Want to introduce the young readers in your life to two important contemporary figures? No better way than through the magic of picture book bios of Leonard Nimoy and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, hot off the presses. Guaranteed to entice and encourage kids to learn more about these and other 20th and 21st century greats.
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
This biography is really the perfect mix of a detailed investigation into the life of Leonard Nimoy, and a wide appeal for larger themes to share with kids, such as: feelings of alienation, the power of creativity and the arts, the importance of foundational cultural insights and understandings, and more. There is a great deal of irony in Nimoy’s early experiences and his ultimate success as Mr. Spock. For example, when his Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrant parents arrived in the US, their passports were stamped “alien.” Being “other” was certainly how the whole family felt as they learned new traditions and ways to be “American.” It’s also a lot of fun to see the young Leonard and his love of acting and music. The author writes about Nimoy with compassion and a great deal of tenderness. (I loved learning about the roots of Mr. Spock’s famous Vulcan greeting gesture being in Jewish tradition.)
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
A perfect book for the times: the importance of thoughtful dissent. This biography of Ruth Bader Ginsberg tells the story of her life through the lens of her many “dissents.” As a Supreme Court justice, she has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. Love this book on so many levels. Inspiring and informational, and also tells the quiet but important story of her friendship with Justice Scalia though she dissented with his opinions constantly.