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  • May 2011
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¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! (For you non-Spanish speakers, that’s “Happy 5th of May!”)

Why am I wishing you a Happy 5th of May? Good question.  A lot of people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but they’re wrong – that honor is reserved for the 16th of September.  Cinco de Mayo is, according to the Gale World History in Context Database, the anniversary of the 1862 Battle and Siege of Puebla.  It’s a pretty big deal since this battle, which Mexican army won despite being outnumbered by French forces, delayed France’s victory over Mexico for about a year.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a day during which Americans celebrate the experiences and culture of people with Mexican ancestry – lots of people celebrate it, not just Mexican-Americans.  So, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, may I recommend a book that will help educate you about Mexican culture and experiences?

(Oh, yeah: Cinco de Mayo also happens to be my birthday.  But you don’t need to celebrate that unless you  really want to.)

Alegria, Malin. Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico.

When Southern California high school senior Sofi Mendoza lies to her parents and crosses the border for a weekend party, she has no idea that she will get stuck in a Mexican village with family she has never met before, unable to return to the United States and the easy life she knew.

Jaramillo, Ann. La Linea.

When fifteen-year-old Miguel’s time finally comes to leave his poor Mexican village, cross the border illegally, and join his parents in California, his younger sister’s determination to join him soon imperils them both.

Jiminez, Francisco. Breaking Through.

Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education.

Lasky, Kathryn. Blood Secret.

Fourteen-year-old Jerry Luna, mute since her mother’s disappearance, is sent to her great-great aunt Constanza’s house, where she discovers a trunk that draws her into the world of her ancestors during the Spanish Inquisition.

Resau, Laura. Red Glass.

Sixteen-year-old Sophie has been frail and delicate since her premature birth, but discovers her true strength during a journey through Mexico, where the six-year-old orphan her family hopes to adopt was born, and to Guatemala, where her would-be boyfriend hopes to find his mother.


CLP – Lawrenceville

One Response

  1. Another great book to learn more about Mexican culture is Gustavo Arellano’s Ask a Mexican, written in a lively conversational format.

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