SONIA SOTOMAYOR

From the She Persisted series

The compelling story of an inspirational role model.

For chapter-book readers, the biography of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Newbery medalist Medina pens this entry in the chapter-book She Persisted biography series, a spinoff of the picture-book series by the same name by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger. Writing in an engaging and accessible style, Medina introduces children to the young firecracker—described by her family as being “like an ají,” the Spanish word for a hot pepper—who would grow up to be the first Latinx justice and only the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor’s capacity for persistence and practical problem-solving is evidenced throughout her life. When, as a schoolgirl, she realized she did not know how to be a good student, Sotomayor simply asked “the best student in her class…to teach her how to take notes and how to study for tests.” In a nod to Justice Sotomayor’s Hispanic background, each chapter is titled in Spanish (“Creciendo y aprendiendo,” “Sueños,” etc.), but the narrative text is in English. At the end of the book Medina offers suggestions for children to gain confidence and “persist.” Children on the upper end of the target audience may want to read about the life of this remarkable woman in Sotomayor’s own words in The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor (2018).

The compelling story of an inspirational role model. (references) (Biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11601-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

I AM RUTH BADER GINSBURG

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case.

The distinguished jurist stands tall as a role model.

Not literally tall, of course—not only was she actually tiny but, as with all the other bobbleheaded caricatures in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Ginsburg, sporting huge eyeglasses on an outsize head over black judicial robes even in childhood, remains a doll-like figure in all of Eliopoulos’ cartoon scenes. It’s in the frank acknowledgment of the sexism and antisemitism she resolutely overcame as she went from reading about “real female heroes” to becoming one—and also the clear statement of how she so brilliantly applied the principle of “tikkun olam” (“repairing the world”) in her career to the notion that women and men should have the same legal rights—that her stature comes clear. For all the brevity of his profile, Meltzer spares some attention for her private life, too (“This is Marty. He loved me, and he loved my brains. So I married him!”). Other judicial activists of the past and present, all identified and including the current crop of female Supreme Court justices, line up with a diversely hued and abled group of younger followers to pay tribute in final scenes. “Fight for the things you care about,” as a typically savvy final quote has it, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case. (timeline, photos, source list, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593533338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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