Title: My Name is Celia/ Me Llamo Celia
Author: Monica Brown
Illustrator: Rafael Lopez
Publisher: Luna Rising
Number of Pages: 28
Pub. Date: 2004
Summary: This book is all about the ‘queen of salsa,’ Celia Cruz. The book is written in both Spanish and English with some musical sayings like ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ where appropriate. It has two intro pages that tell about her personality and her strong voice, then it starts her personal story. She was born in Cuba and was very close to her family. She would always cook with her mother and sing with her father. Her papa wanted her to be a school teacher so she studied many subjects, but music was always her favorite. Her and her brother would travel far so they could sign in competitions, even though she faced many challenges because of the color of her skin. She left Cuba during the revolution and went to Mexico, then to the U.S. where she found her new home in New York. She created a new kind of music, the salsa, which grew and grew and now lives on all across the world.
Critique: This biography is a fictional portrait of Celia Cruz. It is written from her perspective, but the author isn’t her. The facts about her are true and researched, but there aren’t primary sources for the actual conversations. There is a note about her and many fact about her life at the end of the story with an actual picture of her. There aren’t any sources of where this information came from, but the writing is engaging, colorful and interesting!
Response: I loved how the author really brought out Celia’s extravagant personality in this book. You can almost feel the energy she had through the use of sound words, colorful illustrations and enthusiastic writing. Celia Cruz sounds like an amazing and talented individual and I would love to hear some of her music!
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