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

Who am I?

As a former lawyer, I want young readers to understand the judicial system and to appreciate how the structure of our government, with its three branches, buttresses our freedoms. That's why I wrote The Supreme Court and Us. My book surveys the court, its function, and some of its important cases. Reading it together with the other recommended titles will offer a multi-dimensional picture of the Court, its Justices, and its work. Each Supreme Court case is a fascinating story. I want to share these stories with kids. We need a knowledgeable new generation to be engaged in civic life – and these books are a good place to start.


I wrote...

The Supreme Court and Us

By Christy Mihaly, Neely Daggett (illustrator),

Book cover of The Supreme Court and Us

What is my book about?

This book introduces young readers to the U.S. Supreme Court, its history, its processes, and its significance. The illustrator, Neely Daggett, engages readers with her kid-friendly, comic-style format showing the young protagonists, Ada and Bea, as they tour Washington, D.C. and learn about the Supreme Court. The two girls joke and talk with various helpful characters, including some past Supreme Court Justices, participants in important legal cases, and the Constitution itself. They come to understand how the Court has shaped our lives. Cases discussed include Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, and disputes over whether schools can require the pledge of allegiance. Back matter provides additional depth and details. 

The books I picked & why

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Turning Pages: My Life Story

By Sonia Sotomayor, Lulu Delacre (illustrator),

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.

Turning Pages: My Life Story

By Sonia Sotomayor, Lulu Delacre (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Turning Pages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells her own story for young readers for the very first time!

As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father's death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future…


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

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Jeffery Boston Weatherford (illustrator),

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.

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

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Jeffery Boston Weatherford (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Call Me Miss Hamilton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the true story of the woman Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. nicknamed "Red" because of her fiery spirit!

Mary Hamilton grew up knowing right from wrong. She was proud to be Black, and when the chance came along to join the Civil Rights Movement and become a Freedom Rider, she was eager to fight for what she believed in. Mary was arrested again and again―and she did not back down when faced with insults or disrespect. In an Alabama court, a white prosecutor called her by her first name, but she refused to answer unless he called her “Miss…


The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

By Selina Alko (illustrator), Sean Qualls (illustrator),

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. 

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

By Selina Alko (illustrator), Sean Qualls (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Case for Loving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about." -- Mildred Loving, June 12, 2007

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington,…


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

By Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley (illustrator),

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.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

By Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Dissent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg-in the first picture book about her life-as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what's right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice's story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.


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

By Kekla Magoon, Laura Freeman (illustrator),

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.

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

By Kekla Magoon, Laura Freeman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Highest Tribute as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant picture book biography about Thurgood Marshall, who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement and served as the first Black justice on the Supreme Court, from Coretta Scott King Honor winners Kekla Magoon and Laura Freeman.

Growing up in Baltimore, Thurgood Marshall could see that things weren’t fair. The laws said that Black and white people couldn’t use the same schools, parks, or water fountains.

When Thurgood had to read the Constitution as punishment for a prank at school, his eyes were opened. It was clear to him that Jim Crow laws were wrong, and he was…


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