of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist
available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully
fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their
philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them
to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download,
or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.
¡Leamos!: A Latino Dozen for Teens
--selected by Maggie Hommel
The Latin culture craze may have started with pop music icons like J.
Lo, but it seems all-things-Latin, from music to cuisine to dance, are
growing in popularity, and many teens just can't get enough. The last
few years have also seen a surge in books reflecting the Latin American
teen experience, and whether you're looking to satisfy your patrons' Latin
cravings, want to teach about Latin American culture in an appetizing
way, or know Hispanic teens looking for books they can relate to, this
month's Dozens will feed your need. With stories and poems featuring such
varied experiences as life in a harsh city barrio, a trip to lush Puerto
Rico, an American quinceañero, and more, these libros are full
of the rhythms and spices of Latino cultures to which booklovers of all
backgrounds will be drawn. ¡Leamos!--Let's read.
- Allende, Isabel. City of the Beasts; tr. by Margaret Sayers Peden.
HarperCollins, 2002. Gr. 7-12
Leaving his ailing mother and family behind, fifteen-year-old Alex embarks
on a magical-realism quest through the Amazon with his adventuring magazine-reporter
grandmother, seeking a mythical beast. (BCCB 2/03)
- Alvarez, Julia. Before We Were Free. Knopf, 2002. Gr. 7-10
Companion to Alvarez's adult book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents,
here a twelve-year old witnesses her extended family's flight from the Dominican
Republic after their involvement in a plot to overthrow the country's leader.
- Cameron, Ann. Colibrí. Foster/Farrar, 2003. Gr. 6-10
Rosa betrays her caretaker-conman uncle and reveals to a priest her uncle's
scheme to steal from the church, hoping to return to her Mayan family and
a life under her real name, Tzunún. (BCCB 10/03)
- Carlson, Lori M., ed. Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino
in the United States. Holt, 1994. Gr. 5-8
Lyrical poems in English and Spanish recount stories of happiness, struggle,
differences, survival, and identity by Latinos in the U.S. (BCCB 9/94)
- Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. Arte Público,
1984. Gr. 7 up
Vignettes capture the story of Esperanza and her siblings, who reside and
search for beauty in an often harsh Hispanic Chicago neighborhood.
- Cofer, Judith Ortiz. An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio.
Kroupa/Orchard, 1995. Gr. 7-12
The lives of Chicano teenagers in a New Jersey barrio are explored through
twelve short stories that showcase the adolescents' coming of age and developing
sense of identity-personal and cultural. (BCCB 4/95)
- Jiménez, Francisco. Breaking Through. Houghton, 2001. Gr.
An autobiographical account of a young Mexican immigrant's experiences as
he and his family struggle to survive and be accepted in the United States.
- Martinez, Victor. Parrot in the Oven: mi vida. Cotler/HarperCollins,
1996. Gr. 9-12
A gritty, intimate look inside a young Mexican American's choices as he teeters
on the brink of adulthood, juggling his troubled family, impending gang initiation,
and desire for acceptance. (BCCB 12/96)
- Osa, Nancy. Cuba 15. Delacorte, 2003. Gr. 7-10
Planning a quinceañero is the last of Violet Paz's priorities,
especially since she assumes it will be awash with traditions she cares little
about, but she soon comes to appreciate her Cuban heritage. (BCCB 9/03)
- Polikoff, Barbara Garland. Why Does the Coquí Sing? Holiday
House, 2004. Gr. 6-8
Puerto Rico is the land of Chicagoan Luz Sorrento's ancestors, but it is not
her home, even if she is being forced to move there. Only through her family
will she love her second homeland. (BCCB 6/04)
- Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood.
Cinco Puntos, 2004. Gr. 9-12
In the troubled barrio of Hollywood, New Mexico, tragedy is commonplace for
teens like Sammy Santos, whose girlfriend was murdered by her father. Set
in the turmoil of the Vietnam era, this story gives a close-up view of Sammy's
world. (BCCB 9/04)
- Saldaña, Jr., René. Finding Our Way: Stories. Lamb,
2003. Gr. 7-10
Latino teens coming of age are featured in eleven unique and moving stories
from the author of The Jumping Tree. (BCCB 4/03)
- Soto, Gary. The Afterlife. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 6-10
Chuy, a Fresno, California, teenager, is knifed for checking out another guy's
shoes, and his ghost travels through the city for a last revisiting after
his death. (BCCB 10/03)
- Stavans, Ilan, comp. Wáchale!: Poetry and Prose about Growing
Up Latino in America. Marcato/Cricket, 2001. Gr. 7-10
A collection of poems and stories by well-known Latino authors, peppered with
Spanglish, portray the experiences of young Latinos in the U.S. (BCCB 2/02)
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