Enlightening, inspiring, and empowering.

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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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Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one.

THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

The charismatic creator of the Eisner-nominated Amelia Rules! series recounts his beginnings as a cartoonist.

From the very first panel, Gownley’s graphic memoir is refreshingly different. He’s not the archetypal nerd, and he doesn’t retreat to draw due to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Gownley seems to be a smart kid and a talented athlete, and he has a loyal group of friends and a girlfriend. After he falls ill, first with chicken pox and then pneumonia, he falls behind in school and loses his head-of-the-class standing—a condition he is determined to reverse. A long-standing love of comics leads him to write his own, though his first attempt is shot down by his best friend, who suggests he should instead write a comic about their group. He does, and it’s an instant sensation. Gownley’s story is wonderful; his small-town life is so vividly evinced, it’s difficult to not get lost in it. While readers will certainly pick up on the nostalgia, it should be refreshing—if not completely alien—for younger readers to see teens interacting without texting, instead using phones with cords. Eagle-eyed readers will also be able to see the beginnings of his well-loved books about Amelia. He includes an author’s note that shouldn’t be overlooked—just be sure to keep the tissues handy.

Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one. (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-45346-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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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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