Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dissents (Plus a Giveaway!)

When I read picture book biographies, I’m always interested in how the author manages to compress a long, full life into a limited amount of text. What gets included? And how is it all held together?

The title of Debbie Levy’s biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg—I Dissent—gives us a clue to her approach. Through a series of chronological vignettes (and Elizabeth Baddeley’s dynamic illustrations), we see Ruth progressing from young girl to student to lawyer and, eventually, Supreme Court Justice, speaking out against injustice all the way.

Whether it was prejudice and exclusion . . .

or the insistence that girls take sewing and cooking—but not shop—classes . . .

or the belief that a woman—particularly a married, Jewish woman with a young child—could not go to law school or get hired by a law firm, Ruth would not accept it.

Instead, as we see throughout the book:

She disagreed.
She protested.
She objected.
She disapproved.
She resisted.
She persisted.
She did not concur.

Ruth didn’t always succeed in her efforts, but she kept trying. And although she might disagree with others, Levy shows that Ruth was not disagreeable. One of my favorite spreads shows her relationship with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, her ideological opposite—but also her very good friend.

Win a Copy!

I Dissent (Simon & Schuster, 2016) is a book sure to inspire young readers—not necessarily to become lawyers, but to stand up and speak out against injustice. So in honor of Justice Ginsburg (may she serve many, many more years), I’m giving away a copy. Just leave a comment below to enter, and I’ll announce the randomly-selected winner in my next post.

And now I’m looking forward to reading The Notorious RBG.


Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman is the author of more than 45 picture books, as well as The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, a how-to guide for picture book writers. Her books have been included on the ‘best of the year’ lists of The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, the American Library Association, the Children’s Book Council, and The New York Public Library, among others, and have been translated into many languages.


  1. Love your blog and I’m glad you did a post on this book!

  2. Sounds like an excellent message for the younger set! Great choice for a giveaway.

  3. This is a great analysis and just what I needed! Would love a copy of this for my students!

  4. What a great mentor text. I’m definitely going to read and study it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. What an important book to come out now!

  6. I want to be just like Ruth when I grow up! And I hope to write a book just like Debbie Levy when I grow up. I work everyday on growing up! Thank you for the great post.

  7. It’s a marvelous book. And a marvelous post!

  8. I do love this book, both for the way Debbie handles her life through a lens of dissent and also because RBG!! Thanks for the post!

  9. Wonderful post ~ I can’t wait to read this book!

  10. This is the sort of book the world needs out there right now!

  11. Great post. I really want to read this interesting book!

  12. Just put this on my library’s hold list. Can’t wait to read it.

  13. Great book! Thanks for posting about it!

  14. Looking forward to reading this one!

  15. I really enjoyed this book. You sometimes forget that people in these kinds of positions are just regular people.

  16. Great choice of a book to highlight! We are sharing it with our young patrons.

  17. Great for kids – AND adults! Can’t wait to get this one!

  18. This is one of my favorite PB bios published in 2016. Loved it!

  19. Such an important book for young girls to read! Thanks!

  20. I love when authors can make a complex subject easy for young readers to understand. This book looks great–thanks for sharing!

  21. How amazing to pull someone larger than life and such a serious topic into a PB and easily understandable. I think more adults should read picture books…

  22. Love this book! Such a great way to describe her personality!

  23. Thanks for featuring this important book.

  24. Would love to win a copy but if I don’t, thank God for libraries :D:D

  25. Fantastic post about a great book! Thanks for such a wonderful blog. 🙂

  26. Kristi Veitenheimer

    Looks like a great book! Thanks for such an interesting post!

  27. Absolutely LOVE this book!

  28. What a great idea to use as a mentor text to discuss how to write biographies and a great message.

  29. I read it for the first time last week and loved it!

  30. This is such a great book! Wonderful post.

  31. One to add to every school library! Love this book and RBG!

  32. Love this book, Linda! Not only was it a great read, but I’ve also studied it as a mentor text for writing nfpbs about strong innovative women. There is so much picture book goodness out there, all we need is more time to read. 😉

  33. I love this and how appropriate for the times.
    “She disagreed.
    She protested.
    She objected.
    She disapproved.
    She resisted.
    She persisted.
    She did not concur.”

  34. What a great role model for girls! I can’t wait to read this!

  35. Looking forward to reading the book on this important American and important topic.

  36. I want this book for myself, my daughter, and my granddaughter (and grandsons!) What a woman! Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

  37. Lindsay Hanson Metcalf

    Love this book, and I’m so happy to see it succeed.

  38. I aways steered away from bios but the more I read them, the more I love them. The way the author and illustrator bring the title character to life and make them accessible to all readers is incredible! What a great message for the times! Thanks for sharing this book and it’s beautiful illustrations and message with us!

  39. This book sounds absolutely terrific. I will definitely be checking it out. Thanks for sharing this book with us.

  40. Can’t wait to read this one! How fantastic to show that you can disagree with someone and still be friends.

  41. Thanks for highlighting this important book.

  42. This book sounds fabulous on many levels. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  43. Thank you for a great post on a fabulous woman!

  44. I LOVE this book!!! And we need it now, more than ever! RBG is an inspiration! May she live a very, very long life!!

  45. Such a great topic and so well done.

  46. This is just the kind of book I’m hoping to write. Thanks for sharing!

  47. You broke the book down well Linda. This book belongs in every classroom from K-12. All ages benefit from reading this and you showed us again why we do. She has a major fight on her hands now and needs support. May she carry out her legacy for many years.

  48. This looks like a great book. Thanks for posting.

  49. What an important book to get in the hands of ALL kids!

  50. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a wonderful story to put before young readers–both girls and boys.

  51. Wonderful book. I’d love a copy.

  52. Susan Karunama Twiggs

    Ruth Bader Ginsberg is my hero. I hope she lives a long time too. Can’t wait to read this book.

  53. I LOVE this book. It’s an excellent example of both a life well lived and a picture-book biography well told.

  54. This is a much-needed book in our school library! I love the message…it is so timely.

  55. I would love to win a copy for my school library.

  56. Great job! Love it!

  57. I love the use of judicial language throughout the boo. Ginsberg and Scholia had a remarkable friendship that we should all try to emulate. How wonderful it is to be able to disagree and not have these differences of opinion ruin a friendship. Thank you for sharing this book!

  58. What a powerful message for girls..and boys!

  59. Very timely but a gem for girls at any time in history.

  60. I was especially fascinated that the book came out of archival research, not interviews. So well done!

  61. I recently picked this book up at Barns and Noble and looked through it. It looked like an amazing story about a strong female woman. I’m glad to hear that you thought it was a good story!

  62. I found this book last month when taking a class on social justice issues for elementary students. This would be a wonderful book to add to our library and encourage teachers to utilize in their curriculum in numerous ways relating to government as well as how we handle disagreements with our friends and others.

  63. A new book for my ‘To read’ list! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  64. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is admired. I look forward to reading this amazing book about an amazing woman.

  65. Pick me, pick me. I would love to share this book with my little dissenting girls. What a great example of the power of the picture book.

  66. This is so great! Thanks for sharing!

  67. Love that it shows her disagreeing without being disagreeable. I need to read this one.

  68. I am sure I would fall in love with this one 🙂

  69. Linda, thanks so much for this post about my book! It was a delight to research and write, and I’m so happy to hear about kids and adults (including RBG!) enjoying it.

    • It’s a wonderful book, Debbie, and RBG is such a compelling subject. The book feels especially timely and important, so it felt really good to buy a copy at my local independent (they love it too!) to give away. Thanks for stopping by!

  70. I read this book. It is a great one. Thanks for giving me another perspective on it.

  71. I object to bad books.
    The verdict is in: ” I Dissent” wins!
    I loved this book. It led me to do more reading on Justice Ginsburg.

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