In 2013, Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the first Latina to attain a position on the Supreme Court — published her poignant memoir, My Beloved World, in which she describes growing up in drug-infested housing projects, her diabetes diagnosis at age 7, and her father’s death not long thereafter.
Her story struck a chord with readers, and prompted the New York City native to think about finding a way to share her inspiring journey with a younger demographic.
The 63-year-old has written a middle school version of her memoir, The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor, and a children’s book, Turning Pages: My Life Story — both out in September — and she’s given PEOPLE and People en Español the exclusive first look at the covers of the English and Spanish versions of Turning Pages.
“When I began thinking about creating a middle school version of my adult book, My Beloved World, I realized that I wanted to create a book for younger children that was also more accessible to them,” she tells PEOPLE in a statement. “A picture book seemed the perfect way to approach a younger generation.”
Both books reflect back on the strong women who raised her — and the importance of reading. They’re scheduled to publish concurrently on Sept. 4.
“Turning Pages is dedicated to my abuelita Mercedes, my mother Celina and all the women who have inspired me,” Sotomayor also says. “The book highlights most of the important moments of my life and explains how words in poetry, books, comic books, newspapers, magazines, and documents have shaped my life.”
For Sotomayor, the illustrations in Turning Pages are just as important as the story itself. The Justice chose Lulu Delacre as illustrator because she felt connected to the Puerto Rican-born artist, who has a background that’s similar to Sotomayor’s own. When she saw Delacre’s work for the first time it “shone bright” for her, Sotomayor explained.
The justice hopes that the children who read Turning Pages will feel the same excitement that she has “always felt in reading and learning about the world and all its mysteries, surprises, and wonders,” according to the statement.
In her memoir, Sotomayor also reveals just how much reading has influenced her life. Though it was the show Perry Mason that inspired her to become a judge, her first dream to become a detective was influenced by the Nancy Drew books, according to the New York Times review of her memoir. As a young girl, she realized that her mind worked just like Nancy’s.
“I was a keen observer and listener. I picked up on clues. I figured things out logically, and I enjoyed puzzles,” she writes in My Beloved World, according to the Times. “I loved the clear, focused feeling that came when I concentrated on solving a problem and everything else faded out.”
The English and Spanish versions of Turning Pages go on sale Sept. 4.
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