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

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

by Lori Marie Carlson
     
 

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Growing up Latino in America means speaking two languages, living two lives, learning the rules of two cultures. Cool Salsa celebrates the tones, rhythms, sounds, and experiences of that double life. Here are poems about families and parties, insults and sad memories, hot dogs and mangos, the sweet syllables of Spanish and the snag-toothed traps of English.

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Overview

Growing up Latino in America means speaking two languages, living two lives, learning the rules of two cultures. Cool Salsa celebrates the tones, rhythms, sounds, and experiences of that double life. Here are poems about families and parties, insults and sad memories, hot dogs and mangos, the sweet syllables of Spanish and the snag-toothed traps of English. Here is the glory, and pain, of being Latino American.

Latino Americans hail from Cuba and California, Mexico and Michigan, Nicaragua and New York, and editor Lori M. Carlson has made sure to capture all of those accents. With poets such as Sandra Cisneros, Martín Espada, Gary Soto, and Ed Vega, and a very personal introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, this collection encompasses the voices of Latino America. By selecting poems about the experiences of teenagers, Carlson has given a focus to that rich diversity; by presenting the poems both in their original language and in translation, she has made them available to us all.

As you move from memories of red wagons, to dreams of orange trees, to fights with street gangs, you feel Cool Salsa's musical and emotional cross rhythms. Here is a world of exciting poetry for you, y tú también.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Mamiverse.com: Top 50 Latino Children's Books You Should Know

"This spirited, significant collection of poetry for young adults by poets of Latin American heritage is enlivened both by the considerable energy of the poems and by the juxtaposition—and sometimes intermingling—of English and Spanish. ... The collection is eminently successful in celebrating the particular experience of growing up Latino in the United States." —The Horn Book, starred review

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:
9780805031355
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
07/15/1994
Series:
Edge Book Series
Edition description:
Spanish Language Edition
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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