The best children's picture books about how the U.S. Supreme Court works

The Books I Picked & Why

Turning Pages: My Life Story

By Sonia Sotomayor, Lulu Delacre

Book cover of Turning Pages: My Life Story

Why this book?

Written by sitting United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Turning Pages tells the inspiring story of the author's early life. Justice Sotomayor's beautiful spirit shines through as she recounts her early struggles to learn English, her fear of the daily injections needed to control her diabetes, and how she overcame these and other challenges. Sotomayor credits her love of books and reading for her many accomplishments. As an added bonus, the book includes plenty of personal photographs, showing scenes and people from the author's childhood, family, and friends. This is a lovely, personal, uplifting work—and not at all the celebrity book you might expect.


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Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman's Case for Equality and Respect

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Jeffery Boston Weatherford

Book cover of Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman's Case for Equality and Respect

Why this book?

This picture book tells the story of Hamilton v. Alabama, a lesser-known U.S. Supreme Court ruling on behalf of Miss Mary Hamilton. Mary Hamilton, a Black civil rights activist arrested for her protests against segregation, demanded in a court hearing that she be addressed as "Miss Hamilton," rather than by her first name. This courtesy was extended to white people but often not to Blacks. When she refused to respond to "Mary," the judge held her in contempt. The NAACP took the case to the United States Supreme Court, which reversed in a 1964 order. Powerful poetic text and art by the talented mother-son Boston Weatherford team puts Mary's demand for respect into its historical and social context.


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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

By Selina Alko, Sean Qualls

Book cover of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Why this book?

First of all, isn't that an awesome title? This narrative is a child-appropriate and compelling description of Mildred and Richard Loving and their path to the Supreme Court. The two got married in D.C. in 1958, when interracial marriage was illegal in their home state of Virginia. Returning home after the wedding, they were arrested, jailed, and told to leave the state. They took their case to court arguing that Virginia's ban on interracial marriage violated the Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. As described in the back matter, the creators of this book themselves have an interracial marriage. An author's note reflects on their lives and their perspective on the Lovings' story. 


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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

By Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley

Book cover of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

Why this book?

This creative book showcases Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her frequent dissents from the Court's majority opinions. Beginning as a girl, Ruth often disagreed with other people's expectations. Using her strong-mindedness and intelligence and hard work, she excelled in college and law school, eventually overcoming prejudices against her as a woman and a Jew to become a law professor, a lawyer, and a judge. Author Debby Levy describes Ruth Bader Ginsburg's groundbreaking work as a lawyer seeking equality for men and women, including her numerous arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. And in discussing Justice Ginsburg's own tenure on the Supreme Court, Levy highlights Ruth's friendship with her political opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia. This book offers readers a three-dimensional profile of an iconic Justice.


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The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall's Life, Leadership, and Legacy

By Kekla Magoon, Laura Freeman

Book cover of The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall's Life, Leadership, and Legacy

Why this book?

The through-line in this picture book biography is Thurgood Marshall's quest for change, which the author says started early in his life. Marshall grew up in Baltimore under segregation. His parents wanted greater opportunities for their children. Marshall pushed against racial boundaries in college and beyond. As a young lawyer he won an early court order desegregating a school, and went on to argue a series of landmark desegregation cases before the Supreme Court. After becoming the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, he continued to push for change by persuading his colleagues on the bench. This book highlights the Court's ability to make change and honors a trailblazing man who left a lasting legacy. Helpful back matter includes a timeline and list of important Supreme Court cases.


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