Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box

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9780060579852: Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box

I want
to see
what is
on the other side of the dust

When the towers fall, New York City is blanketed by dust. On the Lower East Side, Yolanda, the Cinnamon Girl, makes her manda, her promise, to gather as much of it as she can. Maybe returning the dust to Ground Zero can comfort all the voices. Maybe it can help Uncle DJ open his eyes again.

As tragedies from her past mix in the air of an unthinkable present, Yolanda searches for hope. Maybe it's buried somewhere in the silvery dust of Alphabet City.

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About the Author:

Juan Felipe Herrera is the U.S. Poet Laureate and was inspired by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movement and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. His published works include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007; Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream; Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas; Thunderweavers/Tejedoras de Rayos; Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, a Pura Belpré Honor Book; Américas Award winners Crashboomlove and Cinnamon Girl; Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; and Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical. He has received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and previously served as California Poet Laureate. He has taught at both California State University, Fresno and University of California, Riverside and held the Tomás Rivera endowed chair in creative writing. He lives in Fresno, California.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 8-10–Young adult fiction dealing with 9/11 has been slow to be published, so Herrera's book might have helped fill the void. Unfortunately it is a disappointing effort. It is a pastiche of poetry and letters written by 10th-grader Yolanda, whose uncle lies attached to life-support machinery after having been rescued from the rubble of the Twin Towers. Yo, herself, has been rescued from a too-daring adolescence in Iowa, where she was befriended by kids engaged in clubbing, drinking, and a game of chicken that ended in tragedy. Now in New York City, the Puerto Rican teen and her relatives keep a bedside vigil and, in a moment of consciousness, her uncle implores her to save the others. She does so the only way she can: by gathering dust and ashes from the streets and storing it in plastic bags. As her desperation to complete her quest increases, she stays out all night in the company of a boy who convinces her to smoke pot and then abandons her. Amid all the bleakness and despair, Yo's mother finds her and lets her know that she has been better understood–all along–than she had realized. Even better, her uncle has awakened from his coma. Many stories are touched upon, but none are fully developed. The fragments of poetry fluctuate in time and setting and mingle English with Spanish and Spanglish (often untranslated in the appended glossary) in ways that are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Herrera offers glimpses of greater penetration and vision, but the overall package is a mishmash.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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