Based on actual accounts, this dynamic short story collection focuses on and delves into the nuances of the lives of young Latinos and Latinas in the United States.
In the opening story, “The Attack,” readers are exposed to a medical emergency gone wrong when police racially profile a young Mexican-American man undergoing an epileptic seizure with a knife in hand. The story lands like a gut punch, and the following 11 also leave impressions and invite considerable scrutiny. Another touching narrative, titled “Burrito Man,” depicts the sudden death of a Salvadoran father saving for his daughter’s college tuition as an unassuming food vendor in D.C. Inspired by true stories and woven with cultural details and Spanish dialects appropriate to different Latin American countries, the collection is penetrating: Latin American families are divided by deportation; illness and poverty are constant struggles; characters feel guilt, shame, and an inescapable sense of being unwelcome in the U.S. Tech-industry gentrifiers and neighborhood kids clash over a San Francisco soccer field; a privileged, fifth-generation middle-class Tejano harbors palpable prejudices and misconceptions about unaccompanied children crossing the border. Common Spanish sayings—refranes—and attractive freehand pencil sketches of the protagonists usher in each story, both serving as integral elements in this solidly packaged collection.
Pura Belpré honoree Delacre’s chronicles—each different from the next—offer moving snapshots of family heartbreak, disadvantage, dysfunctionality, heartbreak, privilege, and joy. (glossary, translations, notes) (Short stories. 8-12)