The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Book review by
Maria Peña, Common Sense Media
The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor Book Poster Image
Inspiring memoir teaches kids to dream big.

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Educational Value

Kids learn about the hardships of growing up in a rough neighborhood and personal struggles, including having an alcoholic parent and having having diabetes. Discusses real-life issues such as diversity, racism, inequality, representation, and inclusion of others. Kids will learn about Puerto Rican food and traditions. Introduces Spanish through vivid dialogue and words associated with Puerto Rican culture.

Positive Messages

Important messages about overcoming adversity, never giving up, standing up for your beliefs and that hard work pays off. Stresses the importance of strong family bonds, friendships, loyalty and helping others. Reaffirms the importance of cultural roots, unbreakable family bonds, friendships, kindness, and gratitude. Also learning to ask for help, seeking out mentors, accepting help from others, and helping those in need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Justice Sonia Sotomayor had positive role models throughout her life who encouraged her to reach for her dreams, starting in her childhood with Abuelita (her grandmother), whom she describes as her soul mate. Her mother, who was a nurse, teaches her about compassion and hard work. Then later in life, her boss in the District Attorney's office supports her dream of becoming a judge. And she gets support from her colleagues when she's working as a prominent attorney in a private law firm.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Justice Sonia Sotomayor's hardship as a child stems from her father's alcoholism, which eventually takes his life. She also describes a painful situation in her adult life involving a close relative who was a drug addict.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor is an adaptation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor's memoir for adults, My Beloved World (2013). It takes readers on a very personal and poignant journey that started when she was a 10-year-old little girl of Puerto Rican descent in a rough New York Bronx neighborhood. Sotomayor clearly recounts how she overcame personal obstacles and worked hard to eventually earn her historic appointment as the first Latina Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court. And how she hopes to inspire children to aim high and dream big. 

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What's the story?

THE BELOVED WORLD OF SONIA SOTOMAYOR is an adaptation of her memoir for adults, My Beloved World (2013). Justice Sotomayor recounts her life story, how from the age of 10 she knew she wanted to be a lawyer and eventually a federal judge in order to help people. She opens up about very personal circumstances that caused hardships, including dealing with juvenile diabetes and growing up in rough housing projects in New York's South Bronx neighborhood. But regardless of her tribulations, Sotomayor was determined to succeed, focusing on her academics -- which paid off, opening doors to an Ivy League education. She eloquently chronicles her academic and professional achievements, and what it took to become the first Latina Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Is it any good?

This inspiring memoir is about overcoming adversity, having faith in yourself, and not allowing your circumstances to determine who you should be or where you end up. The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor invites children to dream big! The storytelling feels genuine as Sotomayor draws the reader into her private world, opening up and talking about real-life situations that let us see her as a human being. She identifies with the same struggles we all experience and talks at length about her insecurities, struggles, and core beliefs.

She also continuously emphasizes the importance of her Puerto Rican roots, her strong family bonds, and invaluable close friendships. We learn about the impact of her work, which led to her historic appointment as the first Latina Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 2009, a role she has held ever since. Her story shows that regardless of your circumstances, dreams do come true and happy endings are possible.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how health issues and personal hardships shaped Sotomayor, as shown in The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor. How do you think you'd be able to deal with a hardship? What do you think of how Sotomayor handled her situation?

  • Sonia Sotomayor's dream of becoming a lawyer and judge became clear to her when she was 10 years old. Do you have a dream of what you want to be or do in life? What can you do to work towards your goal?

  • Culture and family is very important to Sotomayor. What does family mean to you? How is culture and diversity present in your your surroundings?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of Latinas and extraordinary women

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