THE CUBAN AMERICAN FAMILY ALBUM

This entry in the Hooblers' American Family Album series (The Jewish American Family Album, 1995, etc.) begins with an introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, who notes, ``where there are Cubans, there will be much warmth, life and amazing energy.'' A collection of oral histories and memoirs grouped by topic offer firsthand accounts of ``The Old Country,'' ``Coming to the United States,'' ``Ports of Entry,'' ``A New Life,'' ``Putting Down Roots,'' and ``Part of the United States.'' Readers will learn about the quincea§era, the celebration of a young woman's 15th birthday, how immigration to the US broke down the extended Cuban family, once the strongest force in that society, and how Desi Arnaz became the first famous Cuban American. The black-and-white photographs in the album reflect the various moods of these memoirs and manifest the Cuban-American story. Insets on celebrities such as Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan add interest, as does a recipe for black beans, the staple of Cuban cooking. The grouping of memoirs around general topics leads to some natural disjointedness, but overall this is a good summation of the successful assimilation of Cubans into—and their contributions to- -American culture. (chronology, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-19-508132-3

Page Count: 127

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

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WAR AND THE PITY OF WAR

This startling and honest presentation of the horrors of war from Philip and McCurdy (American Fairy Tales, 1996, etc.) uses poems to thoughtfully balance the often romanticized vision of battle as an expression of bravery and honor. Terror, agony, mass slaughter, absurdity, pointlessness, and cruelty are the subjects of poets writing from ancient times to the present; there are also elegies for warriors, celebrating their brave deaths. Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, and Stephen Crane share pages with Anakreon and Simonides; there are contributors from Beirut and Bosnia, as well as from the death trains of WWII. Among McCurdy’s somber and realistic black-and-white illustrations are dead soldiers hanging on barbed wire, and a lone soldier standing in a graveyard, holding his head as he says goodbye to those who have died on the fields. The book makes vivid humankind’s innate darkness and makes war painful again. (indexes) (Poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-84982-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

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ALONE IN THE WORLD

ORPHANS AND ORPHANAGES IN AMERICA

A solid, but not stellar, volume surveys the development of orphanages in the United States from the beginning of the 19th century to their decline in the 20th. Reef capably examines the social conditions that led to the establishment of the various institutions serving the children of poverty, from orphan asylums and reformatories, to the orphan trains and settlement houses, and finally to the New Deal and A.F.D.C. The highly readable text gives readers a powerful glimpse into the living conditions of these orphans, from accommodations and clothing to playtime and school, carefully explaining the various underpinning philosophies that led to those conditions. The narrative makes effective use of primary source material ranging from individual orphanages’ histories (every asylum had an historian, it seems) to Davy Crockett and Charles Dickens; archival drawings and photographs further develop the stories (though, regrettably, the captions do not include dates or credits). Although most quoted dialogue is attributed in chapter notes, and an exhaustive bibliography is appended, glaringly absent is any hint of further reading for children whose interest has been piqued. A crying shame. (afterword, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 18, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-35670-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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