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VOICES IN FIRST PERSON by Lori marie Carlson


Reflections on Latino Identity

edited by Lori marie Carlson & photographed by Manuel Rivera-Ortiz & illustrated by Flavio Morais

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0635-3
Publisher: Atheneum

Editor Carlson presents 22 monologues, mostly by well-recognized Latino authors, in an attempt to describe the diverse experiences of Latino teens in America. Like the authors, the pieces vary dramatically. There’s the near innocence of “Barrio ABCs” by Quiara Alegria Hudes, an abecedarian that captures the flavor of a Latino neighborhood in jaunty, evocative rhythm, set against the chilling violence and casual sex of “Mujeriego” by Michael Mejias, a monologue by a 16-year-old in police custody for setting fire to a Bronx club, killing 33 people, in response to a brutal attack on his older brother. Several of the narratives effectively describe the conflict teens may feel between keeping their Latino identity and losing their ethnicity through assimilation. Each piece is accompanied by Rivera-Ortiz’s dramatic black-and-white photographs as well as Morais’s simple line drawings, and introduced by a sentence or two that sums up the content. Many narratives have mature themes. Altogether, a somewhat uneven anthology with some excellent pieces that may well justify its purchase. (biographical notes) (Anthology. 13 & up)