Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home New Picture Books in 2009 (First Word Q-Z) Sonia Sotomayor / by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez

Sonia Sotomayor / by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez


Title:  Sonia Sotomayor: a judge grows in the Bronx/la juez que crecio en el Bronx
Author: Jonah Winter
Illustrator:  Edel Rodriguez
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0303-1
Year: 2009

Concepts: child schooling and work, human resources, jobs, public service, scarcity, social justice

Review:  This picture book biography of Sonia Sotomayor follows her life from her early childhood in the South Bronx right through to her nomination as a Supreme Court justice. Throughout, the hard work of both Sonia and her mother are emphasized as the means of Sonia’s success. Towards its conclusion, the book offers children this encouragement: “Success comes to those who make the most of the chances they are offered in life.” Sonia Sotomayor is a living example of this advice. The author’s note at the back of the book provides additional details about Sonia Sotomayor’s life.

Throughout the book, the metaphor of a flower growing “in an unexpected place” is used to describe Sonia’s journey to success. The soft but colorful illustrations help to reinforce this imagery. An additional bonus is that the story is written in both English and Spanish.

Numerous economic concepts crop up in this book. In the descriptions of the early parts of Sonia’s life, the reader is introduced to Sonia’s mother who works hard to provide for her children. Despite the scarce resources available to the family, Sonia has big dreams of becoming a judge. She begins to work hard also by studying when she realizes that doing well in school is the key to meeting her dream. When she becomes a judge at last, Sonia is described as still working hard to be prepared for each case while also empathizing with those who grew up in poverty like herself. By reading about Sonia and her mother, children are introduced to a myriad of jobs available that they might not have known about: switchboard operator, nurse, district attorney, district court judge, appellate judge, and Supreme Court justice.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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