Reno-area judges to read Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s life story to kids in a courtroom

As part of a new Artown event, children from the local Boys and Girls Club and the Big Brothers & Big Sisters program will gather in the Model Courtroom of The National Judicial College during two days in July to hear local judges read and discuss Sonia Sotomayor’s books about her journey from the housing projects of New York to the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The goal of this outreach effort is to strengthen democracy and the rule of law by teaching children about civic rights and responsibilities. The Reading & Robes program features judges in their robes reading aloud from culturally diverse books with themes of justice, fairness and the law.

For security purposes, media are asked to call/email in advance if they plan to cover either event

What: Reading & Robes, an Artown event
When: Monday, July 8, 10 a.m. to noon, and Saturday, July 13, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Where: National Judicial College, on the UNR campus at the intersection of Evans Ave. & Jodi Drive

Who – July 8:
Reading: Hon. Benes Z. Aldana (retired former chief trial judge of the U.S. Coast Guard and current National Judicial College president) and retired Reno (Second) District Court Janet Berry
Listening: First- to fifth-graders from the Boys and Girls Club and potentially others from the community

Who – July 13
Reading:  Sparks Municipal Court Judge James Spoo.
Listening: 10 children and 10 Big Brothers/Big Sisters and potentially others from the community

On July 8, the younger children will listen to, in English and Spanish, Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor while the older children will hear excerpts from The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor. On July 13, all attendees will hear The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor.

Lunch and refreshments will be served to the participants, and they will receive National Judicial College-themed souvenirs including teddy bears and gavel-shaped pencils, as well as a pocket-size copy of the Constitution.

The event is free and open to the public. However, because supplies and space are limited, people outside of the groups scheduled to attend are asked to register in advance by calling or emailing Susan Robinson, 775-327-8252 or

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Based in Reno, Nevada, and offering courses nationwide, The National Judicial College has been the nation’s leading provider of judicial education for more than half a century, drawing judges from every state and more than 150 countries. Nonprofit and nonpartisan since its founding in 1963, the College offers more than 200 judicial education programs in person and online in support of its mission: “to make the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary.”

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