Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes

Juan Felipe Herrera, illus. by Ra%C3%BAl Col%C3%B3n. . Dial, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3809-6
California Poet Laureate Herrera (The Upside Down Boy) profiles 19 famous Hispanic-Americans in this collection of short biographies. Each entry opens with a light-infused mixed-media portrait by Colón (Abuelo), followed by nearly three pages highlighting the person's life and career. The vignettes don't overwhelm with dates and places, instead providing interesting snippets about the scientists, entertainers, civil rights workers, doctors, artists, politicians, educators, and judges. Readers learn, for example, that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor "read every Nancy Drew novel she could get her hands on" when growing up, and that Civil War naval commander David Farragut's ("Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!") father hailed from Spain. Two final spreads break from the pattern of biographies, with one focusing on Hero Street in small Silvis, Ill., home to numerous war veterans of Mexican-American heritage. The last spread pays tribute to Victoria Leigh Soto, a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with a poem: "your heart was strong/ To learn, to explore.../ A leader with heart, for all occasions." Source notes, a bibliography, and recommended reading conclude this retrospective look at some of the Latinos and Latinas who helped shape the United States. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 08/07/2014
Genre: Children's
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