I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

Book Summary: 

This biographical sketch of Ruth Bader Ginsburg helps readers understand how Ruth’s mother influenced her to become an independent woman. The story also helps readers understand prejudice against Jewish people, expectations for women to stay home to raise families, and Ruth’s path to becoming one of the few female lawyers, law professors, judges and eventually, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. 

Debbie Levy
Elizabeth Baddeley
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Children
Guiding Question: 

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg first spoke before he Supreme Court, she knew she would be talking to men who had different opinions about women than she did. She thought of them as her students who didn’t know some of the things she knew. Why was this an important viewpoint for Ms. Ginsburg to hold? Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia held differing opinions and often conflicted while serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, yet they respected each other and spent social time together. What do you think these things tell us about Justice Ginsburg?

Is the United States a more just society today than when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was growing up? Give examples to support your beliefs.

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in a time when the United States allowed people to discriminate against people from certain groups, Jewish people as well as others. She also grew up in a time when many people had very different expectations for men and women. The expectations were so strong that many women had a difficult time pursuing most careers. Do you think the United States is the same today in regard to prejudice and expectations for men and women? Be willing to listen to people who have different opinions and experiences than you.

Empathy- How did you feel when you learned that even though Ruth was so smart and worked so hard in law school that she had a hard time getting hired? What were the things that were holding her back from getting a job?

Advocacy- Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a good example of an advocate. Make sure you know what an advocate is and give examples when she worked as an advocate.

Action- How can you make your school and community more just? Find some areas of injustice in your school or community and find ways to work against them.