As they have done in previous collaborations, Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and photographer Lawrence Migdale once again explore a central cultural tradition. Celebrating a Quincea$era: A Latino's 15th Birthday Celebration chronicles the preparation-and the big event-which attends the traditional Mexican-American celebration marking a girl's passage into adulthood. Photographs show preparatory steps, such as sending out invitations and choosing a dress.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Cynthia Cuevas is turning 15, which marks a rite of passage for a girl-her quincea-era-the day on which she leaves behind her childhood and becomes a young woman. In this beautifully crafted photo-essay, 10-year-old Ariana helps her cousin prepare for the big day. The eye-catching, full-color photos follow the buildup-from writing and hand delivering invitations, planning a menu, choosing the attendants and dresses, and learning to waltz to the event itself. The clearly written, engaging text conveys both the social and religious significance of the event, including a one-page sidebar on Our Lady of Guadalupe. The sense of celebration and transition are honored both in the text, which includes embedded definitions of the Spanish words used, and in the photographs. Girls will find this a fascinating look at an increasingly popular tradition, more successful pictorially and textually than Elizabeth King's Quincea-era (Dutton, 1998). This exemplary photo-essay concludes with a glossary and an accurate index.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Following the pattern of their other collaborations, Hoyt-Goldsmith and Migdale (Celebrating Ramadan, 2001, etc.) invite the reader to join a family and a whole community as they celebrate an important occasion in the life of a 15-year-old Mexican-American girl. The engaging photo essay details all the stages in the quincea-era celebration that involves a religious ceremony and a gala dance. Aztec, Roman Catholic, and European traditions are interwoven in the rite of passage still celebrated in Mexico and Mexican-American communities alike. Although in earlier times, the 15th birthday was an occasion for a young woman to make a decision between a secular life and a life consecrated to religious duties, it is now a time for reflection about childhood and the adult life she will lead. A special Mass is held and a large party with a corte de honor of 14 young men and women is planned with the help of many friends and relatives. This court may be linked to the 19th century, when the Austrians Maximilian and Carlota ruled as emperor and empress of Mexico for a short time and imported European traditions, such as fancy dress balls. Today's young people, in long dresses and tuxedos, perform complex dances reminiscent of the past before they start doing today's dances. The crisp, clear photos show Cynthia, a California teenager, and her family as they begin to plan the celebration. Her young cousin Ariana and her family are also very involved with the plans and the close relationship between the two families is highlighted. With its mix of family celebration, explanations of cultural and religious traditions, and glimpse into the everyday life of the large Mexican-American community, this is avery attractive way to introduce a major American ethnic group. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)