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Debbie Levy: Ask Open-Ended Questions

Intermediate & Middle School Activity

Meet Debbie Levy author of the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor Title ‘I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark.’

Debbie Levy
I Dissent


Becoming RGB Graphic Novel

Read a summary of ‘I Dissent.’ 

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark celebrates Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lifelong refusal to accept the unacceptable. Inspired by her mother, Ginsburg’s devotion to fighting for justice is signaled by the refrains “I dissent”, “I object”, “I do not concur!” that ring through both text and illustrations. Frequently humorous, this picture book biography paints Ginsburg’s personality, the support of her husband and family, and her struggles as a lawyer, professor and judge. With energy and charm, Levy and Baddeley represent Justice Ginsburg as a true hero who never hesitates to disagree with the status quo either in her personal life or on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Learn More

Debbie Levy talks about her experience writing these biographies of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Listen for the invitation for you to become a biographer too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsvMmA_b4RY

Research further into the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Be sure to watch this video of her talking to law students at Northwestern University!

Now Let’s Get to Next Steps!

Guiding questions for your reading, writing, thinking and acting:

Justice Ginsberg says, “My tremendous satisfaction is that I was able to use my skill as a lawyer to make things a little better for other people.” Read back through Ruth’s biography in the Encylopedia Britannica. Find two or three specific ways in her career that she made things a better for other people.  Also find two or three specific hurdles she had to overcome along the way. 

  • Do you see a connection between her accomplishments and her hurdles? How might her life have been different if she had chosen to just do “a day’s work and for a day’s pay?” 
  • What kind of things would you like to do in our life to make things a little better for other people?
  • Write a paragraph or two summing up your findings and your thoughts about Justice Ginsberg.
  • You are welcome to share your writing and/or thoughts in our comment section (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

Time for you too to become a biographer!

Who is someone you really look up to, a real person who is special to you? Do an in-person interview in preparation for writing a short piece about this person. Whether face to face or over the phone, when you interview them be sure to ask open-ended questions. That means keep away from ones with yes and no answers. Ask questions that begin with ‘what’ and come from your curiousity. Be ready to listen and record their answers. Then it’s time to choose parts of what they told you to create a story.

Debbie told the story of how shy little Ruth Bader became a powerhouse in the world of feminism. What story do you want to tell about your person? Once you’ve written and revised, share your piece with your person for their feedback just as Debbie did with Ruth! You are also welcome to share some of your writing and/or your thoughts about this activity in our comment section below (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jane Addams Peace Association