My Life Story
by Sonia Sotomayor
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells her own story for young readers for the very first time!
As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father’s death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future for herself in which anything was possible.
In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor shares that love of books with a new generation of readers, and inspires them to read and puzzle and dream for themselves.
ABOUT THE Story
Sonia Sotomayor, the author of this picture book, graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and from 1998 to 2009 on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; she assumed this role on August 8, 2009.
The Justice speaks about this picture book with People. “When I began thinking about creating a middle school version of my adult book, My Beloved World, I realized that I wanted to create a book for younger children that was also more accessible to them,” the Justice said in a statement. “The book highlights most of the important moments of my life and explains how words in poetry, books, comic books, newspapers, magazines, and documents have shaped my life.”
ABOUT THE ART
Creating the art for this book was both and honor and a challenge. How to best extend the message of the author? The manuscript is almost an ode to the written word. It highlights how books can open doors and expand horizons, a message I believe in. After interviewing the Justice, reading her memoir and pouring over the family photos that she so generously shared with me, I opted for adding collage elements to my art. I researched the written materials that inspired the Justice, and selected specific bits to add depth to the illustrations. The careful reader will find many connections between the collage elements and the Justice's story.
I also looked for ways to show the Justice’s love and respect for her Puerto Rican heritage. I underpainted each illustration with a layer of deep sap green. I hid coquí tree frogs in some pictures. I pressed ferns I had collected in a visit to the island which add texture and lend authenticity. Illustrating this book was a truly rewarding experience.
The Art of Turning Pages
An in-depth look into the process of creating the art of the book
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