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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  805 ratings  ·  176 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 4.35  · 
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 ·  805 ratings  ·  176 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 ...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, ...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.
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 ...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.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, voices
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
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
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 ...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
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
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.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! A highly recommended read which will lead to a great discussion.
Edward Sullivan
Affirming the differences that make people special. Cheerful, diverse cast of children in the illustrations.
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 ...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.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Gosh, I wanted to like this book, but this book has a super ableist narrative. Just say disabled. Just say disabled. Just say disabled.
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.

Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and illustrated. A must read for every family.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Sonia Sotomayor reaches out to children who may wonder but never ask about other children's differences. Through the voices of several children we learn about common experiences of deaf, blind, or wheelchair bound kids; children with asthma, ADHA, Tourette's syndrome or autism, nut allergies, Down Syndrome, diabetes and dyslexia. All in all, this would be a pretty boring world if everyone was exactly the same.
That being said, Just Ask! is a good text as a discussion starter with a class or with
Based on the author's experience of having juvenile diabetes and having to inject insulin daily, leaving her feel "different" as a child, Sotomayor does an outstanding job creating a story for children explaining some "differences" among us.

Using the analogy that we are all different flowers in the garden of life (very similar to St Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way!) It explains what some of these differences are - having medical issues like diabetes, asthma, tree nut allergies, physical
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
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 because I didn't want
Amy Layton
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
This book is all about celebrating our differences and feeling comfortable to genuinely, honestly ask about something we don't understand. Some people, for instance, must inject themselves with medication to make sure they stay healthy. Others need a wheelchair to get around, and some have autism--though it may look different depending from person to person! Filled with a beautiful and diverse cast, Sotomayor's unabashed love for differences and Lopez's creative and colorful illustrations make ...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
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 ...more
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.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just wrote my first ever book review for a class assignment so I am posting it here (I hope it's good, it hasn't been graded):

Just ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, written by Sonia Sotomayor and beautifully illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is the perfect book to teach children about different types of disabilities. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has type 1 diabetes and has to give herself a shot of insulin multiple times a day. Growing up this led to a lot of questions and,
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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 ...more