RED HOT SALSA

BILINGUAL POEMS ON BEING YOUNG AND LATINO IN THE UNITED STATES

A decade after Cool Salsa (1994), Carlson has collected a new generation of voices. Thirty-eight poems in English and in Spanish reintroduce poets from her earlier collection (Gina Valdés, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., Luis Rodríguez) and debut many new ones. Divided into themed sections (language, identity, neighborhoods, etc.) the poems elicit not just the particulars of people and place, but of being an adolescent. Some of the best poems play with language, much of which is sadly lost in translation (Michele Serros’s imagined epitaph in “Dead Pig’s Revenge”: “Chicharrones Choke Chicana Child to Death (in Chino)” in Spanish just lies on the page like a dead pig). Nevertheless, the translations add an essential dimension to the book—a sense of an inclusive and diverse community—and Carlson leaves a handful of the untranslatable ones untouched, as Sacinto Cardona’s “women who weep into their huiples” in “Tumbling Through My Tumbaburro.” Biographical notes on the poets, and an introduction by Oscar Hijuelos round out this volume that will be appreciated by any young writer. (Poetry. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-7616-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

TAKING ON THE PLASTICS CRISIS

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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