BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Go, Girl! I Dissent: Ruth Bader. Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

In 1940, little Ruth's neighborhood was vibrant with immigrants--people from Ireland and England, German Jews from Russia like Ruth's father, Nathan Bader, people from different cultures with different holidays, foods, and traditions.

But in in all these families in Brooklyn, New York, one thing was the same.

Boys were expected to grow up and do big things.

Girls? They expected to find husbands. Ruth's mother disagreed. She thought girls should have their chance to make their mark in the world.

Little Ruth was smart and determined. She objected to being told she had to write with her right hand! She disagreed that girls had to take cooking, while boys got to take machine shop in school! She disapproved of the signs she saw on family trips:

NO DOGS OR JEWS

NO COLORED OR MEXICANS

WHITES ONLY

In high school Ruth was respected as a top student, cellist, and excellent baton twirler. And when she went to college, she managed to find a husband, Marty Ginsberg, have a baby, graduate with high honors, and go on to graduate at the top of her law school class. But when she went out to find a job as a lawyer, she hit that famous ceiling:

NO ONE WANTED TO HIRE A JEWISH WOMAN OR A MOTHER.

But Ruth Bader Ginsberg didn't give up. She took the only job that she could find, as a law professor. She was paid less than her men colleagues; she disagreed with that policy, but persevered and she went on to argue cases before the Supreme Court. At last she was appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit Court. There was only one job in which she took a back seat to a man:

MARTY WAS A SUCCESSFUL LAWYER, BUT ALSO A MARVELOUS COOK WHO MASTERED THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING.

RUTH, HER FAMILY AGREED, HAD MASTERED THE ART OF BURNT POT ROAST!

Dissenting, disagreeing, disapproving, and debating paid off when Ruth was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Wearing her famous white lace color when she agreed on a case and a darker one for dissents, she even managed to become best friends with her sometimes nemesis on the court, Antonin Scalia, with whom she, enjoyed opera, went parasailing in France, and rode elephants in India--when they were not arguing about a case.

To author Debbie Levy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a hero, and in her lively and humorous biography, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark (Simon and Schuster, 2016), Levy tells the story of the indefatigable woman justice who has made a difference in the world into which she was born. Along with the humorous illustrations of Elizabeth Baddeley, the author tells the story of the spirited jurist who with wit, charm, and determination has made her mark on American jurisprudence. Perfect as a contemporary biography for middle readers, this one is a lively read. Says School Library Journal's starred review, "This dynamic offering is an essential purchase!" And Booklist's starred review adds, "This lively, inviting, and informative biography of a historic woman will empower young ones to bravely voice their opinions."  Judiciously, of course.

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