Skip to main content

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Review

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor is one of only nine Supreme Court Justices (three of whom are women), and she is the first (and so far) the only Latina to hold such a position. She started life as a poor girl of Puerto Rican descent, living in government housing in Brooklyn, NY. She overcame many obstacles to succeed: being poor, being Latina, being a girl and having an alcoholic for a father, among many others. Throughout her life, Sonia used her intelligence, her intense focus, her love of learning and her innate ability to digest and retain information, to get her through school and into a career in law.

"This is an informational and inspirational book for young readers. The writing is engaging and Sonia Sotomayor is an extraordinary human being whom we could all take lessons from."

But because she grew up without access to the books and other learning tools that many of us take for granted, her view of the world was very limited. As she says, “You cannot dream of becoming something you don’t even know about. That has been the most important lesson of my life. You have to learn to dream big dreams.” When she learned about the law and the court system, Sonia felt herself drawn in that direction, and everything she did from that point on was in preparation for becoming who she is today.

Sonia shares many stories and vignettes from her life, starting from earliest childhood and on through to her appointment as a US district court judge in Manhattan. In the process, she exposes her hopes and her dreams and her insecurities, no holds barred. We learn about her life growing up poor in government housing, her admission to Princeton through affirmative action (where she was smart enough to handle the coursework but she was ill-prepared for dealing with such an alien environment as she came from a very poor background and many of her classmates came from families of great wealth), her work with various organizations that supported the Latino community, her nearly life-long health issues and her failed marriage.

Sonia wrote this book for young readers, but it is based on her autobiography that she wrote for adults. Her reason for writing this version was inspired by questions kids have asked her. She wanted kids to know that their dreams can come true, like hers did.

Many Spanish words and phrases are included in the text. Some of them are defined in the text, or easily understood by their usage in the text. But a Glossary of Spanish Words in included in the back of the book, along with a Supreme Court Overview.

This is an informational and inspirational book for young readers. The writing is engaging and Sonia Sotomayor is an extraordinary human being whom we could all take lessons from.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on September 27, 2018

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor
by Sonia Sotomayor