¡Sí! Somos Latinos

Book Description

Juanita lives in New York and is Mex­i­can. Felipe lives in Chicago and is Pana­man­ian, Venezue­lan, and black. Michiko lives in Los Ange­les and is Peru­vian and Japan­ese. Each of them is also Latino.

Thir­teen young Lati­nos and Lati­nas liv­ing in the United States are intro­duced in this book cel­e­brat­ing the rich diver­sity of the Latino and Latina expe­ri­ence. Free-verse fic­tional nar­ra­tives from the per­spec­tive of each youth pro­vide spe­cific sto­ries and cir­cum­stances for the reader to bet­ter under­stand the Latino people’s quest for iden­tity. Each pro­file is fol­lowed by non­fic­tion prose that fur­ther clar­i­fies the character’s back­ground and his­tory, touch­ing upon impor­tant events in the his­tory of the Latino Amer­i­can peo­ple, such as the Span­ish Civil War, immi­gra­tion to the US, and the intern­ment of Lati­nos with Japan­ese ances­try dur­ing World War II.

Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy’s infor­ma­tional yet heart­warm­ing text pro­vides a resource for young Latino read­ers to see them­selves, while also encour­ag­ing non-Latino chil­dren to under­stand the breadth and depth of the con­tri­bu­tions made by Lati­nos in the US. Calde­cott Medal­ist David Diaz’s hand-cut illus­tra­tions are bold and strik­ing, per­fectly com­ple­ment­ing the vibrant sto­ries in the book.

YES! WE ARE LATINOS stands alone in its pre­sen­ta­tion of the broad spec­trum of Latino cul­ture and will appeal to read­ers of fic­tion and nonfiction.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8–A col­lec­tion of nar­ra­tive poems meant to rep­re­sent young Lati­nos of diverse and mul­ti­ple back­grounds. All of the selec­tions start with the state­ment, “My name is…,” fol­lowed by a bit about where the nar­ra­tors live, how they came to the United States, and how their fam­i­lies’ cul­tural iden­ti­ties are shap­ing their future. Each entry is fol­lowed with another short nar­ra­tive that includes his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences to con­tex­tu­al­ize the “child’s” story. It is refresh­ing to see a var­ied pre­sen­ta­tion that includes those from dif­fer­ent eth­nic, racial, and reli­gious back­grounds, in addi­tion to rep­re­sent­ing some of the smaller Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries and the islands in the Caribbean. The vignettes also help to illus­trate the mean­ing of being mestizo–the blend­ing of indige­nous, African, and Span­ish lineage–mentioned in the intro­duc­tion and explored through­out. Another notable detail is the inclu­sion of Asians in Latin Amer­ica, which is often over­looked in children’s literature.

The illus­tra­tions are inter­est­ing lino cutouts, black and white, rem­i­nis­cent of Latino folk art, akin to wood carv­ings and papel pic­ado. Teach­ers look­ing for a start­ing point to write per­sonal nar­ra­tives will find the book extremely use­ful as will those seek­ing to rec­og­nize and high­light this diverse pop­u­la­tion. A short list of Latino-inspired lit­er­a­ture is appended.–Maricela Leon-Barrera, San Fran­cisco Pub­lic Libraryα© Copy­right 2013. Library Jour­nals LLC, a wholly owned sub­sidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redis­tri­b­u­tion permitted.

From Book­list

This book cel­e­brates the amaz­ing and under­ap­pre­ci­ated diver­sity of the Latino com­mu­nity and makes great strides toward ame­lio­rat­ing one-dimensional stereo­types. Through 12 nar­ra­tive poems, the authors explore the expe­ri­ences of fic­tional men and women; Chris­tians and Jews; immi­grants, indige­nous peo­ple, and second-generation Amer­i­cans; pro­fes­sion­als and farm­ers; all of whom iden­tify them­selves as Lati­nos. Each poem is fol­lowed by brief fac­tual expla­na­tion of the major themes within, such as the Span­ish Civil War, Asian influ­ences in Latin Amer­ica, and Cuba’s rela­tion­ship with the U.S.

Black-and-white abstract art by Calde­cott win­ner Díaz ele­vates each individual’s story by illus­trat­ing major themes. While the authors include a bib­li­og­ra­phy of source mate­r­ial, they also acknowl­edge a lengthy list of peo­ple who pro­vided inspi­ra­tion for the top­ics dis­cussed in the book. Per­haps it is the use of these real-life fig­ures that gives the fic­tional vignettes such an air of real­ism and relata­bil­ity for both Latino and non-Latino read­ers alike. Grades 3–6. –Erin Anderson

Kirkus Review

A poetic cel­e­bra­tion of the diver­sity found among Latinos.

Each poem in this col­lec­tion of 13 vignettes is a glimpse into the life of a Latino child liv­ing in the United States. Ada and Cam­poy do a com­mend­able job of cre­at­ing a nuanced, real­is­tic reflec­tion of the many-faceted Latino expe­ri­ence, includ­ing char­ac­ters from a vari­ety of eth­nic, reli­gious, lan­guage and racial back­grounds. […] An infor­ma­tional piece fol­lows each poem that […] expands on the social and his­tor­i­cal con­text with hon­esty and depth. […] Díaz’s sig­na­ture black-and-white cut-paper art dec­o­rates the col­lec­tion and is espe­cially note­wor­thy in its reflec­tion of the themes in the infor­ma­tional pieces.[…] a col­lec­tion both inter­est­ing and edu­ca­tional, offer­ing Latino chil­dren pos­i­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tions of them­selves and teach­ing non-Latino chil­dren about the rich­ness and breadth of the Latino experience.

Goodreads [Kathy]

This book is a com­bi­na­tion of fic­tional vignettes and non fic­tion descrip­tions of the many diverse Latino groups in the United States. The fic­tional sec­tions are actu­ally nar­ra­tive poems about children/students liv­ing in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try with dif­fer­ent her­itages. The empha­sis is on adapt­ing to a new way of life and also retain­ing their native cul­ture, lan­guage and cus­toms. Depicted are the dif­fi­cul­ties of cop­ing with intol­er­ant or igno­rant peo­ple. The non fic­tion sec­tions explore the his­tory of each group and the con­tri­bu­tions to art or music or lit­er­a­ture or sci­ence that peo­ple of that cul­ture have made.

Writ­ten by well respected and award win­ning authors; Alma Flora Ada and F. Isabel Cam­poy, the book is well researched . Block print illus­tra­tions are by David Diaz . They are an excel­lent addi­tion to the nar­ra­tive sections.

This book will be a wel­come addi­tion to school libraries on all lev­els as a resource and as an excel­lent way to edu­cate stu­dents on the diverse back­grounds their fel­low Latina/Latino class­mates bring to a class­room. A great resource for teach­ers want­ing to assign Latino/Hispanic fig­ures for mul­ti­cul­tural reports or a study of the var­i­ous coun­tries that make up Latin America.