Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States

Overview

"Poetry with a distinct flavor: a skillfully mixed appetizer."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Here are the sights, sounds, and smells of Latino culture in America in thirty-six vibrant, moving, angry, beautiful and varied voices, including Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Luis J. Rodríguez, Gary Soto, and Martín Espada.
Presented in both English and Spanish, each poem helps us to discover the stories behind the mangoes and ...
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Overview

"Poetry with a distinct flavor: a skillfully mixed appetizer."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Here are the sights, sounds, and smells of Latino culture in America in thirty-six vibrant, moving, angry, beautiful and varied voices, including Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Luis J. Rodríguez, Gary Soto, and Martín Espada.
Presented in both English and Spanish, each poem helps us to discover the stories behind the mangoes and memories, prejudice and fear, love and life--how it was and is to grow up Hispanic in America....
"The subtle but singing lyrics frequently have a colloquial tone that will speak to many young readers."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred)
"Excellent enrichment...Whether discussing the immigrant's frustration at not being able to speak English...the familiar adolescent desire to belong, or celebrating the simple joys of life, these fine poems are incisive and photographic in their depiction of a moment."
--School Library Journal (starred)

An acclaimed collection of poems about life in America by young Latinos--in a bilingual edition. Featuring an introduction by Oscar Hijuelos. Recipient of starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Review, Bulletin and Horn Book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As hot as jalapenos and as cool as jazz, this collection serves up ``ingles con chile'' and Spanish that ``you feel in the blood of your soul.'' Lyrical, traditional poems share space with street-smart free verse, and works by the likes of Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto are juxtaposed with entries from lesser-knowns. Illustrating the ``beat and pulse'' of generations of U.S. writers of Latin American heritage, the poems are presented both in the original and in translation; poems making use of both languages are easily accessible to English-only readers by virtue of an appended glossary of Spanish terms. In his introduction, Hijuelos ( The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love ) focuses on the ``unrelenting, unending sense of second classness'' that his parents experienced as Cuban emigrants and explains how this ``sense'' affected his uses of English and Spanish. The political agenda is not hidden, but the potency of the volume lies in Carlson's eclectic selection of voices--her volume approximates what one poet here calls ``a Mixtec chant that touches la tierra and the heavens.'' Ages 12-up. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 8-12-Whether discussing the immigrant's frustration at not being able to speak English, the violence suffered both within and outside of the ethnic community, the familiar adolescent desire to belong, or celebrating the simple joys of life, these fine poems are incisive and photographic in their depiction of a moment. Some of the poets are well-known, others are not, but all contribute to the whole. The Spanish translations capture the sense of the English so well that without the translator's byline one would be hard pressed to discern the original language. The same is true for those few poems translated from Spanish to English. This is a must for multicultural collections, and excellent enrichment material for literature courses.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Sally Estes
"Welcome to ESL 100, English Surely Latinized, / ingles con chile y cilantro, English as American / as Benito Juarez. Welcome, muchachos from Xochicalco, / learn the language of dolares [dollars] and dolores [pains], of kings / and queens, of Donald Duck and Batman. Holy Toluca!" Gina Valdes' "English con Salsa" leads off this anthology, setting the stage, as it were, for a wonderful assortment of poems that express Latino culture and the concerns of growing up in the U.S. Some of the poems are presented bilingually, translated from the original English or vice versa; others are a telling mix of both languages--"not necessarily Spanglish," according to Carlson. And although the poems are quite diverse stylistically and in subject matter, they all speak to the teenage experience, and the central sense that emerges from the whole is that the very mingling of the two languages is important in assimilating the two cultures and in maintaining an awareness of yourself and your heritage. Hence, slang and fractured grammar slip into both languages here, but at times the Spanish rendition is awkward. (For example, why call the living room el living", rather than la sala"?) Some of the pieces express the pain of facing prejudice or brutality; others celebrate the beat of Latino life--the joys of good hot dogs, parties, mangoes, dancing, love.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449704363
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori M. Carlson is an editor and translator who has concentrated on bringing Latino literature to American readers. As coeditor of Where Angels Glide at Dawn, she introduced new Latin American authors to younger readers. She is also the editor of American Eyes and Barrio Streets Carnival Dreams: Three Generations of Latino Artistry (both Holt). Her most recent book is Sol a Sol: Bilingual Poems. Ms. Carlson lives with her husband in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Note by Lori M. Carlson Introduction by Oscar Hijuelos

SCHOOL DAYS English con Salsa by Gina Valdés

Translating Grandfather's House
Traduciendo la casa de mi abuelo

Good Hot Dogs by Sandra Cisneros
Buenos Hot Dogs

A Puerto Rican Girl's Sentimental Education by Johnna Vega
La educación sentimental de una niña puertorriqueña

Learning English by Luis Alberto Ambroggio
Aprender el ingles

HOME AND HOMELAND Where You From? by Gina Valdés

Nothing More by Alfredo Chacón
Nada más

Brown Girl, Blond Okie by Gary Soto
Chica morena, campesina rubia

Why Do Men Wear Earrings on One Ear? by Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

For Ray by Ana Castillo
Para Ray

Aquatic Show by Daniel Jácome Roca
Espectáculo acuático

A PROMISING FUTURE Why Am I So Brown? by Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Solidarity by Amado Nervo
Solidaridad

We Would Like You to Know by Ana Castillo
Nos gustaría que sepan

Return by Berta G. Montalvo
Volver

Love Poem for My People by Pedro Pietri
Poema de amor para mi gente

The Calling by Luis J. Rodríguez
El llamado

Glossary Biographical Notes

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing collection of poetry

    This collection is a treasure among poetry, not only for its rich collection of voices and poignant social commentary on being Latin in America, but for its brutal honesty and courageous content that reveals both the beautiful and horrendous aspects of American culture as well as the Latin culture that these poets have left behind. All of the voices teach educational lessons to the readers, and bring an edge about the realities of living in America that can only be told accurately through the mouths of those experiencing it.

    This is an excellent read for all cultures who've found themselves in America, especially those who grow up in secluded suburban neighborhoods and have no concept or empathy for 'the other'. I recommend this text to all readers, especially early teens since so few books of poetry are written for this age group.

    -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2001

    excellent !

    This book is a great book. becasue it teaches different people that are not Latinos what we face and what goes throught in our daily life being Latinos.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

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