Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice

S. & S. Nov. 2019. 208p. bibliog. notes. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534424555; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781534424562.
Gr 6 Up–Levy once again turns to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom she profiled in the picture book I Dissent, this time writing a biography of the Supreme Court Justice for the middle and high school set. Juxtaposing Ginsburg’s childhood as a Jew in 1930s America with the Nazi uprising in Europe and the proliferation of anti-Semitism, Levy demonstrates how Ginsburg’s sense of justice was formed at an early age as young Ruth realized that bigotry can flourish anywhere, even in the United States. Inspiration from heroes such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Ruth’s mother, Celia Bader, set Ginsburg on the path to greatness. At Harvard Law, where she was one of only nine female students, she rose to the top of her class, navigating sexism with the support of her unorthodox husband, Marty Ginsburg. Levy expertly makes Ginsburg’s landmark court cases relevant to a middle and high school audience. Gardner’s minimalist, three-color artwork echoes Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. At times, placement of text bubbles distracts from the flow of the narrative, cutting sentences in half and continuing them on another panel, but overall the illustrations are effective, and Gardner’s depiction of Ginsburg is abstract enough that all readers will see themselves in her story.
VERDICT Fans of graphic biographies such as Penelope Bagieu´s Brazen or John Lewis’s March will appreciate this look at how the “Notorious RBG” came up.

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