Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke to an audience of 200 children on Jan. 25 at Hostos Community College where she reflected on growing up in the Bronx and also introduced her latest book, “Turning Pages,” a bilingual children’s book on her love of reading. That love began, notes The Bronx Free Press‘ Sherry Mazzocchi, at the Parkchester Public Library.
Joined by activist and actress Kerry Washington, also a Bronx native, Sotomayor answered questions from the second- and third-graders of P.S. 55, P.S. 5 and her old school, St. Anselm.
When one boy asked what book made her want to become a lawyer, she said the Spanish classic by Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote, because it made her want to live her dreams.
“When you are a Don Quixote-type person, you have dreams, and you spend your life looking for them,” she said. “But I’m going to do something Don Quixote didn’t do. I’m going to make my dreams come true.”
When another child asked how she made decisions, the Justice replied that she listens to both sides. “And you try to understand why the problem is important. What does it mean? And what does your decision mean to them? And then I look at the law and I see what the law tells me what I have to do. And then I try to figure out which side comes within that law,” she said.
When a second grade girl asked, “What is the central message of your story?,” the Justice was clearly impressed by the succinct question.
“I’ll tell you my bottom line,” she said. “If I can become a Supreme Court Justice of the United States, you can too. All dreams are possible and they are possible for you too. I started out just like you.”
Then she gave her a hug.
What personal connection does Sotomayor have with Hostos? What advice did she give the students concerning fear? Find out at The Bronx Free Press.
Earlier in the month, Sotomayor met with hundreds of elementary school students in San Juan, Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Día reported. During the presentation of her books, Sotomayor said she identifies as Puerto Rican, taking her cultural identity from her parents. She made a point of reaching out to the audience and hugging kids to the dismay of the security guard. “You guys need to dream big. I never thought I would get to the Supreme Court,” she said.