Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG
Written by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Publisher’s Summary:
You can’t spell truth without Ruth.
Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg can judge me.
The Ruth will set you free.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer’s searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice’s life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don’t know, now you know.

Primary Source Pairing:
In this beautiful mash-up, Notorious RBG is a biography about Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Notorious B.I.G. lyrics as chapter headings. The text is peppered with primary sources – photographs, manuscripts, political cartoons, even memes. In the Author’s Note, Carmon and Knizhnik write about “digging deep” at the Library of Congress to find material for this book. Invite students to dig deep into this book and analyze the primary sources as they are found in the text. Additionally, the Notorious B.I.G. lyric chapter headings were penned by a women’s graffiti collective – these are also most worthy of analysis. Due to the variety of primary sources, invite students to consider general analysis questions as they explore this book.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • How does this primary source support your knowledge of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
  • What questions do you still have?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Portrait: Wikimedia