I've been getting to know the Justice Girls for several years! But it wasn't until about a year ago that I finally began writing their story. Here's the path to the Justice Girls series. What a long, strange trip it's been!
I used to teach college students about different governments, women in politics, and human rights. These are all subjects that are important to me and I've shared them with my daughter.
As she grew older, I noticed a giant gaping hole in middle grade books. There were historical fiction books (my daughter loves the Dear America series), there were books on girls in science, there were books on girls solving mysteries, but there was NOTHING on girls being political and socially active.
So I started kicking around the idea of the Justice Girls. Then I read the Young Reader's edition of I Am Malala to my daughter. We both ended that book elated but also sad. There were no fictional characters that my daughter could read about who did things like Malala. And how did Malala learn how to do all of that stuff anyway?
Well, now I was motivated. Now, I was ready. The Justice Girls had been growing up, just like my daughter. They were ready to tell their story and I was ready to write it. The Justice Girls is all about letting girls see what they can do in the world. It's also about important ideas like compromise, tolerance, and respect.
Recently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. There has been a great deal of commentary on his remarkable friendship with his fellow Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Why is this considered so remarkable? Because they were polar opposites in terms of their political views - he a staunch conservative and she a fierce liberal. Yet they were friends and why wouldn't they be? Why shouldn't they be? That this friendship is seen as so rare is precisely why I wrote The Justice Girls series.
The United States (U.S.) constitution, and the government it created, are unique in many ways. The U.S. constitution has inspired people in many countries. Yet, too many forget that our constitution was forged in the spirit of compromise. Some of those compromises were positive and others were morally wrong. But it wasn't a "my way or the highway" approach, in stark contrast to politics now in too many places.
The Justice Girls series isn't just about teaching girls how to make a difference by writing a letter or collecting money for a cause. It's about teaching girls how to remain friends even when you fundamentally disagree about everything, except maybe opera.