Sharing her legacy: Books for kids about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Seira Wilson on October 06, 2020

Sharing her legacy: books for young readers about RBG

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a sad day in my house as it was in so many others. RBG has been an inspiration and an icon, passing on a monumental legacy of fighting for justice.

In recent years I've seen a number of books written for kids and young adults—including board books and graphic novels—about RBG's life and accomplishments. These books are just one of the ways her voice will still be heard by the generations to come, and her many efforts on behalf of those without a voice, celebrated. Here are some of my favorites:

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

A fun and informative picture book biography about Ruth Bader Ginsburg that shows how even as a young girl, Ginsburg would not accept unequal treatment. A left-hander, she refused to be forced into using her right, as was the norm at the time. She went to law school, when women were expected to stay at home. And she became one of the most influential U.S. Supreme Court justices to serve on the bench. A rich portrait of a spirited woman and her accomplishments.  Ages 4 to 8

I Look Up To... Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Anna Membrino

Part of a series of board books that focuses on women who are changing the world, I Look Up To...Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a bright and colorful tribute.  Key character traits are highlighted, along with a description from her life, and accompanied by a quote from RBG. One example: "Ruth is SMART. She reads, listens, and thinks before she makes a decision" and the quote is: "I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others." Ages baby to 3

Notorious RBG Young Readers' Edition: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Adapted from the adult book by the same name, this edition was created with middle graders in mind.  The "Notorious RBG" was more than a Supreme Court justice, she became a cultural icon, and a symbol for young women in particular, of standing up, speaking up, being strong and fearless in upsetting the status quo or registering your dissent (!). A full-color biography that is as lively and entertaining as its subject. Ages 8 to 12

Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy

A graphic novel biography about the evolution of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from curious girl to fiercely dedicated Supreme Court Justice. The author of this beautifully rendered graphic novel biography is also the author of the picture book: I Dissent. The text and layout tell Ginsburg's story from birth through some of her pivotal court cases. Becoming RBG does an excellent job of capturing RBG's personality, and the events from her life that shaped her views.  Ages 10 and up

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life and Work by Victoria Ortiz

Focusing on case histories from Ginsburg's career on the bench, this book for teen readers is thoroughly researched and told in an engaging narrative style. Vintage photographs are interspersed throughout the book, along with an account of her life. A skillful blend of history and biography, each case was carefully chosen to reflect issues that young readers can relate to, and to illustrate how Ginsburg's own experiences and observations of discrimination led her to champion civil rights. Ages 10 and up

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter

Jonah Winter's highly acclaimed picture book biography for older readers employs a format that shows the obstacles she faced throughout her life as if they were exhibits in a court case. The prejudice Ginsburg faced began as a young Jewish girl in Brooklyn during World War II, her father's objection to her attending college, the challenges of being one of only a few female law students, as well as being the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court. With humor and grit, she overcame all the hurdles put in her way. Ages 8 to 12

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