El Barrio

Overview

Join a young boy as he explores his vibrant neighborhood. The city shimmers with life—at once a party, a waltz, and a heartbeat. El Barrio is his sister preparing for her quinceañera, his grandfather singing about the past, and his cousins’ stories from other lands. The city is alive with the rhythms of the street.

Told in lyrical language and through bold, colorful illustrations, this celebration of Hispanic culture and urban life is sure to fire children’s curiosity about ...

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Overview

Join a young boy as he explores his vibrant neighborhood. The city shimmers with life—at once a party, a waltz, and a heartbeat. El Barrio is his sister preparing for her quinceañera, his grandfather singing about the past, and his cousins’ stories from other lands. The city is alive with the rhythms of the street.

Told in lyrical language and through bold, colorful illustrations, this celebration of Hispanic culture and urban life is sure to fire children’s curiosity about where they live and what they can discover in their own neighborhoods.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for EL BARRIO:

*"The vibrant illustrations combine woodcuts, painting and collage, all seemingly jumbled together in a riotous blend of color and texture. Depictions of other Latino celebrations and sprinklings of Spanish words add to the beautiful chaos of the illustrations...Color, action and feeling are of utmost importance here and together create a dazzling, flamboyant impression of urban Latino life, bringing Diaz's work to a whole new level. A glossary gives phonetic pronunciations of Spanish words used in the text as well as defining those words. Highly recommended for all collections."—Kirkus Reviews , STARRED REVIEW

"The poetic text and glowing illustrations praise a type of neighborhood that is often derogated or ignored...the spreads shimmer with color and movement... By calling upon these images as treasure, the book shows some young readers that their neighborhood, too, is both normal and special—and shows others what lies in the neighborhood next to theirs."—School Library Journal

"The whole is an exuberant cacophony of colors and sights, useful in classrooms and multicultural settings for how it expands the often simplistic view of what makes up a barrio."—Booklist

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our young narrator introduces us to el barrio, his home in the city. In Spanish Harlem, the Latino culture celebrates Cinco de Mayo, the Day of the Dead, and the holiday of the Nativity. On his sister's 15th birthday, there will also be a quinceaneras party, complete with pinata. His cousins come from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, but all go to la iglesia to pray on Sundays. He rejoices in all aspects of el barrio: the streets, the shops, the houses, the gardens, the music his grandfather plays on his guitar, the summer, the food, the quinceaneras with their music and joyful celebration, and finally his sister's love. The mixed media, crowded, double-page visuals of the caption-like text have a warmth that infuses all the images with a comfortable glow. Diaz uses heavy black outlines, simple anatomy, and intense colors with luminescence suggesting stained glass windows. Ornate borders of photographed fragments add solidity to this homage to a hometown. There is a glossary of the many included Spanish words. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

A neighborhood that will ring true for many readers is introduced in this picture book. "This is el barrio !/My home in the city/with its rain-washed murals/and sparkling graffiti." The speaker goes on to list all the things that make the community what it is: Cinco de Mayo and Day of the Dead, quinceañeras and piñatas, "Aztec eyes and Mayan faces." The poetic text and glowing illustrations praise a type of neighborhood that is often derogated or ignored: "silver-streaked tenements,/neon city streets,/storefront churches,/and bodegas that never sleep." Diaz returns to his classic thick-outlined woodcuts, but here the outlines change color through a rainbow of hues, making the spreads shimmer with color and movement. The framed spreads float over photographic collages that evoke the city-as in Eve Bunting's Smoky Night (Harcourt, 1994), but here, with more festivity. The book never goes far beyond its lists; a description of a quinceañera at the end attempts to link a narrative to the speaker, but is thin and almost unnecessary. Yet simply by calling upon these images as treasure ("syrupy sweet churros, /ice-cold paletas /and a lemon-yellow fire escape/as tall as a city skyscraper"), the book shows some young readers that their neighborhood, too, is both normal and special-and shows others what lies in the neighborhoods next to theirs.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
In the barrio lives a boy whose sister is getting ready for her quincea-era. Using the coming-of-age festival for its narrative structure, the book is really a celebration of Latino culture and life in the city, Chocolate's minimal text giving the boy voice as he describes his home: "El barrio is silver-streaked tenements, / neon city streets, / storefront churches, / and bodegas that never sleep." The vibrant illustrations combine woodcuts, painting and collage, all seemingly jumbled together in a riotous blend of color and texture. Depictions of other Latino celebrations and sprinklings of Spanish words add to the beautiful chaos of the illustrations. A collage frame composed of such material as beads, pebbles or tile surrounds each page, informing the composition of the interior image. Color, action and feeling are of utmost importance here and together create a dazzling, flamboyant impression of urban Latino life, bringing Diaz's work to a whole new level. A glossary gives phonetic pronunciations of Spanish words used in the text as well as defining those words. Highly recommended for all collections. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805074574
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

DEBBI CHOCOLATE is the author of more than twenty picture books, including The Piano Man, which received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, and Talk, Talk: An Ashanti Legend, winner of the Parents’ Choice Award. She lives outside Chicago with her family.

DAVID DIAZ has illustrated more than thirty books, including Smoky Night, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal, and Margaret Wise Brown’s The Little Scarecrow Boy, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. He lives in Southern California.

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