Thursday, September 6, 2018

Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story at Zimmerli This Fall

The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story

WHEN: September 15, 2018, through March 17, 2019
Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.
To schedule a class or group tour, please contact the Education Department ( at least two weeks in advance.

In conjunction with U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s first memoir for young people, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers is pleased to announce the opening of The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story.

Justice Sotomayor shares her inspiring story about growing up and her deep love of reading in Turning Pages: My Life Story, which will be published by Philomel Books on September 4, along with a Spanish version, Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida.

The exhibition features nearly 30 objects on loan from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Lulu Delacre, including her oil and collage art, preparatory drawings, and research material, on public view for the first time. Bilingual labels, in English and Spanish, accompany the works. Ms. Delacre will speak at Art After Hours: First Tuesdays on October 2.

“Justice Sotomayor is a role model for people all over the world who dream to make a difference,” said Nicole Simpson, the Zimmerli’s Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, who organized the exhibition. “In Turning Pages, she is a powerful advocate for the importance of reading, demonstrating how early exposure to books can transform a person’s life. Likewise, Lulu Delacre reveals through her captivating illustrations how art can tell a moving story.”

“Justice Sotomayor teaches children that the wisdom of the ages can very often be found in the pages of books, within the myriad libraries that can be found in every town in our land,” Zimmerli director Thomas Sokolowski observed. “Her mantra could almost be found in the phrase ‘Knowledge Free to All,’ once coined by Andrew Carnegie.”

Sotomayor’s experiences come to life in Delacre’s vibrant illustrations, which create an engaging visual account of this personal journey. The Justice recounts the challenges of her childhood in the Bronx, New York, including her father’s death and her diabetes diagnosis, as well as her triumphs, from her acceptance at Princeton University to becoming the first Latina and third woman to serve on the U. S. Supreme Court. Throughout, she details how books have been a constant in her life, transporting her to distant worlds and encouraging empathy for other people.

The Art of Turning Pages provides rare insight into the process of illustrating children’s books, including an array of materials that show the dedication and ingenuity that go into this art. Delacre carefully researched Sotomayor’s life by interviewing the Justice and viewing family photographs; sourcing such period details as clothes, cars, and buildings; and identifying influential texts. She then painted her illustrations with vivid oil washes, including the color sap green in each as a nod to Sotomayor’s Puerto Rican heritage. As Sotomayor emphasized how books were a steadfast source of learning, solace, and inspiration, Delacre skillfully incorporated bits of paper collage, often taken directly from the texts themselves, into many of her illustrations. In addition, reference photographs, ferns from Puerto Rico used for embossing the endpapers, and other working materials are on view.

The Art of Turning Pages is on view in the Zimmerli’s Duvoisin Gallery, dedicated to showcasing original artwork for children’s books. This ongoing rotation of exhibitions serves to educate audiences about the craft of book illustration and emphasize the important, early exposure to visual literacy that children gain through picture books. The exhibition is open during regular museum hours, Tuesday through Sunday.

About the Illustrator

Three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree Lulu Delacre has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1980. Born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinean parents, Delacre says her Latino heritage and her life experiences inform her work. Her 39 titles include Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America, a Horn Book Fanfare Book in print for over 25 years; and Salsa Stories, an IRA Outstanding International Book. Her bilingual picture book ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado; Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest and her story collection Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos have received multiple starred reviews and awards. Her latest work is the art of Turning Pages by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Delacre has lectured internationally and served as a juror for the National Book Awards. She has exhibited at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; The Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators in New York; the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico and the Museum of Ponce in Puerto Rico among other venues. For more, visit her at

About the Author

Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, New York. She earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County, and then as a litigator at Pavia & Harcourt. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. In 1997, President William Jefferson Clinton nominated her to the U. S. court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role on August 8, 2009, becoming the first Latina and third woman to hold this position. She is the author of My Beloved World and The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor.

The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story, organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.


The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.

PaparazZi Café is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed weekends and major holidays, as well as the month of August.

For more information, visit the museum’s website or call 848.932.7237.


The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts and the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum.