From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Winter chronicles the life of the first Latina Supreme Court justice, from her childhood in the Bronx to her historic nomination. The tone is upbeat from its opening line: You never know what can happen. Sotomayor certainly had a lot of obstacles to overcome: poverty, juvenile diabetes, and the death of her father when she was nine. But Winter clearly identifies hard work, determination, and a loving extended family as the keys to her success. The author is honest about how her socioeconomic background sometimes made her feel alienated at Princeton University. The emphasis, though, is on her ability to thrive like a flowering vine that would not stop growing. Images of flowers blooming unify the text and the illustrations. Rodriguez's warm yellows and oranges also underscore the optimism of Winter's text. Moreover, the variety of media used (pastel, acrylic, spray paint, and oil-based paints) perfectly echoes the rich textures of Sotomayor's life. The Spanish translation is excellent and makes the book accessible to Latino families. Sotomayor's story can inspire children of all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds to work hard and pursue educational and professional success.–Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
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Born and raised in a poor neighborhood of the South Bronx, Sotomayor has just become the first Latina Supreme Court justice, and this timely, accessible picture-book biography, which features both English and Spanish text on every page, brings Sotomayor’s exciting rags-to-riches story to young readers. The exclamatory tone is sometimes too much (“Oh, how Sonia’s mother loved her!”). But Winter lets the small details convey the drama, which is amplified in the mixed-media illustrations in warm shades of red and brown. Growing up with her loving, single-parent mom in a family that surrounded Sonia “like a warm blanket,” Sotomayor was a big reader as a child and wanted to be Nancy Drew. After being diagnosed with diabetes, she had to learn to accept her physical limits, but she graduated at the top of her high-school class and then at the top of her Princeton class. She felt different from her privileged classmates, and kids of all backgrounds will recognize the universal emotions and experiences of trying to fit in. A long author’s note fills in more biographical detail. Grades K-3. --Hazel Rochman