cover image Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

Lulu Delacre. Harper, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-239214-5

In this timely collection of 12 stories, Delacre (Alicia Afterimage) offers an inside look at being a Latino today in the United States. Rendered in straightforward prose, the stories focus on tweens and young adolescents from a variety of cultures, including Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. The collection goes beyond expected subjects like the Dream Act and deportation to less talked-about ones: fair-haired, fair-skinned Vicky feels ostracized from her own culture; 13-year-old Marla battles back against her family’s tendency towards diabetes; and Luci finally stands up to a lifetime of bullying by her older sister. Back matter includes translations of the Spanish words, phrases, and refranes (Spanish sayings) that appear throughout, as well as notes on the source material and inspirations for each story. While these tales offer a broad range of perspectives, the storylines often chart predictable courses, and the characters aren’t always distinctive as individuals. The book’s most compelling element may be Delacre’s accompanying artwork, evocative mixed-media portraits of the protagonists that look like they could step off the page. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)