“She made change happen and she changed minds.” These words are in the 2016 picture book I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster). I came across this book last week when I discovered that the author would soon be in town visiting a creative writing class. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself is speaking at Virginia Military Academy on February 1st. Yes, I’ll be there!
This book is incredibly timely to help encourage young readers in understanding that dissent in the name of progress is their right as a citizen and their duty to humanity. I know that such a book would have empowered my twelve-year-old self that wrote letters to my representatives to save the whales. I still have their response letter, naively thinking at the time that they actually wrote the reply. My much older self knows that staffers write these replies, but I also know that calls and letters work, most recently evidenced in the stopping of a new proposal that would overhaul the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The biographical information on Ruth Bader Ginsburg is engaging – from her early childhood up to and including her position as a Supreme Court Justice. It is filled with adjectives for dissent in bold print, and illustrations that help cement the messages of progress and hope in the reader’s mind. The features of big text in places and the large images work to pull the reader in, to help the reader feel what Ruth was feeling and even to imagine that we, the readers, can do this too. I Dissent is definitely worth reading over and over.
I saw so many women, men and children marching for human rights at the Woman’s March on Washington this past Saturday. We made history. Now it’s time for us to make change happen and change minds. I Dissent can help inspire your young readers to keep up the hard work.