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Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / La juez que crecio en el Bronx



Last updated Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Author: Jonah Winter
Illustrator: Edel Rodriguez
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 9781442403031
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2011

Synopsis: From School Library Journal
Winter chronicles the life of the first Latina Supreme Court justice, from her childhood in the Bronx to her historic nomination. The tone is upbeat from its opening line: You never know what can happen. Sotomayor certainly had a lot of obstacles to overcome: poverty, juvenile diabetes, and the death of her father when she was nine. But Winter clearly identifies hard work, determination, and a loving extended family as the keys to her success. The author is honest about how her socioeconomic background sometimes made her feel alienated at Princeton University. The emphasis, though, is on her ability to thrive like a flowering vine that would not stop growing. Images of flowers blooming unify the text and the illustrations. Rodriguez's warm yellows and oranges also underscore the optimism of Winter's text. Moreover, the variety of media used (pastel, acrylic, spray paint, and oil-based paints) perfectly echoes the rich textures of Sotomayor's life. The Spanish translation is excellent and makes the book accessible to Latino families. Sotomayor's story can inspire children of all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds to work hard and pursue educational and professional success.

Note to readers:
•  Although the book is written in both Spanish and English, only read the English story aloud to the children.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is Sonia Sotomayor? (United States Supreme Court justice.)
•  Where is the Bronx? (In New York City.)
•  What is a judge? (A person who interprets the law.)

Vocabulary
•  Blossom – to flourish or develop
•  Puerto Rico – an American territory which is an island off of the coast of Florida where the native language is Spanish.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What problems did Sonia have when growing up?
•  What are your goals?
•  Is there someone who inspires you to do better?
•  What do they say or do to help you reach your goals?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a flower with a different goal on each petal.
•  Draw yourself achieving your goal. Envision your dream and put it on paper.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!