Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Big Words)

by Doreen Rappaport (Author) Eric Velasquez (Illustrator)

Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Big Words)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Big Words

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a trailblazer. A fighter. A public servant who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality.

When Ruth was a young girl, her mother encouraged her to read, be independent, and stand up for what she thought was right. Ruth graduated first in her class at Cornell University and tied for top of her graduating class at Columbia Law School. But she faced prejudice as both a woman and a Jew, making it difficult to get a job. Ruth eventually found work as a law clerk, and her determination, diligence, and skill led to a distinguished career as a lawyer. In 1993, she became the second woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court justice, Ruth has inspired fierce admiration and faced fervent opposition for her judgments in high-profile cases, many of which have involved discrimination. She has been lauded for her sharp wit and boldness, even when her opinions differ from that of the majority.

As a student, teacher, lawyer, and judge, Ruth often experienced unfair treatment. But she persisted, becoming a cultural icon, championing equality in pay and opportunity. Her brilliant mind, compelling arguments, and staunch commitment to truth and justice have convinced many to stand with her, and her fight continues to this day.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3-5 –Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in a time different from today; girls were taught to aspire to be wives and mothers—not study at college and become lawyers. This picture book biography of Justice Ginsburg traces her achievements in the field of law back to her girlhood years, emphasizing for readers the importance of dissent in the face of an unequal society. Students will delight as they watch a young Ginsburg “protest” being forced to write with her right hand (she was left-handed) and “object” to being made to take home economics instead of shop class. The text goes on to briefly cover her high school, college, and law school years, as well as her marriage to Martin Ginsburg and the birth of her two children. The majority of the narrative focuses on Ginsburg’s law career, her entry into the U.S. Supreme Court, and her work as an associate justice. The writing is appropriately succinct for its intended audience and is nicely complemented by Baddeley’s richly illustrated cartoonish drawings. The use of colorful and bold typography to highlight words such as protest, object, dissent, disagree, and agreeinjects life into the work. Back matter includes photos of Ginsburg, more information on her life and the Supreme Court cases alluded to in the text, and a bibliography with quotation sources. VERDICT This dynamic offering is an essential purchase that will be useful for completing assignments as well as for pleasure reading.

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

Rappaport adds to her Big Words series with this well-researched picture biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As with all books in the series, quotations-set apart via color and larger text size-appear on each spread, bringing Ginsberg’s own voice to her story ("Traditional law firms were just beginning to hire Jews, but to be a woman, a Jew, and a mother to boot, that combination was a bit much"). Velasquez (Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library) creates pared-down compositions that immediately draw readers into Ginsberg’s facial expressions and emotions. The realistic oil paintings depict the justice early on as a cello-playing, baton-twirling teenager who loses her mother just before her high school graduation. She rebuffs mid-20th-century social norms, becoming a spouse and parent while breaking ground as a female law student, professor, lawyer, and, eventually, the second woman justice on the Supreme Court. The concise narrative weaves in five of Ginsburg’s landmark court cases, in which she champions women’s rights and gender parity. A timeline, author and illustrator notes, and a selected bibliography wrap up this very handsome addition to the growing collection of RBG literature for young readers. 

Copyright 2019 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


"An important read for all libraries, this work highlights a strong woman who left a vital message for future leaders."—School Library Journal
Doreen Rappaport
Doreen Rappaport's nonfiction and historical fiction books have been acclaimed for their meticulous research and varied literary styles. She is the recipient of the Washington Post Children's Book Guild lifetime achievement award for the writing of nonfiction. Her many award-winning biographies include the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor book Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier; Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Kadir Nelson; and Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Doreen lives in upstate New York and invites you to visit her online at

Oliver Dominguez is an award-winning Colombian American children's book illustrator and instructor. His love of historical figures has led him to illustrate numerous titles, including Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack, written by Sandra Nickel; Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit the World, written by Elizabeth Rusch; and Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball, written by David A. Kelly. Oliver lives in Florida with his family and invites you visit him online at or on Instagram @oliverdominguezart.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
February 20, 2020
Big Words
BISAC categories
JNF007110 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Social Activists
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF043000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Science | Politics & Government
Library of Congress categories
United States
Women judges
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader
Jewish judges

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