#DecolonizeReading2023 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Rising Above and Beyond: The Story of Ketanji Brown Jackson

"I am standing on the shoulders of my own role models." - Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
  5. Translated or international literature

All Rise: The Story Of Ketanji Brown Jackson (Amazon)

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford Illustrated by Ashley Evans
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers (2023) ISBN: 9780593650165 (ISBN10: 0593650166) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

On the same day that the first Black female federal judge, Constance Baker Motley, was appointed in the US, Ketanji Onyika was born, her African name signifying the “Lovely One.”

This pattern is made evident as one continues reading: how Ketanji’s eventual triumphs and accomplishments were made possible by those who came before to pave the way and chart a path where none existed previously. The book creators were also unflinching in their portrayal of the many microaggressions and outright prejudice that Ketanji experienced from some of her teachers and school counselor who did not consider her good enough for Harvard University and handed her a brochure for a state college instead.

The narrative theme of ‘rising’ despite seemingly insurmountable odds was consistently woven by the book creators as the readers get to know Ketanji and witness her growth from a wide-eyed child to eventually being appointed to the US Supreme Court.

I also appreciated how her family has figured prominently as her ‘backbone,’ enabling her to rise above and beyond societal expectations. The repetition of ‘Ketanji rose’ and ‘she rose’ is an uplifting refrain throughout the story. Definitely a worthy addition to any school library’s picturebook biography collection.

#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 29 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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