Read this and be inspired to work for justice through the legal system.

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Speak purposefully and carry a big legal pad.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1940s Brooklyn neighborhood was filled with the traditional sights and aromas of many different immigrant cultures alongside her Jewish background, but in one respect her life was different. Her mother believed women should pursue opportunities outside the traditional ones. Ruth read voraciously in her neighborhood library, but it was on car trips with her family that she was exposed to racial and religious prejudices, effectively communicated with signage in the illustrations. Rebelling against writing with her right hand, the left-handed Ruth went on to earn a law degree—rare for women at that time—and teach law. She made it her mission to fight in the courts for equal rights for women and people of color. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, the first Jewish woman to sit. In her many opinions, she “sings out for equality.” Levy’s breezy text highlights Ginsburg’s childhood, schooling, family (with a husband as the cook), and career. Baddeley’s mixed-media art is colorful, lively, and retro in feel. The judicious use of large and varied display types throughout the pages emphasizes Ginsburg’s thoughts and actions, often evoking picket signs of protest.

Read this and be inspired to work for justice through the legal system. (author’s note, photographs, notes on Supreme Court cases, bibliography, quotation sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6559-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.


An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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