1. Alvarez, Julia. ¡Yo!. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 1997.
Note: This is the sequel to the very successful story, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, which tells the story of four daughters who move from the Dominican Republic to New York. In this book, their assimilation continues. One of the daughters, Yo, is a writer who does not hesitate to put her friends and family in her writing. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different person who has a relationship to Yo and has an opinion about both Yo, and her writing. An appealing story, especially for those who have been uprooted from a Caribbean country and had difficulties becoming American.
2. Braun, Barbara. A Weekend with Diego Rivera. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. 1994.
Note: An inspiring book for all ages about the painter, Diego Rivera. An autobiography, the book includes copies of Rivera's pictures, many in color.
3. Carlson, Lori M. and Ventura: Where Angels Glide at Dawn: New Stories from Latin America. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Willard. 1990.
Note: A wonderful collection of stories written by authors from different countries. Some of these authors are quite prominent in the field of Latin American literature.
4. Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York, NY: Alfred A Knopf. 1984.
Note: This book has 43 short chapters, each told from the viewpoint of Esperanza, a young Mexican-American who is growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. This unit will include the entire book; some parts will be chosen for this unit and the remainder will be read when Mr. DeLucia would like to schedule additional chapters. The prose is not overly complicated and would probably also be of interest to 5
graders as well. Older students could read the short chapters on their own.
5. DeSpain, Pleasant. The Emerald Lizard: Fifteen Latin American Tales to Tell in English and Spanish. Trans. Mario Lamo-Jiminez. Little Rock, Arkansas: August House, Inc. 1999.
Note: Fifteen traditional tales (bilingual) from a variety of Latin America countries. These tales would amuse and delight all ages.
6. Esquivel, Laura. Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food & Flavor. Trans. Stephen Lytle. New York, NY: Crown Publishing (Random House) 2001.
Note: Several of these musings are quite nice, though with not much depth. Esquivel's famous work, Like Water for Chocolate is a much denser story, but not appropriate for children or even junior high students. It was made into an award winning movie. Esquivel is not mentioned in the three literature companions listed in the Bibliography for Teachers.
7. Martinez, Victor. Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 1996.
Note: A novel told from the perspective of a young boy, Manny Hernandez, growing up in a Mexican-American household in California; each member of the family brings different problems to Manny's life and he must learn to make good choices. Good reading for adolescents, although too long for this unit.
8. McDougall Littell. The Language of Literature. Boston, MA: The Houghton Mifflin Company. 2006.
Note: This is the current 7
grade Language Arts text for the New Haven (CT) Public Schools. While the curriculum is being changed for the 2009-2010 school year, the text book may remain in use. Works by Neruda and Cisneros are included in this text, along with many other multicultural authors. The book is densely packed with exercises and many suggestions for skill development. Because there are many entries by Latin American writers, students could get ideas for supplemental reading. Students may also want to practice their writing and reading skills using the many exercises throughout the book.
9. Nye, Naomi Shihab. The Tree is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 1995.
Note: A bilingual (names of translators are given with each entry) gathering of stories and poems (including Octavio Paz) from Mexico with many reproductions of Mexican paintings throughout. A lovely book for all ages.
10. Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc. 2000.
Note: A novel about a young girl and her mother who move to California from affluent circumstances in Mexico. The story of their newly difficult life takes place during strikes by agricultural workers in the early years of the Depression. Semi-autobiographical, the details are factual and often poignant. Somewhat too long for this curriculum unit. Would probably be enjoyed by 7
grade girls and by those students who have come to New Haven from Mexico as children.