US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says books helped her escape a tough childhood. In a speech to students at Stanford University, she recounted the period just after the passing of her father. She was only in fourth grade. Worried about her sad mother, the young Sotomayor would sit outside her mom’s bedroom to keep a watchful eye. She passed the time reading.

As you can see in the video above, she makes a convincing case for reading. “Books gave me a rocket ship, not only around the world, but through the universe. I got to visit places through books that I never thought I would ever see,” she said.

Sotomayor says books eventually led to her understanding the power of education and the desire to become a Supreme Court justice.