Dr. Toughlove

Join Carol Franks-Randall, EdD retired educator and children’s book author, living in Centreville, each month as she writes children’s book reviews as Dr. Toughlove, one of the protagonists in her first book, “Jamal and Me.” Check out her website at https://carolfranksrandall.com.

Dr. Toughlove has decided that since March is Women’s History Month, it would be the perfect time to write a review of the children’s picture book “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark,” written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley.

This book is a biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was still working as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court when she died in 2020. What does the word dissent mean? When Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I Dissent,” she was telling us that she disagreed with what many of the other Justices on the Supreme Court believed.

While many of us remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a groundbreaking Supreme Court Justice known for her fancy collars and strong opinions, this book begins by telling the reader more about her early years. Ruth grew up in an immigrant community in Brooklyn, NY, where “Boys were expected to grow up, go out in the world and do big things. Girls were expected to find husbands” (p.4). Ruth, who was an excellent student, had other ideas. She wasn’t shy about making her feelings known, and Debbie Levy’s book has a charming way of using eye-catching illustrations and large print to help the reader understand what Ruth was like as a young girl. The pages in this book paint a picture of Justice Ginsburg’s neighborhood, family and interests using bold colors and different-sized print to hold the reader’s interest.

The ideas in this book are not simple, but Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley find a way to use language and pictures to make them understandable for kids anywhere from age 4 and up. As a bonus, in the back of the book, there is a biography of Justice Ginsburg’s life for adult readers, as well as notes on some of her Supreme Court cases. A list of additional books, articles, videos and quotation sources are also included.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a role model for girls and women of all ages and is a historical figure that should be celebrated any time of the year, but particularly during Women’s History Month. Dr. Toughlove believes that youngsters and adults alike will be inspired by her story and understand her important place in United States history.

Copies of “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” can be found at the Queen Anne’s County library in print or electronic versions.

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