Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

by Sonia Sotomayor (Author) Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A #1 New York Times bestseller! Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique.

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful. In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges--and looks at the special powers those kids have as well.

As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we're not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

Praise for Just Ask

  • "Addressing topics too often ignored, this picture book presents information in a direct and wonderfully child-friendly way." --Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*
  • "An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities." --Kirkus Reviews
  • "A hopeful and sunny exploration of the many things that make us unique [with] dynamic and vibrant illustrations [that] emphasize each character's unique abilities. . . . A thoughtful and empathetic story of inclusion." --SLJ

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Publishers Weekly

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor's (Turning Pages) experience as a child with juvenile diabetes spurred this meditation on the idea that we're all different. Using a compassionate, forthright tone, she engages the metaphor of a garden to explain how variation creates beauty: "Thousands of plants bloom together, but every flower, every berry, and every leaf is different... Kids are all different too." Extending the theme, artwork by López (The Day You Begin) shows children working together on a spacious garden. Starting with her own story and continuing with López's experience with asthma, Sotomayor next includes 12 additional characters with diverse experiences, such as dyslexia, a nut allergy, and Tourette's syndrome. The children introduce themselves, sometimes noting differences along a spectrum (Jordan and Tian, both autistic, communicate differently). Characters engage with readers, too; after describing how he gets around in a wheelchair, Anthony asks, "How do you get from place to place?" The title expresses Sotomayor's conviction that asking, far from being impolite, banishes isolation. If anyone doesn't "feel ready to explain," "I just ask my parents or my teachers and they help me to understand." A quiet musing about how "each of us has unique powers to share." Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor opens her celebration of diversity with a letter to readers in which she writes about her experience growing up in the 1960s and being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She compares communities to a garden in which each plant has a different purpose. Readers are then introduced to a diverse group of children who create a beautiful garden. Each child tells a bit about themselves and then asks a question that is answered by the following character. On the final spread, readers are shown the beautiful garden now completed and filled with all the children from the story. This is a hopeful and sunny exploration of the many things that make us unique. The clever question-and-answer structure and conversational tone encourages readers to answer the questions themselves, while the informative text gives caregivers a useful foundation of information to begin a conversation. López's dynamic and vibrant illustrations emphasize each character's unique abilities with inventive pairings of natural elements. On one page a young Sotomayor is shown sitting in the center of an enormous red rose with prominent thorns. The text explains that because she is diabetic, she must prick her finger several times a day to measure the sugar in her blood. Vijay, who is Deaf, is shown standing next to a young sapling and signing "tree" in American Sign Language. VERDICT A thoughtful and empathetic story of inclusion that encourages readers to ask questions and educate themselves about their peers. A first purchase.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library, RI

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for Just Ask

* "Addressing topics too often ignored, this picture book presents information in a direct and wonderfully child-friendly way." —Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*

"An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities." —Kirkus Reviews

"A hopeful and sunny exploration of the many things that make us unique [with] dynamic and vibrant illustrations [that] emphasize each character's unique abilities. . . . A thoughtful and empathetic story of inclusion." —SLJ
Sonia Sotomayor
SONIA SOTOMAYOR nació en el Bronx, Nueva York. Obtuvo la licenciatura en Humanidades de la Universidad de Princeton y se graduó como doctora en Jurisprudencia de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Yale. Trabajó como asistente del fiscal del distrito en el condado de Nueva York, y posteriormente ingresó como abogada litigante en la firma de abogados Pavia & Harcourt. En 1991, fue nominada por el presidente George H. W. Bush al Tribunal del Distrito Sur de Nueva York. En 1997, el presidente William Jefferson Clinton la nominó para la Corte de Apelaciones del Segundo Circuito. El presidente Barack Obama la nominó para ocupar el cargo de Jueza Asociada del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de Estados Unidos el 26 de mayo del 2009. Asumió el cargo el 8 de agosto del 2009, convirtiéndose en la primera latina en ocupar un puesto de tal relevancia. Es la autora de Mi mundo adorado, Pasando páginas y El mundo adorado de Sonia Sotomayor.

RAFAEL LÓPEZ ganó la Medalla Pura Belpré por Drum Dream Girl y por Book Fiesta. También ha recibido tres menciones de honor Pura Belpré, tres Américas Book Awards y, en el 2017, el Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award y la Medalla de Plata de la Society of Illustrators Original Art. Sus trabajos han aparecido en Communication Arts, American Illustration Anual, Graphic Design USA y Huffington Post. Es el fundador del movimiento San Diego's Urban Art Trail. Creó siete sellos para la Oficina de Correos de Estados Unidos y el póster oficial para la campaña presidencial de Obama-Biden de los años 2008 y 2012.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780525514121
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Philomel Books
Publication date
September 20, 2019
Series
-

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