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

by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López

Young Sonia has diabetes and must sometimes give herself shots of insulin. She asks,... read more

Young Sonia has diabetes and must sometimes give herself shots of insulin. She asks, “Do you ever need to take medicine to be healthy?” Rafael has asthma and sometimes needs an inhaler, which is like a tool to help his body. “Do you use a tool to help your body?” Anthony uses a wheelchair. “How do you get from place to place?” he asks. This question-and-answer chain format is used to introduce 13 diverse fictional children who have physical or cognitive differences. The “Just ask” of the title is referenced by both fictional Sonia and her real-life counterpart, Puerto Rican author Sotomayor, who is diabetic. Sotomayor advises “just ask” when you are curious about someone. The narrative acknowledges that not everyone is comfortable answering such questions, and adults can help when kids aren’t ready to respond, a point for child and adult readers to be aware of—there is no single approach that will be appreciated by everyone. What can be appreciated here is that the differences highlighted are expressed as something matter-of-fact about each child while also affirming what they can do rather than focusing on what they cannot do. Bright, joyful illustrations accompany this affirming look at racially diverse kids with various kinds of disabilities. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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