Jonah Winter is no stranger to United States Supreme Court Justices. With previous picture books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to his credit, it should come as no surprise that Thurgood is an exceptional introduction for young readers to the nation's first black justice--even older readers will likely learn new tidbits about the man's life.
From a very young age, Thurgood Marshall honed his power of persuasion: at six, he convinced his parents legally to change his name from Thoroughgood; in school he excelled in debate and attended trials with his father, where "they would sit, watching lawyers argue about justice and injustice, guilt and innocence, truth and falsehood." Winter explains that "this sloppy kid with untucked shirts and ink-stained pockets had a knack for arguing." That knack took him first to law school, then to the NAACP as a lawyer and eventually landed him in front of the U.S. Supreme Court where he won 29 cases, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education.
Winter's theatrical staging of Marshall's biography mimics a lawyer presenting facts to a jury, drawing readers into the case so they can come to a unanimous decision: Marshall is undoubtedly an American hero. Accompanying Winter's persuasive text are Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Award winner Bryan Collier's (The 5 O'Clock Band) forceful illustrations. His distinctive mix of watercolor and collage emphasizes the strong emotion of Winter's subject matter, the energy of the man himself and the lasting impact Marshall made on the nation. The jury is in: Thurgood is a resounding winner. --Jen Forbus, freelancer