I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

by Debbie Levy

Other authorsElizabeth Baddeley (Illustrator.)
Book, 2016



Call number

E 799 LEV



New York, NY Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016


Traces the achievements of the celebrated Supreme Court justice through the lens of her many famous acts of civil disagreement against inequality, unfair treatment, and human rights injustice.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mortloff
Great book that teaches about the supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the things that she has stood up for.
LibraryThing member michelleannlib
It should come as no surprise to anyone that I absolutely loved this book.
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
This picture book biography covers the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from her early childhood through the present. Throughout, Ginsburg objects when she sees unfair practices around her, whether that's a "No dogs or Jews allowed" sign viewed as a child or a woman being paid less
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than a man in a court case before her. The author makes a point of saying that "disagreeing" and "disagreeable" are not the same thing -- Ginsburg speaks up not to be curmudgeonly but to point out inequalities. One page spread shows how Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia had very different views on the law but that didn't stop them from being friends outside the courthouse.

Overall, this book gives a pretty good overview of Ginsburg's life and achievements. It was not quite as detailed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter, although that is not necessarily a bad thing as it might be more accessible for younger readers as a result. Backmatter includes an extensive author's note with more information about Ginsburg's career, a listing of important cases that Ginsburg worked on, and a bibliography of articles, books, videos, etc.

The illustrations were not exactly in a style I loved (something about them seemed to verge a little too much onto the caricature side), but I do appreciate how they included a number of diverse people.
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LibraryThing member scatlett
I dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her mark (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) by Debbie Levy is a well-researched, vibrant picture book biography of the second female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Levy connects young readers with her subject using lively text that allows her readers
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to understand Ruth Bader Ginsburg within a historical context in an engaging manner.
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LibraryThing member JenW1
Read this with my 11 year old daughter today. Fantastic! Granted, as my 17 year old son pointed out, it almost makes her appear infallible and like she always won. However, considering it's a simple picture book, it's perfect for its target audience. Great introduction to RBG's life and legacy,
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depending on the age of your child, follow it up with other more in-depth works. It includes notes/bibliography. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
Positively positive book about not settling.
LibraryThing member alsvidur
Disagreeing and fighting for what you believe in while still being nice and civil is something we could all use a reminder in, and this book delivers. I love that there's a picture book about RBG for girls to read!
LibraryThing member Stewart24
"Her voice may not carry a tune, but it sings out for equality." A rousing and inspirational story of a woman who wasn't afraid to work hard, fight for what she believed in, and never back down. Most definitely will be in my classroom library. I would read this as a read-aloud for character
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education as a testament to grit, persistence, growth mindset. I love the inclusion of illustration as text. "Ruth's mother Disagreed", "Then she Protested", "Ruth really really disagreed with this!" and other phrases are written in beautiful handwritten script. It breaks the barrier between the text and pictures as stand-alone elements in the story-telling process.
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LibraryThing member nbmars
The author begins her story by showing, on one side of the 2-page spread, the future Supreme Court Justice, born in 1933, as a disputatious young girl. On the other, we see her as a much older disputatious justice. She writes:

“You could say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life has been . . . one
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disagreement after another.

This is how Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed her life - and ours.”

She then takes us through Ruth’s childhood in Brooklyn, New York, in a neighborhood full of immigrants, who, while different in some ways, in one way were the same: boys were expected to grow up to do big things, and women were expected to find husbands.

Ruth’s mother disagreed, and took her to the library where she discovered stories of female heroes.

But Ruth had another obstacle to overcome: whenever they left the city, they encountered signs barring entrance to Jews (as she was), blacks, Mexicans, etc. As the author wrote: “She never forgot the sting of prejudice.”

Ruth objected to prejudice of any kind, and to the other injustices she encountered in school. She was told not to write with her left hand, even though she was left-handed. She was made to learn sewing and cooking in school, while boys got to take shop and work with tools. She wanted to sing, but her teacher said she could not carry a tune. In all of these areas, Ruth protested whenever she could.

At college, she met Marty Ginsburg, who agreed that Ruth should have the opportunity to go to law school, and eventually they married. At law school, Ruth was one of only nine women in a group of 500 men. But she tied for first place in the class.

Nonetheless, after graduation, no one would hire her. Men did not want to work with a woman [not to mention, one probably smarter than any of them]; she was a mother (law firms thought that would distract her); and she was Jewish, at a time when many firms didn’t hire Jews. Finally a judge hired her, and then she became a law professor.

Ruth also went to the Supreme Court to advocate for rights for women, arguing her first case in 1973. The author writes:

“Ruth did not win every case, but she won enough. With each victory, women and men and girls and boys enjoyed a little more equality.”

In 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, becoming the second woman ever, after Sandra Day O'Connor, to serve on that body, and the first Jewish woman ever to be appointed to the Court. She began to wear two different collars over her robes: one when she agreed with the Court’s decision, and a different one when she dissented.

The author (who, it should be noted, formerly practiced law) reports that now Justice Ginsburg is the oldest member of the Court. “Some people have said she should quit because of her age. Justice Ginsburg begs to differ.”

Throughout the book, large words are depicted over the text that illustrate the theme the author has made central to Ginsburg’s life: “I disagree!” “I object!” “I beg to differ!” “I do not concur!”

In an Afterword, the author provides additional details about Ginsburg’s life, and about the sociopolitical context in which she grew up. She also includes references to some of the cases Ginsburg argued before the Court as a lawyer, and some of the cases on which she made an impact while she has been serving as Supreme Court Justice. In addition, there is a bibliography and a list of sources.

The illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley are made with pencil, ink and watercolor, employing an entertaining “comic book” style that will appeal to kids.

Evaluation: The author said in an interview that the story of the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) offers the inspiring lesson that “[d]isagreeing [especially if you are a girl] does not make you disagreeable, and important change happens one disagreement at a time.” Standing up for what is right is a great lesson to impart to children. At the same time, she notes, “simply disagreeing without more isn’t really enough if you want to change your life or anyone else’s.” So on the back of the book, she includes a quote from RBG: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
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LibraryThing member lummigirl
Book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg told in Picture Book format for students for 2nd - 4th grade. It is a great book not only because it is about a strong woman that was a strong girl, it also discusses the idea of gender roles in the household and the religious discrimination that Bader Ginsburg
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encountered as a child and young woman.
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LibraryThing member lispylibrarian
I loved I DISSENT! It was very well written and easy for young readers to understand. It beautifully illustrates the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her journey to becoming the first Jewish Woman to be a Supreme Court Justice. I DISSENT not only showed how nothing stopped Ruth from success but that
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along the way she learned that we don't always get what we want, and "...that sometimes life was like that" (Levy 11). Overall, it is a beautiful biography that many can learn from.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
Spectacular picture book style biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- love the art and the story -- it's very clean, very compact, very powerful.
LibraryThing member caliesunshine
The main points of this book are how Ruth Bader Ginsburg overcame a history of “no” and went on to be the first Jewish Woman Justice for the United States Supreme Court. The story talks about how Ruth’s mother always wanted more for her. Ruth went to college, she was a professor, a lawyer, a
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wife, a mother. Mrs. Ginsburg Dissented a lot, but this did not make her disagreeable, it just made her objection clear. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an inspirational woman for all to look up to. The concluding pages talk about how Mrs. Ginsburg was willing to hear other people’s opinions and her mind was open to change. I enjoyed how she gave us more text on Mrs. Ginsburg’s life at the very end of the book. The summary of this book was very convincing. I don’t believe anyone who reads this book could find bad things about it. I believe it was very well thought out and had a lot of conviction and charisma.
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LibraryThing member ebrossette
Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not become a Supreme Court judge by sitting quietly. She spoke out against sexism, Anti-Semitism, and other barriers that attempted to prevent her from her career. While this book is mainly a biography, it also does a wonderful job of representing and accepting those who
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don't follow traditional gender roles. I Dissent is my favorite children's biography.
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LibraryThing member darianskie
the heroic story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg


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