As the fall gets underway, we hope that all of the little ones are off to a good start. Most students (and teachers) tend to start out with a great vision for how the year will unfold. Thus, it is a great time to explore what the word vision means. To most of us, vision signifies a goal or a dream. To our students, it means much the same; however, many, especially the younger ones, have yet to develop a voice for what exactly it means to have a vision, or goals. Since Hispanic Heritage month is also underway, we thought it would be appropriate to share with our students the inspirational story of one young Latina and what it means to follow one’s dreams.
Jonah Winter’s Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/ La juez que creció en el Bronx exemplifies what can happen if someone follows his or her dreams. This 2010 Américas Award Honorable Mention is a bilingual picture book that is perfect for students that lie within the age range of kindergarten to third grade. It is a biography of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to be nominated and appointed to the Supreme Court. It is also worth mentioning that Sotomayor is only the third woman to ever be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
While Winter details the childhood of Sotomayor in a pictorial format that is easy for young readers to grasp, he also provides more extensive bibliographic information in the author’s notes. The details Winter provides are of a young woman who works through various setbacks in her life (the death of her father, the onset of childhood diabetes, etc.), yet goes on to become one of the most noteworthy Latinas of our time. One of the most prominent themes in this book is the idea of the American Dream. This is a term that has fallen by the wayside for the most part, but it is exactly what many young people crave. Students face challenges at home as well as in school, yet they still seek success. As portrayed by Winter, Sotomayor’s story is just the one that could engage and encourage our younger students to be successful. Sí se puede.
Winter’s portrayal of Sotomayor is quite inspirational. It is a quick, easy read for our beginning readers. As the school year gets underway, I hope you check out this book and use it in your classroom because it demonstrates that no matter where we come from, through hard work and dedication we can aspire to and achieve almost anything.
Until Next Time,