "objected," "disapproved," "resisted and persisted," and "did not concur" -- which arms young girls with a vocabulary to use when they run up against opposition.
Illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley's illustration works perfectly with the text, vividly portraying the settings and experiences of the young Ruth, who's pictured with a determined glint in her eye, rendering her relatable to smart, plucky girls everywhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the injustices portrayed in I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. How has the world changed since RBG was young? Do you see injustice? What can you do about it?
Ruth liked to read about heroines in her favorite books. What female characters do you like?
The author introduces lots of words to characterize Ruth's response to things she disagrees with: dissent, protest, object, does not concur. Can you think of ways you can apply them to your life?
- Author: Debbie Levy
- Illustrator: Elizabeth Baddeley
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: September 20, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 17, 2019
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