U.Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 2018 National Book Festival


[ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: Wow.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: This so exciting.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Isn’t it?>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: I wish every kid in this room could
come up to the stage and see what I’m seeing. And I want to remind
every kid in this stage that when you grow up,
you can do this too. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well,
I’m just kerplump. But I am Carla Hayden,
the Library of Congress. Thanks. [ Applause ] As you can imagine, Justice,
this is one of my favorite times of the year to be
at the festival.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: this is amazing.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
And to have you. And I have a bio, I think
when they talk about a person who needs no introduction,
you might be that person. But I would like to read just a
little bit, if you don’t mind.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: I don’t mind. CHP: How about it?>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: They might mind.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well, Justice
Sotomayor is an associate justice of the US Supreme Court
and she was born in the Bronx. Well. [Audience] She earned a
BA from Princeton University and a JD — oh, little
applause, little applause. And a JD from Yale Law school. And in 1991 President George
H. W. Bush nominated her to the US District Court,
Southern District of New York. In 1997, President Bill Clinton
nominated her to the US Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit. And then President
Barrack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court. [ Applause ] On May 26, 2009, and she was
confirmed on August the 8, 2009. Becoming the first
Latina on the high court. [ Applause ] And she’s a bestselling author. “My Beloved World,”
among others. However, Justice, you have
done something remarkable, a first for the book festival.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: And how many years has
this been going on now?>>CARLA HAYDEN: 18 years.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
That’s a long time.>>CARLA HAYDEN: In 18
years we’ve never had on the main stage books that
were written for young people. But because of you and –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Carla, kids are powerful. They are.>>Carla Hayden: I
know, but it took you to get us on the main stage. And, so that really
intrigued me, because I’m a former
children’s librarian and we know about the power of books,
but what motivated you? With all the things that you
could do and people asking you to write other books,
why would you write for young people, what was it?>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Well, with respect to the middle school
book, “The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor,” kids you’re
going to meet my cousin Miriam. She’s six months
younger than I am and I tortured her always
telling her I was older. Now we’re older and she tortures
me telling me I’m younger. But, she’s a middle school
bilingual education teacher. And when I wrote my parent
book, “My Beloved World,” she asked me immediately to start writing a
middle school book. But, you know, I have a day job. And sometimes I’m very very busy
and it took me a number of years to try to make the
time to write this. So, I decided to write
this, as I was thinking about writing it I thought, “But
really, how about young readers, this may not quite be
appropriate for them yet.” So, if I’m going to do
one I should do the other, shouldn’t i? And then I thought,
“It’s a real challenge, how do I tell my story
to young readers in a way that they can understand
in words, but that they could
see as well?” So, I thought about it and I
said, “Ah, an illustrated book.” And then I had the pure
fortuity to find an illustrator, Lulu Delacre, who could
turn my story into pictures. And beautiful pictures. And, so, “Turning
Pages,” was born. And that’s me walking up the
steps of the Supreme Court.>>CARLA HAYDEN: I
understand she’s here.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
That’s me with the high heels. Not today. But I have worn high heels. I like them. And there’s a little
frog, the Coqui, which is a symbol
of Puerto Rico. [ Applause ] And in my hands there’s a key. And that’s what this
book is about, the key to success in my life. It’s the secret that I
want to share with kids. It tells and explains this
book how I became successful. And what’s the answer — I
could tell you to read the book. I hope you will anyway. But what I know is that I’m here as a Supreme Court Justice
only because of books. Because reading books [ Applause ] Opened the world to me. So, that’s what this is about.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And, Justice,
and I’m going to tell everybody, I don’t get to endorse books
much now or anything like that, but let’s just say,
I love this book. I got an advance copy,
that’s one of the perks. And I couldn’t — it
was just so evocative of what the power
of reading can do. You started with
your grandmother and I had a grandmother that
read to me or did words, and tell us about that.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Well, I’m going to start by telling you that probably
the most important person in my life was my
abuelita, my grandmother. When I started writing
my parent book, it was because one day during
the confirmation process my mother turned to me and
said, “Sonia, they forgotten about Midseres [assumed
spelling]. That was my abuelita’s name. And I said, “I know, mom,
because thankfully you’re here with me and you’ve been
so important in my life, but I will find a way that everybody will
know about abuelita.” And my way was to put
her into my adult book. So, I then created
this children’s book and I include a picture of her
at my high school graduation. And, so, that’s my abuelita. And the first scene that
you see in “Turning Pages,” is me walking with her,
going on Saturday morning to buy a chicken for
dinner Saturday night. So, she’s very much a part
of this book, and in fact, I dedicated this book to her, my
mother and the role model women in my life, because they
have really set the stage for who I became.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And
then you talked about — sorry, but I know this
book by heart now. And librarians and teachers
and anyone that believes in the power of books and
reading and literacy is going to get so much, because you
talk about seeing yourself or not seeing yourself in books. Books were a lifeline for you
and you need to see yourself.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
books, you know, most of us, not all of us, but most of
us, and especially those of us who come from modest
backgrounds, we don’t get to see much of the world when
we’re growing up as kids. We all — anyway, tend to live
within a few blocks of our home. That’s where we usually play,
most of our friends are there, unless you live in big cities
like New York, and everybody has to travel when they’re
in New York. But for most people
your world is very small or at least the world
that you inhabit. The bigger world is
something you have to explore with time and age often. And, so, books give
you a chance to do that in a way nothing else does. You see, television and
movies, and even the internet, they present you with pictures, but what they don’t
let you do is imagine. The power of words is in
creating pictures in your mind and when you can do that
without television or movies or real pictures telling
you what you should imagine, it can become more special. And, so, for me I explored the
world as a child through books and I saw the possibilities
of things that I never could have
imagined without reading. I could never have imagined
traveling to faraway places. And now I do it, but it
was that wish to do it, that lust to meet other people
in the world, came from reading about where other people
lived and wanting to see it.>>CARLA HAYDEN: What
about the thinking about a legal profession or law and how reading helped
you get into that?>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Well, mothers and fathers are not
going to like this.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Uht oh.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Look, in my life there
were no lawyers. I grew up in a housing project,
which is a place where people without resources, the government helps
them find housing. And, so, there were no
lawyers in the projects. And there were no lawyers
anywhere in my life. And, so, I had no
opportunities to know about really the law,
except in a bad way. A lot of my cousins and a lot of people I knew got
arrested by the police. Andi knew they went to court
and it was very painful for our families and friends. But that’s not a good sort of
image of what law is all about. However, through television
I found a TV lawyer, the first one, Perry Mason. [ Applause ] And he showed me that
lawyers could help people. And, so, my first childhood
understanding of lawyers and law was that
they help people. And that seemed like a really
good thing for me to do. But it took a lot longer,
my getting a little older, going to college and doing
other things to realize that what law helps
people do is live together. You see, laws help our
relationships with one another. The laws tell us certain
limits of what we can do with and to and for each other. Laws are not morality,
they’re not right and wrong, they are a way of
regulating our relationships so we can manage our
competing interests. You know? When your
mother tells you, “You can’t borrow your
brother or sister’s toys without asking them
for permission.” That’s the first seed of
teaching you what laws do. You can’t steal other
people’s property. You can’t take that without
them saying it’s okay. That is regulating
our competing interest and telling us how we
can live better together. And I wanted to be
a part of that. I wanted to be a part or a voice
in how we live with each other. And that became my reality
by reading about what law did and does and the good
it’s done in society. You know, I was born
on May 25, 1954, one month before a very
important Supreme Court case was decided, Brown versus
Board of Education. [ Applause ] We are sitting in this room,
one collection of people of all races, of all
backgrounds, of all — of both genders,
because of Brown. Before this our society
was segregated. And segregated right here
in the nation’s capital. When I was born I have
friends who tell me stories of traveling south to
Florida, getting on the train and stopping in Washington
DC and having to go into a segregated car. Brown changed my life and all
of our lives for the better. Now, there are some laws
that are not very good. They’re not good because
you don’t like them, right? You can find one, I’m sure. But, laws are made by people and we can change laws
that we don’t like. And we can work hard to do that. [applause] The point is that
the law can’t get it right all of the time. Some very good laws are passed
and as society changes they have to be amended or altered, because they’re not doing what
people thought they would do. And sometimes the society
sits back and says, “There are some things that
are not constitutional, like segregation and we
have to change that.” And, so, for me, books again
were the key to my deciding to become what I am today.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Now, you also
though, liked comic books.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh, yeah.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And you
wanted to be a superhero.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh, yeah.>>CARLA HAYDEN: See,
that’s in here too. And Nancy Drew.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Can I show that picture?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Oh, yeah,
show them that picture.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: All right.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And Nancy Drew. Shout out to Nancy Drew.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Hold on. That’s me when I was
diagnosed with diabetes. Can I read that passage to them?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Sure, the beauty of the words
tell about this story.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
When I was 7 I got sick and was diagnosed with diabetes. I was so afraid of the big
needle used to take my blood for testing at the
hospital, that I ran outside and hid under a parked car. That’s me under the car. I would have to get shots
every day to stay alive. All those needles were scary. I found my courage in an
unlikely place, comic books. After reading stories
of regular people who had secret super powers
that could save the world, I imagined being as brave
and powerful as they were. Then I learned how to
give myself the shots and in time I got used to it. Books that seemed were magic
potions that could fuel me with the bravery of superheroes. So, me as Supergirl. [ Applause ] Lulu did such an incredible
job on every scene, but yes, even comic books.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And I think
that she’s here, Lulu is here.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Lulu DeLacre.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Oh,
would you please stand up. [ Applause ] And for Nancy Drew fans,
you really were evocative of Nancy Drew during them.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Now, there were no annex
in my life back then. I lived in a project and then in a big building
complex later in life. I’ve only lived in a house once. And that house creaked
all the time and it came from the roof — not the roof,
but the ceiling of the house and I really thought that my
friend was keeping something — someone prisoner in the attic. It took ages before I admitted
this to her and she took me up there and said, “No, Sonia,
there’s no people up there, it’s only because it’s
a tin roof and it sounds like there’s footsteps
up there.” But Lulu put me in a staircase, which was much more
familiar to me.>>CARLA HAYDEN: She also
showed you being delighted with the delivery of a
box of encyclopedias.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: The most beautiful
thing in the world. Now, the encyclopedias
today are online, they’re not selling
them as books anymore. And I actually know
there’s some value sometimes to online reading. Those encyclopedias,
if you click on them, on something they’re
describing, they do a sort of 3D image and move it around. And that’s pretty
interesting I think. And I kind of like it, but
I love the encyclopedias. The things I could feel in
my hands and turn the pages. I actually believe that
if I read every book, that I would be the
smartest person in the world. Well, it didn’t quite work
that way, but I did try to read every book and I
got through most of them. I didn’t understand a
lot of them, but I tried. And they introduced me to things
that were very important later. When I got to college and I
was taking courses on things that were new to me, I might
have read something about it in an encyclopedia and it
made me feel a little more comfortable that I could
learn more in college.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
Do you get a chance to read anything
for pleasure now? I know –>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Hardly not. I get to a little bit,
so, I was in Canada on vacation for a week. And — some nice
Canadians in here, right? Anyway, they told me that
the former Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court
had written a crime thriller. So, I read that.>>CARLA HAYDEN: An escape. Still a story.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: it was an escape.>>CARLA HAYDEN: When you, also mentioned reading
about Puerto Rico.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: I did.>>CARLA HAYDEN: But
not seeing people that looked like you in books. I remember when I first
saw myself in a book and what it meant to me.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
When I was little — first of all, my family had come from Puerto Rico during World
War II, I was born in 1954, many of them, my father
and my grandmother and most of my aunts included and uncles,
didn’t yet speak English. So, I didn’t have guidance on what I should be
reading in English. And because of that there may
have been books on biographies or biographies, but it wasn’t
something I was exposed to. And because of that I didn’t
have the opportunity to read about people who were like me. And I know now, because I
know there are so many books about people from so many
different backgrounds for kids, that they can see
themselves like you did. But we were a new migration
to the United States. Not new, because we’ve been
a part of the United States since 1988, but coming over
in significant numbers, Puerto Ricans didn’t
start until the 1950s. And, so, as a result of that
there weren’t a lot of books about people like me with curly
hair and who spoke Spanish. Now there are. And you can meet one of them –>>CARLA HAYDEN: In this book.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: In my translation.>>Carla Hayden: I have it — [ Applause ]>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: “Pasando Paginas.” It’s very important to me that everything I write be
translated into Spanish. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: And
published simultaneously.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yes. Now the middle school book we’re
a little behind, but I’m told in a couple of months
we’re going to have the Spanish version.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Right, yeah. But to have the picture book
come out in both languages at the same time is important.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Very important to me. I can give you a
secret, for those of you who are teaching yourselves or your kids Spanish,
buy both versions. They can read them side by side.>>CARLA HAYDEN: You’re
a librarian in hiding.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Carla, you know that I get very
tired of sitting down.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Right, I know.>>CARLA HAYDEN: We have a treat and I had the wonderful
experience of being part of your first book tour
when I was in Baltimore. And you said, “You know, I
get a little feisty and I want to be out with people.” And the — I guess I could
say, the security people that accompany you kind of
blanch when she does that. But that’s what she’s
going to do.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
That’s what I’m going to do. [inaudible]>>CARLA HAYDEN: Because
we’re going to start with question and answers. And I forgot to say
that at the beginning, because I was kind of excited. We have questions from the
audience that you have filled out and I’m going to read them,
and, Justice, you wanted me to ask and say the names. Oh, and the first one is Maria,
who is a 9 year old girl. And where is Maria?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Oh. Can I say one thing, Carla? I will walk around. It’s not fair to all
those people back there that they can’t see me. So, I’m going to go
say hello to people. You will see a lot of people with little things
in their ears.>>CARLA HAYDEN: A lot.>>Justice Sonia
Sotomayor: A lot of them. They are here to
protect me from me. They don’t like me doing
this, I do it anyway.>>CARLA HAYDEN: She does it. I’ve seen it.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: But, if you jump up unexpectedly,
they get scared.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
No, sudden moves.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
And if too many of you do it, they’ll pull me back
onto the stage. I don’t want that. So, stay seated please. But I’m going to walk and
whoever asks the question, would you raise your hand. And if you’re little jump up
and down or come to the middle so we can see where
you are, okay?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Okay, we’re
going to start with Maria. Who’s a 9 year old girl and
who wants to be president.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh, wow. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: And Maria wants
to know, what is your advice about what I should do now. Thank you, Maria Tarzere
[assumed spelling]. At 9 years old. So, Maria, where are you, Maria. There she is. Oh.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh, this side. All right, I’m coming down.>>CARLA HAYDEN: I’m
going to stay here and the Justice is
going to see you. Oh, Maria, you are so
smart to ask this now. At 9. Because that’s –>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Hola.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
It’s never too early.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
will you give me a hug. Thank you. Thank you. Look at those guys. [ Applause ] Well, are you here —
who are you hear with?>>Maria: My mom and dad.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Can we go back there
so I can meet them? All right, let’s go take a walk. Now, Maria, I walk and talk. Thank you. I’m so proud of you
for having big dreams. That is so important, because,
you see, if you don’t dream big, you can’t become something big. You have to dream big to want
to work hard to get there. And you have to start
by studying, because anything you want to be requires hard
work and a lot of study. Nothing in life that you
do where you’re successful, can you do without hard work. Even athletes, and a lot of
people think, “Oh, they just get up and throw that basketball.” They don’t do that. They practice and
practice and practice until they get really good. That’s their study, practicing. But they also have to
read about basketball, they have to know how
to play it, so they have to read all these
things that tell them, how do I form this
line, how do I protect against somebody
getting passed me. That’s what it will
be like in your life. So you have to read a lot
about a lot of things. Especially if you’re president,
because you have to know — [ Applause ] You tell me where your
mom and dad are, okay? So, you know the
President not only has to know American
history, he has to know — all right, oh, you’re here. Hello. I’m so proud of you.>>Jenny Gordon: It’s
a pleasure to meet you.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Hello, hello.>>Anthony Tarzere:
Hello, nice to meet you.>>Justice Sonia Sotomayor:
Tell me your names.>>Jenny Gordon:
I’m Jenny Gordon.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Jenny.>>Anthony Tarzere:
Anthony Tarzere.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Hello. Anyway, you have to — he
has to know about the world, he has to know about
politics, but he also has to know about the economy. What? She. You’re right, thank you. She has to know about
everything. But you know something, the
most interesting people I know in the whole world
are curious people.>>Anthony Tarzere:
That is so true.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
People who want to learn about things, just
because learning is fun. Because, you see, the
people that are most anxious to learn are the people who
tend to do the most in life. So, that’s my answer to
how you become president. [ Applause ]>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: You’re welcome. Now, I’m not supposed to do
this and people are going to tell me I’m very
forward for doing it, but if you become president, will you ask me to
be there, please? [ Applause ] Bye, Maria.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Wow.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for asking your question.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Okay, Carla.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well, Justice.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
You look so tiny up there. Boy, you guys [inaudible].>>CARLA HAYDEN: This is
wonderful, because I feel like a talk show person,
because we have more advice. The next question.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yes.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
From a feminist dad.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Wow. All right, which dad is that?>>CARLA HAYDEN: My 14 year old
son is currently not identifying with feminism and
female empowerment. Can you help? Where is the feminist
dad and is the son here? Oh, here’s the feminist dad.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Which way is he? Over there?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Feminist dad.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
All right, I’m coming this way.>>CARLA HAYDEN: And is
the 14 year old son here? Good. Live streaming
TV, teenager, oxymoron.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Which way? Over here, okay. Gee, you don’t have an
older sister, do you? And if you do, she
didn’t beat you up enough when you were a kid.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Dad,
you’re going to get advice. How can you help? Does he have a sister?>>CARLA HAYDEN:
There’s the sister.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: All right.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Okay, good.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
You’re the younger sister, huh?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Maybe you need
to go straight to the Justice. You can all help.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: No,
I was just joking about that. Not a lot, because I spent
a lot of time beating up my brother when
he was little. Daughter: Hi. Dad: My daughter.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: How are you? Daughter: I’m good. It’s so good to meet you.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
It’s a pleasure to meet you. Now, with my brother I
figured out at a certain point when we were growing
into our teenage years that he stayed little only
so long and he was going to be bigger than me at some
point, that’s when I went to him and said, “We have
to stop fighting. We’re too big to fight anymore,
we have to argue and we have to show how our mind
can beat each other.” He’s to this day he still
regrets he was waiting to beat me up some day
and I stopped the game. It is hard, isn’t
it, because there are so many cultural influences. Even when kids are small, about
what toys they should like, you know, the boy toys
versus the girl toys. All of those things. But I think feminism rightly
defined is respect for women. And — [ Applause ] That requires your insistence. It requires making sure that
when women talk or men talk, your child learns
how not to interrupt. It means, teaching him that
listening to people’s ideas, requiring letting them
talk those ideas out. It requires teaching him
by example and otherwise that women do powerful things. And you can show him a
Supreme Court with three women. [ Applause ] And I can say something that
I’m going to be chided for, probably have my hand slapped
and I’m going to do it anyway, there’s a movie called RBG. [ Applause ] It’s about my friend
and I’m privileged to call her my friend,
but she was an advocate for women’s rights. And I don’t know that any other
movie I have ever seen might teach your son why equality
of women is so important. [ Applause ] Don’t give up on him. They all grow up.>>Father: Thank you. And I teach government
in high school Maryland, which is 70% Hispanic
population, and it’s so great have your
picture up on my wall and say, “Look, this is, you know,
what you can do for you.”>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you. Be very proud of him. All right, let’s take
a picture with him. Come on back. Come on. All right. Where’s my — Okay. All right, you guys.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
I think he has a — now, one of you has to
get the picture to him, okay, that’s your job.>>Father: Thank you.>>Daughter: Thank you so much.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: Wow. And he has a Baltimore
Orioles cap. Woops. Baltimore. Justice, now, this question
is from a 4th grade teacher and I think it’s something
that all of us would like to hear you talk about. When you have felt discouraged, what has helped you power
through that feeling. And this is a teacher. Ms. Dorothy Cokalin [assumed
spelling], who’s asking for a 4th grade student. And teachers are so important
in terms of being able to help outside in the home.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
So, who’s that teacher?>>CARLA HAYDEN: And
this is the teacher. Dorothy, Dorothy, why
don’t you go and see –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Come on down with me so I can keep walking
into the back. Thank you.>>CARLA HAYDEN: You would
care to ask for your students.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: How about we take a
picture for your students. You know, I think wrongly
now, but what I was thinking about what i would
be when I grew up, I didn’t think I had the
patience to be a teacher. I still don’t know if I
could have that patience.>>Dorothy: It takes a lot.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
But I know one thing, which is the strength of our
country is in our teachers. And — [ Applause ] I, for one, really thank you,
from the bottom of my heart, to every teacher whose
patience seems endless and whose sacrifice on all
our behalves is so great. You’re never paid enough and you’re never admired
enough, so thank you. [ Applause ] It took me a very very long time
to figure out that the best way for me to become less
discouraged was to talk to people about how I felt. You know, for a lot of my
life I would have self-doubt, I would be afraid,
I would be sort of anxiety ridden
about something. And I would try to power
through it and almost ignore it. And it really eats you up. It’s like your stomach’s
constantly churning. And in the end, when
you’re discouraged, you can’t find the
good in things, because you’re discouraged. And, so, it took me a long
time to realize I have to share what I’m
feeling with other people. Now, that’s not so easy,
because sometimes you look at your parents and they may
be unhappy about something and you don’t want to make
them more unhappy, right? So, maybe they’re
not the best person to share it with at that moment. Although I learned and it
took me a long, long, long, long time in my life that when
I share things with my mom, she made such a big
difference in helping me deal with what I was dealing. But, if that doesn’t
or can’t work for you, there’s always a teacher. Sometimes there’s the
parent of a neighbor or one of your best friends, sometimes
it’s someone in your Sunday or Saturday school
religious experience. And sometimes it’s
just another friend. And if you’re a good
friend and somebody comes to you who’s a friend and
says, “I’m in trouble, you have to help them find
an adult to help you.” That’s what being a good
friend is when you’re little. But, in the end, I think it’s
important for every child to know that they’re not alone. That what they feel are things
that other children have felt, even children like
me when I was little. And, so, to me, that’s
the first lesson. Learn how to share
what’s bothering you. Good luck to you.>>Dorothy: Thank you.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Take care. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: And, Justice,
I think is another question. Well, this is a three part. First, do you anticipate writing
another book in the future? You rock.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
What a great question.>>Saw you first in ’76.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: My gosh. How are you.>>Good to see you.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
it’s good to see you. Thank you.>>It’s been a long time.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
it has been too long. I have another children’s book
coming out next September.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Oh, great. Good.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
And who asked that question? Over there? Okay, come on back here with me.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Come
on back, because we — it’s also what book or
books have been important to you personally?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Oh, what was the second
part of that question?>>CARLA HAYDEN: What book or books have been
important to you?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Well, you’re going to have to read the children’s
book, because everything in that tells you about a
book that was important to me in a different stage in my life. And even now I read
book that always — every book brings you
a different insight, they bring you a different
way of looking at things. I find virtually,
I can’t say all, but a lot of books
do that for me. That’s why I read. So, I learned a lot about
the Canadian legal system from that thriller, you know. More than I knew,
because I knew a lot about their appellate practice,
because that’s what I do now, but I didn’t know that much
about their trial practice and how similar it was to ours. But, the next children’s book is
about kids with life challenges. And it starts with me as a
little girl being diagnosed — and is aid, I’m a diabetic,
that’s why I took that shot. You shouldn’t assume
bad things about people. And the working title, it may have another title before
we finish, is “Just Facts.” I want people to know that
kids who are look different or may be doing things
in a different way, that they’re not strange,
they’re just like you and me and they have a condition that
they have to take medicine for or accommodate for,
but they’re just as important as anybody else. And that difference
enriches our lives. So, I have kids who are blind
and I have kids in wheelchairs, I have kids with attention
deficit and Tourette syndrome and downs syndrome, and
each of them has a vignette where they describe their
condition and they describe how that condition has
made them stronger. And it’s set in a garden, and
in that garden scene I point out to kids, some trees
need shade, some need life. Some plants need water, and
some plants need very little. And yet together
all of those plants and trees create a
beautiful garden. And together all of us who are
different create a better world. Thank you. Thank you for asking
your question.>>You’re doing such good work.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN:
And, Justice, the –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
they promise you a picture.>>Thank you.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you.>>CARLA HAYDEN: This was
the three part question.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh my gosh.>>CARLA HAYDEN: With,
“You Rock,” after each one.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Okay.>>CARLA HAYDEN: How do you
maintain your hopeful outlook in these challenging times? You rock.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: All right, who’s this three part question?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Who asked
that and wrote, “You rock.”>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Nobody’s going to own up to it?>>CARLA HAYDEN: They’re still
there, this is three parts.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Oh, okay. We don’t have a choice, do we? We don’t. We have to
make the world better. I started by saying to
you, “We’re not bystanders in life, we can’t be.” We can’t let things
happen to us. Our responsibility is to
be make a better world. And when the time gets tough, that’s when the tough
have to stand up. That’s when we have to
get up and do something. And that’s the whole mission of
my being a Supreme Court Justice and why I go speaking to
audiences all the time. I believe in civic
participation. And I believe that
that’s a job not just for people interested
in politics. It’s a job for every person
who wants to live in the kind of world that they think
is a fair and just world. And, so, for me when it gets
hard, I know I have a job to do. It’s your job and my job. I can do mine this way,
because I’m a Justice and I can’t get involved
in politics. But you can. So, get out there and make
a better world please. [ Applause ] Carla, I have to come up sit,
whenever like 10 minutes before, so you have to tell me.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well,
Kelly Tansy wants to know, our last question, and there
are more questions about advice, but there’s the last
one, Kelly Tansy, “What is your biggest
piece of advice for our next generation
of girls?” With a smiley face. Next generation of girls, Kelly. Where’s Kelly. Oh, there’s Kelly. Justice, could you go — Kelly
could you go to the Justice.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Where’s Kelly?>>CARLA HAYDEN: Kelly’s coming.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Kelly’s coming, okay.>>CARLA HAYDEN:
Because another –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Hello, how are you?>>CARLA HAYDEN: What advice
would you give to women who aspire to be
Supreme Court Justices?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Don’t ever let someone
tell you you can’t do it.>>CARLA HAYDEN: But
Kelly wanted to –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: All
right, Kelly, where are you?>>CARLA HAYDEN:
Biggest piece of advice.’>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
We can become anything we want to through hard work,
getting yourself educated and as I said before, practice. But there’s a lot of naysayers
who will pop up in your world. People who will tell you, “You’re a woman,
you can’t do that.” Or you can’t do that
because — are you Latina? No. You look very
Mediterranean, you do. But they’ll tell you you can’t
do it because you’re black. People told me I couldn’t
do it because I’m Latina. You know, there was some writers
who said when I was nominated for the Supreme Court,
you’re not smart enough. Those things hurt. When people show a lack
of confidence in you, it sometimes scares you away
from trying, but you can’t. Because you know you and you
know how strong you can be, and you know how
hard you can work. And you just have to look at
people who say that to you and say, “That’s what you think. It’s not what I think.” Good luck. [ Applause ]>>It’s an honor to
be in your presence. I’m going to tell all my — I’m a teacher, I’m going
to tell all my girls.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: Thank you. [ Applause ] One of them better
get you the picture.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Justice.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yes?>>CARLA HAYDEN: I know that
we have run out of time.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Uht oh, I have to go up there. Hold on. I’m going
to walk around, okay?>>CARLA HAYDEN: I know you
want to talk and shake hands and come back this way. Would you mind if I read a
little bit from the last part of your book as you come.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I’m
going to come up, I promise you.>>CARLA HAYDEN: You come on up.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: I’ll get around. How you guys up there? You’re too far up, I’m sorry. Hi. Hello. Thank you, thank you.>>CARLA HAYDEN: I’m
going to read the book. Because this is the
very last part.>>JUSTICE SONIA
SOTOMAYOR: All right, why don’t you read
while I walk up.>>CARLA HAYDEN: I’m
reading, because — and your beautiful illustration at the last is a puzzle
piece and it’s gorgeous. And the words are, flame,
electricity, magic potion, friend, boat, snorkel, time
machine, launch pad, lens, teacher, life preserver,
mirror, map, key. The written word has been all
of these things to me and more for as long as I can remember. Like flagstones on a path, every book I ever read took me
the next step I needed to go and school and in life. Even if I didn’t know exactly
where the trail would lead. Piece by piece the
puzzle came together. Where will your journey
lead you? And there’s a timeline
of your life. And people can follow your
life through reading and books as they look at the wonderful,
wonderful illustrations. Now, I have to say that one of my favorite pages
was describing the fact that I was lucky
to have a library that was in my neighborhood. Walking distance from
the home, from my home. For hours I would sail
away to the wondrous lands and the stories I would
choose from the stacks. The library was my harbor
and books were little boats that helped me escape
the sadness at home. You can see –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Carla, could you hold up that page with
the little boat?>>CARLA HAYDEN: The
one about the library?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
The one about the library.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Yes.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: My library card is
stuck in the boat. Lulu did research
and found an example with the library card
I had as a child.>>CARLA HAYDEN: She
has a library card and it’s interesting because
in this illustration –>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
And I assume every child in this room has a library card.>>CARLA HAYDEN: In this
illustration the dark colors represent a time in your life
when you were 9 years old. And you felt sad and confused
and you needed to find a place where you could find comfort. And that was the library
and that was the harbor.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
And that’s still a place. Not just with quiet, but
with a sense of peace, because there you have the key I
found to life, the key of books. [ Applause ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: And for book
lovers everywhere, you said, “Books were my loyal
friends, they made it so I never felt lonely.” And, Justice, thank you
for — for everything. For sharing your
journey with us. [ Applause and Inaudible
Talking ]>>CARLA HAYDEN: Well,
I think that we have — had truly an honor and a living
testament to the power of words and books and reading. Thank all of you for
waiting and being here. [ Applause ] Did you want to say
anything at the end?>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Thank you, everybody.>>CARLA HAYDEN: Brava.>>JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR:
Thank you, seriously, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all, thank you. [ Applause ]

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