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CINNAMON GIRL by Juan Felipe Herrera


letters found inside a cereal box

by Juan Felipe Herrera

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-057984-6
Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Yolanda’s grasp on reality crumbles along with the World Trade Center after her beloved Uncle DJ is injured on September 11. Still coping with a tragic incident from her past in Iowa, Yolanda’s fear after this new calamity is palpable through the poetry used as the vehicle to tell her story. The bond between Yolanda and her uncle is portrayed through loving letters, which she keeps in an empty cereal box and rereads as Uncle DJ struggles for his life. Likening the ash blanketing the city to the voices of lives lost, Yolanda vows to collect the silvery dust in exchange for her uncle’s life. The poetry itself is more complex than those in other verse novels for young adults—particularly due to the many Spanish words and phrases—but the glossary is quite helpful for comprehension. The Puerto Rican flavor of this lyrical, authentic novella will appeal to urban Latinas especially, but anyone touched by the events of September 11 will relate to Yolanda’s story. (Fiction. YA)