Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 8-11. Carlson follows up Cool Salsa (1994) with another bilingual collection of poems that appear in both Spanish and English. Included are many well-known writers, such as Gary Soto and Luis J. Rodriguez, who appeared in the first volume, as well as emerging poets. Divided into loose categories--language, identity, neighborhoods, amor, family moments, victory --the poems often speak about the complex challenges of being bicultural: I'm a grafted flower that didn't / take, a Mexican without being one, / an American without feeling like one, writes Raquel Valle Senties. Among the new writers are a few high-school students, and teens of all backgrounds will easily relate to the young authors' fury over stereotypes: I'm surrounded by a society that expects nothing of me / other than to become a regular, tired housewife, writes student Ivette Alvarez. Most poems are translated by the poets themselves, and many are written in an inventive blend of languages, which English speakers will easily follow with help from the appended glossary. Powerful and immediate, these are voices students and teachers will want to share. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2005 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Describing his unlikely path to becoming a writer, Oscar Hijuelos introduces the more than three dozen poems in the handsomely packaged paper-over-board Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States, edited by Lori Marie Carlson. In Spanish, Gary Soto offers a humorous take on the role the language plays, while Luis S. Rodriguez poses a call to action in Piece by Piece. Each poem appears completely in English and in Spanish, and a closing glossary defines the terms. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
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Gr 8 Up-As she did in Cool Salsa (Holt, 1994), Carlson assembles another impressive forum of poetic voices. In Spanish and English, the poets speak eloquently of themselves, how and where they live, their families, and their dreams for the future. Many of them are quite well known and a number were included in the earlier book: Gary Soto, Gina Valdes, Martin Espada, and Luis J. Rodriguez, among others. In this volume, Carlson has added a few poems by students in the New York City public school system: they, too, are excellent and thought-provoking. Ivette clvarez, for example, issues a passionate plea in "Invisible Boundaries" to "go beyond the stereotypes that/lock us down and judge us." Other poems will delight readers with their delicate play of language, as in Jos? Antonio Burciaga's "Bilingual Love Poem/Poema de amor bilingue," or in Tato Laviera's "My Graduation Speech," which conveys a sardonic frustration through its comic mix of languages. By turns humorous and poignant, nostalgic and immediate, these poems represent a diversity of experiences, underpinned by emotions that anyone can recognize. Once again, Oscar Hijuelos's personable, highly readable introduction sets the tone. Carlson has crafted an accessible gem of a collection, and teen readers of all backgrounds will find echoes of their own experiences in its pages.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.