Wachale! : Poetry and Prose about Growing Up Latino

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9780812647501: Wachale! : Poetry and Prose about Growing Up Latino

This groundbreaking bilingual anthology, carefully designed for middle readers, is a mosaic of voices demonstrating the energy, creativity, and diversity of the fastest-growing minority group in America. Wachale! (Spanglish for watch out!”) includes folk tales, stories, and poems in both English and Spanish, and brief autobiographical essays by both well-established and emerging writers representing all shades of Latinos, such as Chicanos in the Southwest, Puerto Ricans in New York, and Cubans in Florida, as well as Dominicans, Guatemalans, and other subgroups. Geared toward ten- to thirteen-year-olds, this is a window to Latino experiences north of the Rio Grande.

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From Booklist:

Gr. 5-8. "My first language was spanglish," Aurora Levins Morales says in her touching autobiographical poem, "Child of the Americas," about growing up a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew. Like many of the authors in this lively bilingual anthology of poetry, essays, folktales, and stories, she celebrates her history, her diversity, and her rich individual identity. ("I was born at a crossroads / and I am whole"). Some entries are historical; for example, Jesus Colon's "Kipling and I" is a heartbreaking account of his struggle as a Puerto Rican laborer in 1930s New York. Several pieces dramatize growing up Latino now, in and out of the mainstream. The notes on sources and further reading are part of the fun, and so is the lengthy glossary, but, as editor Stavans says, readers live in a world where language and culture are already mixed, and it would be "silly" to aim for meticulous definitions of every single word. Stavans is an academic and editor of several adult Latino anthologies. Here he is aiming especially at a middle-school audience, and this collection would make a fine classroom text, great for reading aloud and for stimulating students from everywhere to write about their roots and celebrate their shifting places across borders. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9&Up--This collection, which features works by 29 Latino writers (including Gary Soto, Rosaura S nchez, and Luis J. Rodr'guez), is a bit disappointing. Much of the writing is flaccid and meandering and depends too much on attitude rather than good crafting or insight for its effect. The two exceptions are both short stories. Virgil Su rez's "Ricochet" is a brief piece about a boy, his slingshot (he's making it so that he can shoot the heads off lizards), and his missing father. Willie Perdomo's "Harlem River Kiss" evokes the dizziness of awakening young love amidst garbage barges and park benches. Each work is introduced by a biographical sketch of the author. Not surprisingly, many of the prose works include passages in Spanish, and all of the poems are presented both in Spanish and English.

Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Cricket Books/Marcato (2001)
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