Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You” as Want to Read:
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  76 reviews
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 special.

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 an
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Philomel Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Just Ask!, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Just Ask!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  361 ratings  ·  76 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Being different doesn't mean it has to be difficult. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sontomayor does an outstanding job reminding us all to be kind, be strong, and embrace those who are different.
Beautiful picture book about the courage children show in coping with and then outshining their differing abilities. As the niece of a beloved uncle who was paralyzed at age fifteen, I so appreciate books like this. They remind me of how little children would stare at his wheelchair (which I grew up thinking of as a normal part of life), and how he would go out of his way to talk with them, engage them, and make them see that he was just like you or me - but with one, small difference that didn' ...more
Abby Johnson
I really like this book as a tool for teachers to open a discussion about diversity and different abilities. Sonia Sotomayor was diagnosed with diabetes as a child and often noticed other kids who were uncomfortable when she had to check her blood sugar or give herself a shot. She wished they would just ask questions instead of being afraid to talk to her or approach her. In this book, she profiles many fictional kids with different disabilities such as diabetes, asthma, autism, Down syndrome, f ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: voices, picture-books
The title says it all. Literally. And the cover art and subsequent art is a beautiful companion to the words that lie within. Having read her adult and middle grade adaptation, I knew her story with diabetes and needing insulin injections so using that as the backbone to this story-- saying it's okay to ask when something is different than you know because then you'll learn about it and from it.

Which is a nice message especially when conversations around pronouns are about asking if you don't k
There is a thought-provoking post about this book over on Instagram One of the issues is the avoidance of the term disability and another is the involvement of Autism Speaks. I think this book has value as a conversation starter around the many ways people identify themselves and about the appropriateness of asking people about differences we may notice.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Years ago, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has Type 1 Diabetes, was giving herself an injection of insulin in a ladies room. When she was done, another woman there commented to her friend that Sotomayor was a drug addict. Sotomayor politely set her straight and said "if you don't know why someone is doing something, just ask." This event stayed with Sotomayor and became the seed of this children's picture book about differences. Using the analogy of a garden (what if all the plants in ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The message, the illustration - both are breathtakingly beautiful in this book. Be different, be brave, be you!
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sentiment is good: just wish each story was much shorter, as the culminating book is way too long to read to a class or to my four-year old.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-kiddos

I had no idea that Sonia Sotomayor was a Type 1 diabetic until recently. And now here she has written a book that celebrates so many differences, from diabetes, to deafness, to Tourette's, autism, allergies, the list goes on...AND how ALL humans are connected and share experiences. Her goal was for kids who might feel or be treated as different to see themselves in a book in a positive light, and to see all differences celebrated as they should be. Well done!

Michele Knott
Oh, I love this book so much. As a parent of a physical disabled child, this is the book I wish everyone would read to kids. In our experience, it is much better for someone to say why do you have a big shoe instead of the stares, the sad looks, the non-looks, the laughs (oh yes, mostly teenagers). Just ask. With that said, I know that is not the experience for everyone, however I think for the majority, people would rather you ask so they can understand.
Each page in the book features a ch
Edward Sullivan
Affirming the differences that make people special. Cheerful, diverse cast of children in the illustrations.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I really love the beautiful illustrations, and I love the diversity of characters and the positive and relatable way they each explain the main question they know kids want to ask them. On the other hand, there were too many characters and they were each very shallow and I think that for many of them a simple explanation wasn’t enough to satisfy the curiosity of the readers. I tried to make it work as a read-aloud but it was too wordy, with too many stories, and an odd way of transitioning betwe ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't think I suffered a stroke so I believe 4.75 stars is my true and accurate rating.

It is beautifully illustrated and Beautifully written and so important and relevant!

I've never had any of the problems and or illness discussed in this book as child, but I have gone to school
with sprain ankle, ( I stepped on a nail in 3rd almost crucifying my foot but it didn't go all the way through) a strained back and kids thought I was faking. It hurt my feelings becaus
Taryn Grant
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rate this book five stars because it covers so many unanswered questions or kids in such a gentle, articulate and heartfelt way. I think it is a crucial book on emotional literacy this should be in all homes and classrooms grade pre-k to 5. I often tell my students that all kids have different learning needs and I mean that, but I think that is really vague for them. I think this book challenges that vagueness by saying specifically what challenges students face today, between diabetes, to aut ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
A co-worker shared this book with me before it officially hit our shelves, and what an experience U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's "Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You" turned out to be!

A beautiful, colorful, diverse, and encouraging "call and response" style of children's picture book, that motivates children to just ask and in return learn more about their peers who might stand out for physical, mental, and emotional reasons. It shows the younger audience that by asking cert
Beth Polebaum
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is much to commend this book, especially the author who is brilliant and revered. My only objection is to the treatment of one of the disabilities I have intimate knowledge of: deafness. Most deaf children do not have deaf parents and they do not necessarily ascribe to Deaf Culture or use sign language. Technology has opened many doors for auditory education through highly effective hearing aids and cochlear implants. The assumption that the deaf boy in this story is “Deaf” and relies prim ...more
Sara L. L.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book, "Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be you" my favorite author, Sonia Sotomayor writes about the things that children and adults do differently and how being or doing things differently contributes to a richness of learning experiences. I love this book illustrations! I'd encourage all teachers to read and read this book because it clearly states how we as educators should ask about students' issues or what causes students off-task instead of making assumptions. "Just Ask!
Connie T.
Just as all the plants in a garden have different needs and attributes, so do the children in the neighborhood. Here, Sonia and her childhood friends explain what it's like to have different abilities and how they might need to use medication or different strategies to make their way in the world. Readers are reminded that different doesn't mean "less than." Colorful, cheerful illustrations throughout. However, the number of children introduced tend to read like a laundry list rather than a stor ...more
Sandy Brehl
With a voice much more direct and kid-friendly than one might expect form a Supreme Court Justice, this is a very direct message to young that could serve many adults well.
When you see things that seem unusual or new to you, ask a question- but do dos thoughtfully and with respect. In this case the examples all relate to various differences among our human family, and it should prove helpful for parents who tend to shush a child who says "Why can't he walk?' or other direct questions as they en
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is wonderful for any setting! It's about the differences each of us have and how we should celebrate them. It also has a lot of questions throughout the book to help the reader connect with each person in the story. The illustrations are wonderful, bright, and uplifting just like the story. I can't wait for my library patrons to get their hands on this one, especially my homeschoolers! Wonderful book, that each library should have!
Yakking Yogini
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author is an Hispanic (or Latinex) Supreme Court judge who is following the current trend of celebrities trying their hand at children's literature. I would catalog this as a "J 155" Dewey number because it deals with disabilities of various kinds and learning to understand & accept these differences in yourself and others. A very good message, indeed! The author talks about her own childhood diabetes and the need to give herself insulin shots at a very young age, sometimes in front of h ...more
Elda Zelkanovic
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This is the perfect story to read to any of your students! Celebrating our differences and being open and accepting of one another is how a safe classroom community is built. This well written story, Just Ask is about not being afraid to ask others about what makes them different. The characters have everything from diabetes to autism and it explains in kid friendly language what these differences are really like. I recommend everyone purchasing this book and adding it to their library.
Mary Ann
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With positive energy and affirmation of kids' identities, questions and curiosity, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor encourages readers to accept people's differences and disabilities. I especially appreciate how each child speaks for themselves, explaining what makes them unique and how they want to be understood.

Full review at Great Kid Books
Ryan Senft
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE THIS! Simple yet honest

I bought this book early so I could check it before getting it as a Christmas gift for my nephews. Disabilities are presented so that readers can see that there are things that are different or harder for us, but we can still plenty of other things. Being Autistic myself, I really like the balanced way of presenting disability. Now I know what I'm getting them!
Sep 10, 2019 added it
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's charming portrayal of children creating a garden promotes empathy, understanding, and acceptance, and is beautifully illustrated with the inspired art of Rafael López.

I'm thankful I was able to see Justice Sotomayor in person discussing her book, her job and her passions, and inspiring young people (and old); and very glad I was able to purchase a signed copy of this delightful book!
Jane Miller
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the way that the differences of the children in this story have are compared to the differences seen in a garden. Thousands of plants bloom together, but every flower, every berry, and every leaf is different. Each has a different smell, different color, different shape, and different purpose. Some flowers need lots of sunlight; others thrive in the shade. Some have to be trimmed regularly, while others are better left alone.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A little didactic (and wordy), but an important message. This book could be great for starting conversations with elementary-age children on differences. The text focuses on children with disabilities, medical conditions (including diabetes, asthma, and food allergies), and neurodiversity. Cheerful illustrations show children with a variety of skin colors.
Stacy Ford
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: everybody, 2019
This everybody book is an excellent introduction for kids to others who have exceptionalities like diabetes, Tourette’s, ASD, ADHD, asthma, food allergies an more. Brief descriptions of what each exceptional trait is and how it effects individuals are discussed and as the title indicates, people are encouraged to JUST ASK about what they see.
Becky Schnell
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book that every child (or grownup) should read that teaches how to ask questions and learn about people's differences. It explores diabetes, asthma, blindness, dyslexia, autism, and more in a fun story where children work together and build a garden with the author. This is MUST read!
Ms. Arca
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love the concept, the art, the message, and the feeling portrayed by this book.

It loses a star for wordy writing and an ending that could use something more for me. I think otherwise this has all the potential to be an amazing classroom read aloud resource.

That being said, Id try it (or do one or two pages a day) and I can tell it would open up some great conversations in the classroom.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Proudest Blue
  • Spencer's New Pet
  • Sulwe
  • The Scarecrow
  • Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln
  • Saturday
  • Where Are You From?
  • Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border
  • Bruce's Big Storm
  • Once Upon a Goat
  • Who Wet My Pants?
  • Here and Now
  • Little Libraries, Big Heroes
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  • Truman
  • The Evil Princess vs. the Brave Knight
  • I Will Be Fierce
  • Just in Case You Want to Fly
See similar books…
Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university's highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attor ...more