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A Justice Comes Home

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents were from Puerto Rico, is the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor stands in front of a display case containing a bust of her head.
Bebeto Matthews/Getty Images News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor poses with a statue that is now on display in the Bronx, where she grew up.

When Sonia Sotomayor was a kid in New York City, she watched a TV show about a lawyer and dreamed about working in a courtroom. Today, there’s a statue of Sotomayor in her old neighborhood. Why? She’s now one of the most important judges in the country! 

Sotomayor is one of the nine justices (judges) on the United States Supreme Court. That’s the most powerful court in the nation. Supreme Court justices are chosen by the U.S. president and approved by the Senate. The justices make decisions about whether laws are fair—and their decisions affect the entire country. When Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009, she became the first Hispanic justice on the court.  

Sotomayor grew up in the Bronx, which is part of New York City. In September 2022, Sotomayor returned to her old neighborhood to see the unveiling of a statue that was created in her honor. The statue is now on display in a shopping center that’s not far from her childhood home.

“[The statue is] quite amazing,” Sotomayor told the Associated Press. “Looks a lot like me.” 

Although Sotomayor now works in Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court is located, she’s proud to be from the Bronx. 

“I love the Bronx. I love my community,” she said.

She’s still a huge fan of the New York Yankees, the baseball team that plays its home games in the Bronx. When she wasn’t watching baseball games, young Sotomayor watched Perry Mason, a TV show about a lawyer. The show made her decide she wanted to become a lawyer. It put her on a path that eventually led to the Supreme Court.  

“[Being chosen for the Supreme Court] was the most electrifying moment of my life,” she once told TV host Oprah Winfrey. “[It was] a moment in which you sit and realize that you’ve gone further than any dream you ever had, that you’ve reached something that never seemed possible.”


Hurricane Fiona Hits Puerto Rico

A man carrying a gallon of water walks down a flooded street between rows of houses.
AFP/Getty Images

On September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, which is located in the Caribbean Sea. The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain. Most of the island was left without power and running water. From Puerto Rico, the hurricane traveled northwest to the Dominican Republic. Then, it hit the islands of Turks and Caicos.

Hurricane Fiona has damaged buildings and caused widespread flooding in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria. That storm hit the island in 2017.

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Did You Know?

© Miroslav Liska/

This hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, was built in a Spanish style.

The Spanish were some of the first Europeans to settle in what is now the United States. In fact, the oldest city in the U.S. is St. Augustine, Florida. It was founded by the Spanish in 1565!

Names To Know

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month! Here are the stories of four amazing Hispanic Americans.

Portrait of Ellen Ochoa in her NASA flight suit

Ellen Ochoa

As a kid, Ellen Ochoa loved both science and music—so she decided to study both. Eventually, she became a great flute player. She also earned a doctorate in a field of science called electrical engineering and helped design computer systems. In 1991, Ochoa, whose grandparents were Mexican, became the first Hispanic woman astronaut. Starting in 1993, she took part in four NASA space missions in which she did experiments and operated a robotic arm to move equipment around.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, a writer, and a composer (a person who writes music). Born in New York City to parents from Puerto Rico, Miranda grew up loving musicals, which are stage shows that are partly acted out and partly sung. By the time he was in college, Miranda had started writing his first musical, using two musical styles—hip-hop and salsa. Miranda’s most famous musical is Hamilton, about the American patriot Alexander Hamilton. When the show opened in New York City in 2015, Miranda himself played Hamilton. Hamilton was a huge success, winning many awards.

Headshot of Juan Felipe Herrera
Blue Flowers Arts

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet and an activist (someone who works for a cause). Herrera grew up in California. His parents were farmworkers from Mexico. Herrera started writing poetry when he was a teenager. In college, he studied anthropology (the study of human culture) and poetry. He became a poetry teacher. He also continued to write poems and eventually became the first Hispanic poet laureate of the United States. A poet laureate is someone who is honored for their poetry and writes poems in honor of days that are important to the American people. Herrera has also spoken out for the rights of Mexican Americans.

Headshot of Nicole Hernandez Hammer

Courtesy of Nicole Hernandez Hammer

Nicole Hernandez Hammer

Nicole Hernandez Hammer is a scientist and an expert on climate change and how it affects people. Hernandez Hammer was born in the country of Guatemala and came to the United States when she was 4 years old. She started her career by studying climate change but eventually became an activist (someone who works for a cause). She began working with groups that speak out and try to make changes to clean up the environment. Today, Hernandez Hammer works to educate people about climate change. She hopes that more people make an effort to stop climate change.

There’s More To Learn!

Animated GIF with different faces of Hispanic Americans appearing and disappearing

© Pollyana Ventura, SDI Productions, kate_sept2004, andresr—E+/Getty Images,  © Dave & Les Jacobs, Jose Luis Pelaez Inc—DigitalVision/Getty Images, © stanley45—iStock/Getty Images, © WavebreakmediaMicro/, David Grossman/Alamy

Want to learn more about Hispanic Americans?

Check out Britannica School!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



:  the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time

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