El Barrio by Debbi Chocolate and illustrated by David Diaz
I wish I had this book in my hands when I was reviewing the extraordinary Broadway Musical In The Heights a couple of weeks ago. This book basically describes what the musical In The Heights is describing when they sing, talk, and describe In The Heights, the latino barrio in New York City. Barrio is a spanish word for neighborhood and Debbi Chocolate invites us to join a young boy as he explores his colorful, full of life neighborhoood. I did feel like I was walking with this boy through the Barrio as he describes the rhythms of the streets, filled with music and happy beats. The sparkling graffitti is a natural background for a Barrio and the author does such a fine job appreciating them. Have you heard of the latino tradition to celebrate when a girls turns 15 years old? Yes, it is called a Quinceañera and it's one of the most important moments in a girls' life. Part of this Quinceañera celebrations is wearing an amazing dress, sharing this day with the closest and most beloved people in your life. This is one of those books that provides so much background for a person that would like to understand more about our culture, and it also provides such a strong connection with a person that knows the delights of what a Barrio brings.
The language is so exquisite, here is a preview to prove my point:
cold hydrant spray
bodegas that never sleeps
lemon-yellow fire escape
Isn't this captivating language? Hope you are all convinced! I Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did since this is definitely a quality piece of work. And please, when you get a chance, stop by Diversity Rocks because the invitation to read quality diverse literature is impossible to resist!