Finding My Heroes – a guest post

Today I’m honored to share a guest post from children’s author and Salvadoran, René Colato Laínez, as part of a “blog hop” and giveaway by Latinas for Latino Literature (L4LL).

Twenty Latino/a authors and illustrators plus 20 Latina bloggers, (well, 19 Latina bloggers and this gringa), have joined up with L4LL for this event. From April 10th to April 30th a different Latino/a author/illustrator will be hosted on a different blog. (Click here for all the posts!) Today you can read René’s touching article right here on Latinaish.com and then see the details to enter the giveaway below.

Without further ado, I present, René Colato Laínez.

Rene_Colato_Lainez

Finding My Heroes

by René Colato Laínez

I learned to read and write in El Salvador. As a child, I loved to read the comic books of my heroes: El Chavo del ocho, El Chapulin Colorado, Mafalda, Cri Cri, and Topo Gigo. My favorite book was Don Quijote de La Mancha.

When I arrived to the United States, I tried to find these heroes in the school library or in my reading books, but I didn’t have any luck. I asked myself, are my heroes only important in Spanish? I knew that the children from Latin America knew about my heroes but the rest of the children and my teachers did not have any clue.

One day, I was writing about my super hero and my teacher asked me, who is this CHA-PO-WHAT? COLORADO and then, she suggested, “It would be better for you to write about Superman or Batman.” On another occasion, a teacher crossed out with her red pen all the instances of “Ratón Pérez” in my essay and told me, “A mouse collecting teeth! What a crazy idea! You need to write about the Tooth Fairy.”

I started to read and enjoy other books but I missed my heroes. In my senior year of high school, my English teacher said that our next reading book would be The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I will never forget that day when I was holding the book. It was written by a Latina writer and I could relate to everything that she was describing in the book. The House On Mango Street became my favorite book. I said to myself, “Yes, we are also important in English.”

I write multicultural children books because I want to tell all my readers that our Latino voices are important, too, and that they deserve to be heard all over the world.

My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hope for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.

My new book is Juguemos al Fútbol/ Let’s Play Football (Santillana USA). This is a summary of the book: Carlos is not sure that football can be played with an oval-shaped ball. Chris is not sure that it can be played with a round ball. It may not be a good idea to play with a kid who is so different… He doesn’t even know how to play this game! Wait. It looks kind of fun… Let’s give it a try! Enjoy and celebrate the coming together of two cultures through their favorite sports.

To conclude, I want to share this letter in English and Spanish. Everyone, let’s read!

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Dear readers:

When I was a child, my favorite place in the house was a corner where I always found a rocking chair. I rocked myself back and forth while I read a book. Soon the rocking chair became a magic flying carpet that took me to many different places. I met new friends. I lived great adventures. In many occasions, I was able to touch the stars. All the books I read transported me to the entire universe.

Books inspired me! I also wanted to write about the wonderful world that I visited in my readings. I started to write my own stories, poems and adventures in my diary. Every time I read and revised my stories, I found new adventures to tell about. Now, I write children’s books and it is an honor to share my books with children around the world.

I invite you to travel with me. Pick up a book and you will find wonders. Books are full of adventures, friends and fantastic places. Read and reach for the stars.

Saludos,
René Colato Laínez

En español:

Querido lectores,

Cuando era niño, el lugar favorito de mi casa era una esquina donde estaba una mecedora. Me mecía de adelante hacia atrás mientras leía un libro. Enseguida la mecedora se convertía en una alfombra mágica y volaba por el cielo. Conocía a nuevos amigos. Vivía nuevas aventuras. En muchas ocasiones, hasta llegaba a tocar las estrellas. Los libros que leía, me podían llevar a cualquier parte del universo.

¡Los libros me inspiraban tanto! Yo también quería escribir sobre ese mundo maravilloso que visitaba. Así que comencé a escribir mis cuentos, poemas y aventuras en un diario. Cada vez que releía y volvía a escribir un cuento, este se llenaba de nuevas grandes aventuras. Hoy en día escribo libros para niños y es un honor compartirlos con muchos niños alrededor del mundo.

Los invito a viajar conmigo. Tomen un libro y descubrirán maravillas. Los libros están llenos de aventuras, amigos, y lugares hermosos. Lean y toquen las estrellas.

Saludos,
René Colato Laínez

René Colato Laínez is a Salvadoran award-winning author of many multicultural children’s books, including Playing Lotería, The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, From North to South, René Has Two Last Names and My Shoes and I. He is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults. René lives in Los Angeles and  he is a teacher in an elementary school, where he is known as “the teacher full of stories.” Visit him at renecolatolainez.com.

The Giveaway

L4LL has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles here on the L4LL website.

To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th, 2013. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, and will be contacted via email – so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we’ll have to choose someone else!)

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

Cinco de Mayo Means Bring on the Stereotypes

For the most part I’m not the kind of person to be easily offended by stereotypes. Life is too short and there are way too many ways to be offended by things that aren’t politically correct. It’s difficult to say why one thing doesn’t bother me, but something else gets under my skin.

For example, the whole Mexican Barbie thing? If I were a little girl, I’d love to have that Barbie, and if I had a daughter, I’d buy it for her. I think it’s awesome that she has a passport, and all the dolls in the collection do. Her dark wavy hair is so pretty and being a brunette myself, I always favored dark-haired Barbies over the blondes. The ballet folklorico dress is nice although it could be more detailed, and the Chihuahua, well, I think that may have been a lazy decision, (isn’t the Xoloitzcuintli the national dog of Mexico?) – but all that being said, I’m not offended by the doll.

Really, my only major problem with Mattel’s Dolls of the World collection, (besides my usual complaints about Barbies contributing to unrealistic body ideals), is that they stuck with many of the same countries that are already represented in these types of toy lines. When will we teach kids about lesser known countries? Ask any kid in the United States to name a country that speaks Spanish and you’re almost guaranteed they’ll say “Mexico.” … In other words, when will we see a Salvadoran Barbie? (Or Honduran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Panamanian… you get the idea.)

Image source: LShave

Image source: LShave

If Mattel needs help designing the Salvadoran Barbie, I’m available. Imagine the colorful dress, the leather chancletas, maybe a cántaro or a bouquet of Flor de Izote. You could have a cachiporra version with a bastón, and a vendedora version in a delantal that comes with a comal full of pupusas. How about a Salvadoran version of the Ken doll? He could wear traditional dress with a scapular and a cowboy hat – he could carry a capirucho or maybe a modern version sporting una camiseta de La Selecta and holding a Pilsener. (Okay, maybe not.)

Speaking of beer, Cinco de Mayo is fast upon us which means every Mexican beer, tortilla chip, and salsa company is gearing up to bring in the pesos. Here is a display for Corona which I spotted at a Wal-Mart.

corona1

corona2

As I was saying, for the most part I’m not the kind of person to be easily offended by stereotypes, (they’re somewhat necessary to understanding the world we live in), and this doesn’t really offend me as much as it makes me roll my eyes. However, this stereotype of Mexicans – sombrero, sarape or poncho, and burro, (although I guess Corona decided to get “creative” and use a horse?) is getting a little old, isn’t it? Besides, they totally forgot the big mustache and the cactus for nap time after the fiesta is over.

10 Vídeos Inspiradores

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

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Ya saben que me encanta buscar vídeos interesantes y divertidos en YouTube, pero aquí hay unos vídeos que encontré recientemente que me inspiran y quiero compartir los con ustedes. Hay algo para todos. Disfruten!

You guys already know that I love finding interesting and amusing videos on YouTube, but here are some videos I found recently that inspire me and that I want to share with you. There’s something for everyone. Enjoy!

#1. Este video se llama “Neymar humillado por peruano” pero no creo que fue humillado Neymar. Es sólo diversión amigable, y “el peruano” es muy talentoso.

This video is called “Neymar humiliated by a Peruvian” but I don’t think he was humiliated. It’s all in good fun, and “the Peruvian” is very talented.

#2. “A Shop in El Salvador Feb. 2013″ – Qué lindo el sonido de estas flautas, tocadas por un tendero en El Salvador.

How beautiful the sound of these flutes, played by a shopkeeper in El Salvador.

#3. “El tortillero de San Marcos, El Salvador” – Me encanta esta video de un tortillero en El Salvador. (¡Sí! Un hombre que puede hacer tortillas – su historia es muy interesante.)

I love this video of a male tortilla maker in El Salvador. (Yes! A man who can make tortillas – his story is really interesting.)

#4. “The Two Sides of Playa El Tunco, El Salvador” – Este video muestra los dos lados de la Playa El Tunco – la vida de turistas que disfrutan de la playa y la vida de la gente humilde que vive allá.

This video shows the two sides of Playa El Tunco – the lives of tourists who enjoy the beach and the the lives of the humble people who live there.

#5. “Calle 13 – La Vuelta al Mundo” – Super linda canción, linda letra, lindo vídeo y lindo el mensaje. Me encanta Calle 13.

Super nice song, nice lyrics, nice video, nice message. I love Calle 13.

#6. “Niña de 6 años cocinando – Ana Victoria” – Me encanta que puede cocinar este niñita y que está practicando su español con su mami. (Gracias a Trisha Ruth por compartir el vídeo conmigo.)

I love that this little girl can cook and is practicing her Spanish with her mother. (Thanks to Trisha Ruth for sharing this video with me.)

#7. “Lazaro Arbos Auditions – American Idol Season 12″ – Este muchacho se llama Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro es un inmigrante Cubano y a pesar de que tiene un tartamudeo, no afecta su capacidad de cantar en American Idol.

This young man is named Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro is a Cuban immigrant and despite having a stutter, it does not affect his ability to sing on American Idol.

#8. “Corto Niños Vallenatos” – ¡Talentosos esos niños que tocan música en Colombia!

These kids who play music in Colombia are so talented!

#9. “El Cajero de la felicidad” – A veces las empresas grandes pueden tener un gran impacto en una forma significativa.

Sometimes big companies can make a big impact in a meaningful way.

#10. “Cumpleaños de una habitante de la calle en el centro de Bogotá” – La señora vive en la calle, pero no importa – es su cumpleaños y un joven insiste que lo celebre.

The woman lives on the street, but it doesn’t matter – it’s her birthday and a young man insists that she celebrates.

¿Cuál vídeo te gusto más? Por qué? … Which video did you like most? Why?

Pescado, Cerveza e Invitados Inesperados

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

fishandbeer

Es domingo, casi a la hora de cenar, y todavia no me habia bañado. Carlos tampoco se habia bañado porque pasamos todo el día haciendo trabajo de jardinería. Estabamos sucios y sudorosos. Usé la ropa más fea y manchada que poseo, mi pelo era un desastre. Quitamos la ropa, Carlos y yo, listos por bañarnos por fin cuando escuchamos un carro parando afuera de nuestra casa. Voces hablan en español fuera de la puerta y luego, el timbre.

“¿Quién es?” pregunté a Carlos. No estamos esperando visitantes.

Carlos mira a escondidas por la ventana.

“Es Mando y Naji con los niños.”

Mando y Naji son nuestros amigos, una pareja mexicana, pero no somos tan, tan amigos que podemos visitar uno al otro sin invitación, o por lo menos, sin aviso. (Ni me visita mi madre sin hablarme por teléfono primero!) Como gringa, esta costumbre es una de la cultura latina que todavia no me gusta y de que no estoy acostumbrada.

Carlos se pusó su ropa de nuevo y fue a recibir a nuestros invitados inesperados, pero yo no! Me metí en la ducha y después empecé a vestirme lo más rápido posible. Puse ropa limpia, pero nada super fino, sólo eran jeans y una camiseta. Yo me recogí el pelo mojado y sólo puse un poco de maquillaje. “Es suficiente,” dije a mi reflejo en el espejo antes de salir de mi cuarto.

En la sala, Mando y Naji estaban sentados en el sofa y cuando les saludó, (Mando con un apretón de manos y Naji con un beso y un abrazo), lo único que podía pensar era ¡Qué guapos están! Los dos estaban vestidos en ropa fina y se veían tan elegantes que pregunté si acaban de salir de misa.

“¿No?” él respondió, perplejo. “¿Por qué?”

“Oh,” dijé yo, “Es que, ustedes se ven muy bonitos.”

Mando se sonrojó, pero no ofreció ninguna razón por la ropa de lujo.

“Nos trajerón pescado y cerveza,” Carlos me dijo, cambiando el tema. Esta visita está poniendo aún más extraña, pensé yo, pero allí estaba en la cocina, una bolsa llena de pescados ensangrentados con escamas, colas, cabezas y ojos. Cercano, unas botellas de Negra Modelo.

Por un tiempo, nos sentamos y hablamos. Yo disfruté mucho jugando con su bebé bien lindo con sus ojitos “chinos” y su sonrisa desdentada, pero cuando el tiempo de la cena llegó, no dio señales de salida. Al contrario, Mando abrió otra cerveza y Naji quitó sus tacones.

Con ansiedad, me di cuenta de que querían quedarse a cenar y todavia yo no había comprado la comida para la semana. Fui a la cocina a hacer un inventario, rezando que hay suficiente comida por hacer una cena bonita. De nuevo, miré la bolsa de pescado.

“Carlos,” le susurré, “Ellos no están esperando que voy a preparar los pescados por la cena, verdad?”

Gracias a Dios, Carlos me dijo que no – que no eran más que un regalo.

Al final encontré todo que necesitaba por hacer albóndigas salvadoreñas en salsa con arroz, yuca frita, curtido y tortillas. Naji insistió en ayudarme a cocinar – especificamente, ella quería hacer salsa mexicana por las albóndigas.

“Puedes hacer la salsa,” dije yo, “Pero son albóndigas salvadoreñas. No sé si saben bien juntas.”

Naji me observó hacer las albóndigas.

“Las hace diferentes que las albóndigas mexicanas. Yo pongo un huevo duro adentro de cada una,” dijo Naji.

“Qué rico,” dije, “Pero las albóndigas salvadoreñas no traen huevo adentro.”

“Bueno, de todos modos” dijo Naji a su manera amable pero terca, “Quiero hacer la salsa.”

“Está bien,” encogí mis hombros. “Vamos a comer albóndigas salvadoreñas con salsa mexicana, pues.”

Trabajamos juntos en la cocina, Naji y yo – una cosa difícil para unas mujeres.

“Te ayudo con las tortillas,” me dijo cuando terminé de hacer la masa.

“Okay,” dije, “gracias.”

“¿Dónde está la prensa?” me dijo.

“¿Qué es? No conozco esa palabra.”

Naji imitó el acto de presionar una tortilla plana en una prensa para tortillas.

“Oh! … No tengo,” dije, palmeando la masa entre mis manos.

“¿Entonces?”

“Así.” Me golpeó una tortilla gruesa en el comal.

“Para mi esto no es tortilla, es gordita.”

“En El Salvador, es tortilla,” dije.

Ahora era Naji que encogia sus hombros. Ella tomó un puñado de masa y comenzó a copiarme, deteniéndose de vez en cuando para preguntar si era correcto. Ella golpeó una tortilla gruesa en el comal, luego sonrió y negó con la cabeza.

“Guau, estoy aprendiendo hacer tortillas salvadoreñas.”

“Es aún más extraño,” dije, “estás aprendiendo hacer tortillas salvadoreñas de una gringa!”

A las nueve de la noche, todos finalmente se sentaron a cenar, todos alrededor de la mesa – Mando y Naji y sus dos hijos, Carlos y yo y nuestros dos hijos, una familia extraña pero feliz.

Barrigas llenas, platos raspados limpios después de porciones segundas y terceras, era el momento de decir “adiós”. Cuando se despidierón y cerramos la puerta, me di cuenta de que a pesar de que no me gustan las visitas de sorpresa, había sido una noche de diversión.

Ah, y si te lo estás preguntando, albóndigas salvadoreñas son deliciosas en salsa mexicana.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

FISH, BEER AND UNEXPECTED GUESTS

It’s Sunday, almost dinnertime, and I still had not bathed. Carlos also had not bathed because we spent all day doing yard work. We were dirty and sweaty. I wore the ugliest and most stained clothes I own, my hair was a mess. We removed the clothes, Carlos and I, finally ready to shower when we heard a car stopping outside our house. Voices speak Spanish outside the door and then the doorbell sounds.

“Who is it?” I ask Carlos. We are not expecting visitors.

Carlos peeks out the window.

“Mando and Naji with their kids.”

Mando and Naji are our friends, a Mexican couple, but we aren’t so close that we can visit one another without invitation, or at least, without prior notice. (Not even my mother visits me without phoning first!) As a gringa, this custom is one part of Latin culture that I still do not like and I’m not used to.

Carlos puts his clothes back on and goes out to greet our unexpected guests, but not me! I got into the shower and started to get ready as quickly as possible. I put on clean clothes, but nothing super nice – just jeans and a T-shirt. I pulled back my wet hair and put on just a little makeup. “Good enough,” I said to my reflection in the mirror before leaving my room.

In the living room, Naji and Mando sat on the couch and when I greeted them (Mando with a handshake and Naji with a kiss and a hug), all I could think was, They look so nice! Both were dressed in fancy clothes and looked so elegant that I asked if they had just come from mass.

“No?” Mando said, puzzled. “Why?”

“Oh,” I said, “It’s that you both look so handsome.”

Mando blushed, but offered no reason for the fancy threads.

“They brought us fish and beer,” Carlos said, changing the subject. This visit is getting even stranger, I thought, but there it was in the kitchen, a bag full of bloody fish with scales, tails, heads and eyes. Nearby, a few bottles of Negra Modelo.

For a while, we sat and talked. I enjoyed playing with their cute baby with his little almond-shaped eyes and his toothless smile, but when dinner time came, they made no move to depart. On the contrary, Mando opened another beer and Naji took off her heels.

Anxiously, I realized they wanted to stay for dinner and I hadn’t even bought the groceries for the week. I went to the kitchen to take inventory, praying that there was enough food to make a nice dinner. I looked at the bag of fish again.

“Carlos,” I whispered, “They’re not expecting that I prepare the fish for dinner, are they?”

Thankfully, Carlos told me no – that the fish were nothing more than a gift.

In the end I found everything I needed to make Salvadoran meatballs in salsa with rice, fried yucca, curtido and tortillas. Naji insisted on helping me cook – specifically, she wanted to make the salsa for the meatballs.

“You can make the salsa,” I said, “But they’re Salvadoran meatballs. I don’t know if they’ll go well together.”

Naji watched me make the meatballs.

“You make them different than Mexican meatballs. I put a hard boiled egg in each one,” said Naji.

“Sounds good,” I said, “But Salvadoran meatballs don’t have an egg inside.”

“Well, anyway,” said Naji in her kind but stubborn way, “I want to make the salsa.”

“Okay,” I shrugged my shoulders. “We’ll eat Salvadoran meatballs with Mexican salsa, then.”

We worked together in the kitchen, Naji and I – a difficult thing for some women.

“I’ll help with the tortillas,” she said when I finished making the dough.

“Okay,” I said, “Thanks.”

“Where is the prensa?” she said.

“What’s that? I don’t know that word.”

Naji imitated the act of pressing a tortilla flat in a tortilla press.

“Oh … I don’t have one,” I said, patting the dough in my hands.

“So, what now?”

“Like this,” I smacked a thick tortilla on the griddle.

“To me that is not a tortilla, that’s called a gordita.”

“In El Salvador, it’s a tortilla,” I said.

Now it was Naji who shrugged her shoulders. She took a handful of dough and began to copy me, stopping occasionally to ask if it was right. She slapped a thick tortilla onto the griddle, then smiled and shook her head.

“Wow, I’m learning to make Salvadoran tortillas.”

“It’s even stranger than that,” I said, “You’re learning to make Salvadoran tortillas from a gringa!”

At nine in the evening, everyone finally sat down to dinner, all around the table – Mando and Naji and their two sons, Carlos and I and our two boys – a strange but happy family.

Bellies full, plates scraped clean after second and third helpings, it was time to say “goodbye.” When they left and we closed the door behind them, I realized that even though I don’t like surprise visits, it had been a fun night.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Salvadoran meatballs are delicious with Mexican salsa.

Related Posts:

Amigos, fútbol, tamales y agua de uva

Mexican Salsa Roja

Bubu Lubu

Salvadoran Albóndigas

Conversation Hearts en español! (Giveaway!)

ConversationHearts_Latinaish

Over the weekend I shared on Facebook that I discovered these Spanish-language Conversation Hearts at Target and I asked if I should give away a bag here on Latinaish. As expected, the answer was an overwhelming “¡Claro que sí!” so here is your chance to win a bag of Spanish candy hearts for Valentine’s Day! See the rules (below) for how to enter.

(Random fact: The brand name is Brach’s, a company started by a German immigrant in the United States but the package says these particular candies were made in Argentina. Interesting!)

conversationhearts_latinaish_2

—GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATS TO: JEN E!—

GIVEAWAY RULES

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a 1 lb. bag of Brach’s Spanish Sayings Conversation Hearts in Classic Flavors.

Approximate value: $2.50

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment below telling me what Spanish word or short phrase you would want on the candy heart someone gives to you, or what you would put on the one to give to your valentine. (Please read official rules below.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will not be shared with any third parties. This prize was purchased by Latinaish.com and will be shipped by Latinaish.com. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 4th, 2013 through February 7th, 2013. Entries received after February 7th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. I will try to have the prize shipped so it arrives before Valentine’s Day but I do not make any guarantees that it will arrive on time. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte!

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Brach’s was not contacted by Latinaish.com and Brach’s does not necessarily endorse Latinaish.com. All opinions are my own.

Películas Clasicas Mexicanas

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

¿Te gustan las películas clasicas mexicanas? Aquí están algunas de mis escenas favoritas. ¿Cuáles son tus favoritas?

Do you like classic Mexican movies? Here are some of my favorite scenes. Which are your favorites?

Poker de Reinas – Corazón de Melón

Pedro Infante – Escuela de Vagabundos – Cucurrucucú Paloma

Pedro Infante – Carta a Eufemia

A Toda Máquina – Gringuita – Pedro Infante y Luis Aguilar

Los Tres Garcias – Pedro Infante

Los Tres Garcias – Pedro Infante, Abel Salazar, Víctor Manuel Mendoza, Sara García & Marga López

Jorge Negrete – Huapango Ranchero

Cantinflas – Por Mis Pistolas

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

yaqui

Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez doesn’t sit at the “Latino lunch table” in her new school’s cafeteria. With her light skin, good grades, and lack of an accent, the girls at the “Latino” table don’t consider her Latina enough. To make things worse, her body has apparently begun to develop and boys are taking notice. Piddy is accused of “shaking her stuff” when she walks, and Yaqui Delgado, a girl with a reputation and a criminal record, lets it be known that she, along with her gang of friends, are going to kick Piddy’s ass.

If this were Piddy’s only problem, life would be difficult enough, but Piddy is dealing with a lot more than that; a father she’s never met, her best friend moving away, juggling a part-time job with her mother’s impossible expectations – all while trying to figure out that inevitable coming-of-age question, “Who am I?”

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina is a YA (Young Adult) novel that took me, (as a 30-something year old), right back to the insecure days of the high school hallway. I read this book in one sitting and loved it – If I had a teenage daughter, I would be putting it into her hands right now. (I have a teenage son and I’ll try to convince him to read it, but it seems boys never want to read books with a female protagonist.)

Piddy’s voice feels authentic; her situation and the challenges she faces are ones a lot of teenage girls, (Latina and otherwise), are going to relate to. The diverse cast of characters are equally complex and real. These are the kinds of Latino/a characters we need more of, in YA literature especially.

One word of caution – Piddy is 15 years old, going on 16. There are some mature themes and I would recommend this book for girls no younger than 13 years old.

Want to read this book? Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina comes out March 2013 – Until then, you can enter the giveaway below!

—THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO “SQUEEZE”—

THE GIVEAWAY

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina.

Approximate value: $11.00

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment below telling me why you want to read this book, or why you want to win it for someone else. (Please read official rules below.)

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Buena suerte!

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. I received an advance reading copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.