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Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States edited by Lori M. Carlson

Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States is a collection of poems selected and chosen by Lori M. Carlson. Her collection of poems focuses on the different aspects of growing up as a Latino immigrant. The poems focus on everything from normal growing up challenges, to bullying, to poverty, to beautiful traditions of the Latino culture.

I loved how many of the books featured the Spanish language and musicality of the beautiful language and cultures present within the Latino community. Many of the poems were featured in this collection in both their English and Spanish versions. Also, many of the poems utilized Spanish vocabulary throughout the English versions of their poems.

There are several challenges with this collection of poetry. My first concern is that this book is advertised currently as a children’s book. I would not agree with this classification. This book does focus on the theme of growing up, but it is definitely written for a more adult audience. There is a lot of mature language and themes in this text.

As a teacher, I would not put this book in my elementary classroom library. My total reasoning for that decision is the language is just not appropriate for elementary kids. This book needs to be in a high school or adult library. My rule as a teacher is that I do not put a book in my classroom library if it has language that I would not allow my students to utilize. This book fits that idea. It has inappropriate language and themes for younger readers.

The second challenge of this collection of poems is that the text complexity within this text is very difficult. For students that are younger, they are going to struggle with all the Spanish terminology, especially if they have zero experience with the Spanish language. The book is a bilingual collection of poems. For many students, that bilingual aspect with makes the readability of this text too hard.

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