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“To know it, you need to see it in dreams from afar; to learn how to live it, you need to leave it,” José Gautier Benitez. –I am Sonia Sotomayor
I am Sonia Sotomayor
Ordinary People Change the World Series
by Brad Meltzer
Sonia Sotomayor’s life will inspire children to reach for their dreams. The biography begins when Sonia was a small child, who often got into mischief. Living in the Bronx was not always easy, but Sonia found comfort in reading and learning. Sonia was inspired by Nancy Drew, who “was a master at doing puzzles, and no matter what got in her way, she could figure things out.” Sonia wanted to help others by becoming a police officer. However, because of her diabetes, she couldn’t pursue her dream of joining the force. Instead of giving up, Sonia found new inspiration by watching Perry Mason, a lawyer. After watching the show, she decided she wanted to be a judge.
Instead of focusing on the hardships of life, Sonia’s biography describes all the people who helped her along the way. She does acknowledge the fact that “there were a lot of Puerto Rican workers, but few managers or owners, and even fewer lawyers and detectives. It wasn’t that my Puerto Rican neighbors didn’t work hard. People aren’t poor because they’re lazy. . . But sometimes where you live affects the kind of opportunities you have.” But with words of encouragement from her mother, her teachers, and her friends, Sonia was able to become the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. Sonia’s story proves there is no limit to what someone can accomplish.
Colorful, full-page illustrations, show important aspects of Sonia Sotomayor’s life beginning when she was a little girl. The book’s text includes speech bubbles as well as short paragraphs. Because Sonia is Latino, some of the speech bubbles are in both Spanish and English. Throughout the book, Sonia and some of the other people are cartoonish. When groups of people appear, the people are diverse and include both male and female. The end of the book has a timeline of Sonia’s life, and four pictures of her. In the last line, Sonia says, “Remember that no one succeeds alone.”
Younger readers will enjoy I am Sonia Sotomayor’s fun format, conversational text, and positive message. The book reinforces the importance of learning, reading, and listening to those who encourage you. Sotomayor says, “The more you learn, the further you’ll go. Education is a rocket ship. It can take you anywhere. But no matter how high you fly, never forget where you started.” For more inspirational stories about successful women, read She Persisted in Sports by Chelsea Clinton.
- One day Sonia found “my little brother surrounded by bullies, so I walked over to protect him.”
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