Enlightening, inspiring, and empowering.

BECOMING RBG

RUTH BADER GINSBURG'S JOURNEY TO JUSTICE

Levy expands upon I Dissent (2016), her picture-book biography of the Supreme Court justice and cultural icon, in this graphic biography.

Octogenarian Ruth Bader Ginsburg is widely renowned for her intelligence, clarity, perseverance, and determination to move the needle of the American judicial system toward tangible justice and equity. With clear, effortless text conveyed in narrative boxes and speech bubbles, author Levy shows readers that these traits have been core tenets of Justice Ginsburg’s life since childhood. The evenly paced narrative provides an overview of Ginsburg’s life from her birth through her appointment on the Supreme Court, showing how her relationships with family members and her (delightfully unconventional) husband and the discrimination she faced as a woman and a Jew affected the arc of her life and career. Levy seamlessly provides historical context for this discrimination and the discrimination of other marginalized people Ginsburg worked with, and she neatly breaks down some of Ginsburg’s key legal cases to make them accessible. A detailed prose epilogue charts Ginsburg’s time on the Supreme Court, the personal and professional challenges she has faced since her appointment, and the cultural impact she continues to have. Gardner’s two-tone illustrations (a patriotic deep blue with red-pink highlights and ample use of white space) are friendly, easy to follow, expressive, and engaging, though at times text-box placement is awkward, and the use of type is unexceptional. Backmatter includes a timeline, a select bibliography, and endnotes with quotation sources.

Enlightening, inspiring, and empowering. (Graphic biography. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2456-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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SMILE

Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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