Parents' Guide to

Turning Pages: My Life Story

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Inspiring life story of first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

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Sonia Sotomayor has done a supreme job crafting her autobiography for kids, writing in a friendly, accessible style, and threading her life story with concrete examples of how books buoyed her. Turning Pages: My Life Story uses books as an organizing principle, spotlighting books at each stage. For instance, comics about Supergirl gave her courage when she was diagnosed with diabetes. The library comforted her when her dad died. Nancy Drew mysteries and Lord of the Flies inspired her to think about the work she might want to do. She also weaves in the Bible and law books, and uses colorful metaphors to liken books to loyal friends, a harbor, a launchpad, a time machine, and even her snorkel and flippers.

The theme of social justice is strong. Bible stories she read in Catholic school about empathy and forgiveness remained with her. Books she read in college included ones about Puerto Rico and "men and women there who worked hard, but were paid very little," just like "my grandfather worked in a cigar factory and got sick from the dust, and my aunt spent long days stitching handkerchiefs." At law school, "law books reflected real-life stories of people who got into trouble but still needed to be treated fairly in court." Sotomayor's life is a true inspiration, a model for kids from diverse backgrounds and all kids.

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