Once Upon a Cuento

I just finished reading Once Upon a Cuento: Latina/o Stories for Young Adults(Curbstone Press). It’s a terrific collection of stories about kids caught between cultures. There’s Tuyi, in Sergio Troncoso’s “The Snake” who wants to blend in but can’t because he’s brown-skinned,overweight and good at math and science. There’s Berta, in Luna Calerdon’s “Armpits, Hair, and Other Marks of Beauty,” whose family keeps moving between her native Venezuela and Detroit. And then there’s the girl in Malin Alegria Ramirez’s story “Leti’s Shoe Escandalo” who’ll put up with all sorts of shit (literally) just so she can buy a pair of Nikes and be as cool as the light-skinned Latinas in her class. This book has been designed for use in classrooms and each story starts out with an introduction to put it in context. It was helpful for me, too, ’cause, hey, I don’t remember that much about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Several of these stories appeared in collections of stories for adults. I loved this book and I look forward to sharing with my kids when they’re a little older.

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