DISSENTER ON THE BENCH

RUTH BADER GINSBURG’S LIFE AND WORK

Meticulous research and outstanding storytelling make Supreme Court arcana and the fight for equality come to life.

A biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that illustrates her lifelong commitment to promoting civil rights.

The author has expertly selected cases for this readable volume that will pique the interest of teens. The gripping first chapter introduces Savana Lee Redding, the eighth-grade honor roll student who sued after being strip-searched at school and eventually won in the Supreme Court, due partly to Ginsburg’s explaining to her uncomprehending male fellow justices the humiliation the girl felt. Subsequent chapters intersperse black-and-white photos and details of Ginsburg’s life with fascinating cases focusing on free speech, marriage equality, gender-based pay and benefit discrimination, and other hot-button issues. Readers learn about her early years as a Jewish girl in Brooklyn, hard work and academic stardom, college years at Cornell (where she met her husband-to-be), egalitarian marriage, and distinguished legal career spent in dogged pursuit of equality. Many examples of how Ginsburg herself experienced or witnessed discrimination are included. The last chapter explores the justice’s recent role as a popular media and cultural icon. The author carefully shapes the most salient facts into a narrative that brings both protagonists and issues to life, deftly situating each case in its historical context; the result is far more than just a biography or history. It’s a complex interweaving of both.

Meticulous research and outstanding storytelling make Supreme Court arcana and the fight for equality come to life. (The Bill of Rights, source notes, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-97364-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

DISCOVERING WES MOORE

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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