Hello, friends! Our book today is Turning Pages: My Life Story, written by Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Lulu Delacre, a look at how words – both spoken and written – helped to shape Sotomayor into the woman she is today.
As far back as she can remember, words had a strong impact on Sonia, and the way she viewed the world. Long before she sat on the Supreme Court, she was a little girl listening to her abuelita recite poems of Puerto Rico, her family’s country of origin. After being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, she turned to comic books – with their tales of courageous heroes hidden in plain sight – to help her deal with the fears her illness raised. Throughout her life, from the highs to the lows to all the moments in between, Sotomayor sought knowledge, escaped pain, broadened her world, and found out about herself in the pages of books, texts, newspapers, and magazines. To this day, a judge in the highest court of the United States, she uses words to make just decisions, help right wrongs, and protect the laws and people of our country.
Lovely! By framing her autobiography through the lens of her love of reading and language, Sotomayor not only relates her own story but also encourages young bookworms to seek language, learning, and reading themselves. I like that she encourages both scholarly reading and hobby reading, such as science fiction and comic books – any child literacy advocate will tell you that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy reading. There’s a lot of text, so this may be better for older readers – JJ’s attention was fading by the end – and a spread on encyclopedias could have used some clarification for younger readers (because, let’s face it, encyclopedias are rapidly becoming obsolete). The art does a wonderful job of combining the reality of Sotomayor’s life with the more abstract or fantastic journeys her reading takes her on, and the mixed-media printed text elements are a clever nod. We enjoyed this one – Baby Bookworm approved!