Me llamo Celia/My Name is Celia: La vida de Celia Cruz/The Life of Celia Cruz by Monica Brown

Summary: Grade 2-4 - An exuberant picture-book biography of the Cuban-born salsa singer. From its rhythmic opening, the first-person narrative dances readers through Cruz's youth in Havana, a childhood bounded by scents of nature and home, the sweet taste of sugar, and the sound of music. A singer from an early age, Cruz sang so continually that one of her teachers finally urged her to share her voice with the world. Thus encouraged, she entered competitions, undeterred when her racial heritage prevented her from competing - undeterred, even, when the advent of Castro's communist regime forced her to leave Cuba as a refugee. Positive even in exile, Cruz made New York City her own and took Miami by storm. The salsa-influenced prose presented in English and in Spanish is followed by a straightforward vita of the singer, noting her death in July 2003. Lopez's distinguished, luminous acrylic paintings are alive with motion, lush with brilliantly layered colors, and informed with verve and symbolism. This is a brilliant introduction to a significant woman and her music. The only enhancement required is the music itself. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Parallel Texts: When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan matches the content of this picture book biography. Both stories tell of singers that battled society forces, whether they be racism or regimes, in order to share their gift of music with the world. These stories are especially important in the classroom due to the diminished time celebrating and exploring the music arts.

Other texts that celebrate the music arts include...
John Coltrane's Giant Steps

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuoso
Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Caldecott Honor Book)
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop


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