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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  2,021 ratings  ·  451 reviews
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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  2,021 ratings  ·  451 reviews

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I like that our Supreme Court Justice wrote this book. Awesome. It’s a very good book too. I didn’t know this, but Sonia has diabetes. She had it as a kid and learned that people are curious, but don’t always ask. This is a longer book, but she is planting a garden with many varieties of plants and there are lots of kids and each one is different like the plants. She explains Asthma - that’s me as a kid, and ADHD, nut allergies, autism, downs, blindness, deafness and several other challenges peo ...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
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
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. ...more
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
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. ...more
Christina/ The Blog for Teachers, Readers, & Life!
Ages: 4-9

Just Ask! was written by Sonia Sotomayer who is also the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
In this inclusive book, she illustrates how some kids feel different because of the diverse medical challenges they face. Sotomayor reveals her own challenges being diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes as a child.

She sends a heartfelt message to kids who are dealing with medical issues, and others that are curious but afraid to ask. I love the fact that she talks about medical challenges you can and
I was dissatisfied by this book. It doesn’t flow smoothly and is too long to keep the younger crowd’s attention. On the other hand, more books affirming that a kid is more than their disability are needed. I found the illustrations nice and bright but a bit like the text, not a smooth continuation from page to page. I suspect a background of writing briefs may not be the best background for writing picture books which need quite a different style of writing. This is getting 4 stars because of th ...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
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Before I read this book I did not know Sonia Sotomayor has diabetes. But this book is so much more than that. It’s all about helping kids understand other kids’ differences and abilities. Fantastic and a must read.
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 child wi
Lisa RV
Another excellent picture book with gorgeous illustrations that I read for my Children's Literature class! The theme is that of celebrating our differences and seeing what strengths come with these differences, rather than seeing them as weaknesses. It strives to “normalize” special needs so that children reading can feel comfortable expressing their curiosity about other kids that may look or act different. Asset-based thinking rather than deficit-based thinking.

This book is written by Supreme
The Library Lady
Why am I panning this book?
I mean, I should LOVE it. It's by a woman (and fellow Bronxite) whom I admire! It's got gorgeous art, AND that art is by a Latino illustrator! It's got a wonderful message about being proud of yourself! It's all about "differently abled" people--did I get that jargon right?

So, again, why am I panning it?

Because it is wordy--way too wordy unless you're reading it to older kids. It is preachy. It is mawkish.

It is simply a bad, bad, BAD book! Well intentioned, but bad.

Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inclusion
I found this book on the American Library Association on the Schneider Family Book Award. This book won the 2020 award for Young Children Winner. I listened to this book as a read-aloud on Youtube. The reader was great at annunciating all of the words clearly and the video was only the book and illustrations.

This book starts off with Sonia and her class going to plant a garden. On each page, the reader is introduced to a new member of Sonia’s class who has another disability. They introduce the
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!

Also note: pretty sure this
Living in community means we need to appreciate the ways everyone is special and how that diversity makes our world more fun and interesting. Drawing on her own experiences growing up with diabetes, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written this gorgeously illustrated picture book describing a group of friends planting a garden. Just like all of the plants in the garden are different, all of the children are also unique. This would be a good book to share with young readers as a way to s ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-to-kids
I absolutely loved this book as a conversation starter for my five year old son who is on the spectrum. It would be wonderful for any child to read, but especially those who have differences that other children might notice and ask about. This book has characters with food allergies, ADHD, downs syndrome, tourettes, blindness, dyslexia, deafness, a wheelchair, and diabetes. It is beautifully written and illustrated and compares our different abilities to the many varieties of plants in a garden.
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.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book for so many reasons! 1. The representation of different abilities 2. The representation of different ethnicities 3. The encouragement to just ask about what something is and why something is different. Too often adults hush children when they ask about why something is the way it is, but really, that just perpetuates the taboo and different-ness of autism, diabetes, asthma, etc. Asking questions is how we learn to accept differences... just do it in a loving way!
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-books
The author does an amazing job of how you can just ask and how much life is easier when you just ask. Also, the diversity of the book. It talks about all types of things from how blind people can have conversations to down syndrome and how they grow in different ways. It’s brief but answers simple question of how?
Shannon (That's So Poe)
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books
This was such a lovely picture book which focused on all sorts of different disabilities and brought up questions for kids to reflect on to better understand the experiences of others. The artwork was also beautiful!
Edward Sullivan
Affirming the differences that make people special. Cheerful, diverse cast of children in the illustrations.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! A highly recommended read which will lead to a great discussion.
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.
Mary Lee
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that affirms differences, but refrains from calling a disability a disability.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and illustrated. A must read for every family.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beatrix, children
I got choked up reading this. Buy it for every child.
This is simply a beautiful book. It teaches acceptance and celebration of our physical and mental differences, which is so important to see at any age, but especially as impressionable children.
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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

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