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Just Ask: Just… Look at the Pictures

Just Ask: Be Brave, Be Different, Be You” is a picture book written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. The book is as wordy as its title. The text is a lot.

ID: The cover of the book, “Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You” placed over a pastel backdrop. The cover of the book has flowery lettering and shows a young Justice Sotomoyor pushing a wheelbarrow.

I think the book has a lot to offer. There’s a ton of disability representation and if your child has one of the disabilities mentioned, they’ll probably love the page or two that focuses on said disability! But Justice Sotomayor may have been underserved by her editors, afraid of trimming down too much text when dealing with a very high status author. She also does a lot of work to avoid the world disabled, a strange omission for a book that absolutely centers disability.

There are just a lot of words! The book is a clearly a picture book in format, but the amount of text overwhelms even my eager reader. When we read through this book, I often read one or two sentences from each page. But some spreads have 15 sentences, some of which use semi-colons! That’s just… a lot!

I do love the illustrations. It’s cool to see wheelchairs and insulin shots and seeing eye dogs all in one picture book. There are also children with dyslexia and Down syndrome represented in thoughtful and nuanced ways.

If you’re looking for more disability representation in your personal library, I’d save the money and borrow this book from your local library. The illustrations are valuable and there is something to this book. But ultimately, I don’t recommend it. There has to be better disability representation out there. I’m on the lookout for it.

The Verdict:

Grown Up Stars: 2/5

Kid Stars: 2/5


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