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. It may be unclear to readers what rendering them in poetry adds to these tales, but they are nonetheless successful stories. An informational piece follows each poem that—while sometimes slightly didactic—expands on the social and historical context with honesty and depth. (One exception is “Deep African Roots,” which, while an otherwise good piece, puzzlingly neglects to explore the unique history of blacks in Panama, though the preceding poem is about a black Panamanian boy.) Diaz’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. Would that the authors had shared why they included Spaniards as Latinos when whether or not Spaniards consider themselves Latinos appears to be up for debate.
Still, with only minor flaws, it is 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. (acknowledgements, bibliography, additional resources, index) (Poetry. 10 & up)