Latina Girls Dreaming - The New York Times

LATINITAS Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers By Juliet Menéndez As a second-generation Dominican child growing up in Harlem, I was steeped in ...

Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers
By Juliet Menéndez

As a second-generation Dominican child growing up in Harlem, I was steeped in my culture at home. From mangu to merengue, my family made sure I never forgot my roots. But once I ventured out, everything was American, including my heroines. I learned about Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Marian Anderson, Madam C.J. Walker and many other Black women who were trailblazers. Few were Black Latinas. I often wondered about the Rosa Parks of the Dominican Republic, the Marian Anderson of Brazil.

“Latinitas,” by Juliet Menéndez, attempts to fill those gaps by finding, celebrating and educating readers about women such as the Bolivian Juana Azurduy de Padilla, who became the voice of oppressed silver miners in a war for independence from Spanish rule, and the Dominican Solange Pierre, who sued her government to gain basic human rights for Dominico-Haitians.

In easily digestible vignettes, Menéndez — a Guatemalan-American illustrator who worked as a bilingual art teacher in East Harlem — brings to life 40 Latinas from all over Latin America and the United States, from the 1650s to the present.

What will pull young people in is that Menéndez depicts these women as children (Latinitas), both visually and anecdotally. Readers get to imagine the Puerto Rican astrophysicist Wanda Díaz-Merced in her pajamas, sailing through the stars with her sister in an imaginary spaceship, “holding tight to their bedposts”; the Chilean novelist Isabel Allende chasing ghosts her grandmother summoned during séances; the Brazilian artist Maria Auxiliadora da Silva drawing on a wall with coal from the kitchen stove while the food she was supposed to be watching for her mother “burned to a crisp”; the Argentine architect Susana Torre and her cousin building homes for birds out of twigs and mud.

What will keep these readers engaged is how their soon-to-be heroines bloom into their future selves on the page. The Uruguayan poet Juana de Ibarbourou, who as a child collects caterpillars and ladybugs in jars, writes her first sonnet at 14 and by 17 has enough poems to publish a book. The Salvadoran topographical engineer Antonia Navarro defies her brothers’ teachers, who tell her, “Girls aren’t smart enough to do math,” to become the first woman in all of Central America to graduate from university. The Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who as a little girl sleeps with ballet shoes under her pillow, runs away at 15 to New York and, while battling vision problems in her early 20s, becomes an overnight sensation as a last-minute replacement in the role of Giselle.

In refreshing contrast to the prevalent whitewashing of Latina pioneers and innovators, Menéndez bathes these figures in a range of sun-tinged terra-cotta hues. Most striking to me is her illustration of the Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla. While Selena was portrayed in a Netflix series by an actress with lighter skin than she had, in the book she appears more like the Selena fans remember. Young girls who can’t find themselves in the mainstream will appreciate the multitude of shades with which Menéndez paints Latinas.

At the end of the book there is a sort of lightning round where Menéndez briefly lists the contributions of a handful of additional Latinas, such as Sylvia Mendez, the first Latina child to desegregate an all-white U.S. school, and Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut to go into space. I hope to learn more about these women, perhaps in a sequel.

Sandra E. Garcia is a Styles reporter for The Times and a co-author of “Finish the Fight! The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote.”

Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers
By Juliet Menéndez
120 pp. Godwin Books/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. $18.99.
(Ages 8 to 12)

Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.

Source link



Africa,776,Americas,4046,Art & Culture,14502,Arts,6385,Arts & Design,1571,Asia,3165,Automobile,444,Baseball,551,Basketball,449,Books,3777,Business,5220,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,1442,Dance,629,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1060,Editorial,260,Education,1158,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3039,Entertainment,22371,Environment,3520,Europe,4113,Faith & Religion,235,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3141,Finance,19450,Food & Drink,3630,Football,1064,Games,97,Gossip,10289,Health & Fitness,3969,Health Care,921,Hockey,211,Home & Garden,920,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,16608,Media,527,Middle East,1446,Movies,1614,Music,2537,Opinion,2827,Other,11601,Other Sports,4922,Political News,11324,Political Protests,2324,Politics,17531,Real Estate,1742,Relationship,75,Retail,3116,Science,2529,Science & Tech,9687,Soccer,195,Space & Cosmos,314,Sports,11822,Technology,3324,Tennis,537,Theater,1610,Transportation,313,Travel,2485,TV,3579,US,10,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,998,World,15951,
Newsrust - US Top News: Latina Girls Dreaming - The New York Times
Latina Girls Dreaming - The New York Times
Newsrust - US Top News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content