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CELIA CRUZ by Veronica Chambers


Queen of Salsa

by Veronica Chambers & illustrated by Julie Maren

Age Range: 7 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8037-2970-7
Publisher: Dial

This heartfelt biography celebrates the life of Cuban singer Celia Cruz from her childhood in Havana to her international fame as the Queen of Salsa. As a girl, Celia’s voice enchanted neighbors when she sang lullabies to her younger siblings. In high school, she sang Afro-Cuban rhythms in local clubs. Her big break came in 1950 when she was hired as lead singer for Cuba’s most popular band, La Sonora Matancera, and together they created a new style of Latin dance music. In 1960, Celia left Cuba forever for a singing career in Hollywood. Over the next 40 years she spread salsa music worldwide singing “sweet sugar” wherever she went. Text and illustrations highlight major events in Celia’s life and effectively convey the theme of the little “songbird” who became the Salsa Queen. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations, with their sizzling colors, bold patterns and images of birds, music, flowers and sugar, work harmoniously with the text to create an inspired and inspiring introduction to a Latina idol. (author’s note, glossary, selected discography) (Picture book. 7+)