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October 22, 2014

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Pick of the Day: Latino Americans | DVD

Latino Americans Pick of the Day: Latino Americans | DVDLatino Americans. 2 DVD set. 360 min. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2013. $34.99. ISBN 9781608839735.
Gr 8 Up–The first major documentary series to chronicle the multifaceted history and experiences of Latinos in the United States, this comprehensive six-hour presentation gives an extensive overview of the role Latinos have played in our country. It reveals the bittersweet relationships the largest minority group (at 50 million) has had in the States, from the precolonial 1500s to the present day. Aiming to dispel stereotypes and to reveal the struggles of this diverse, multinational group, testimonies and reenactments by and about little-known figures are interspersed with segments and interviews featuring well-known icons, such as Rita Moreno, Gloria Estefan, Cesar Chavez, and Sonia Sotomayor. The “English-only” push, the issue of border security, and anti-immigrant initiatives are given critical attention as is discussion of the cycle of immigration, cheap labor, and backlash. Benjamin Bratt’s stirring narration will draw viewers in, though their attention may lag in the work’s middle portions. Cuban-born, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Adriana Bosch, who previously produced the more accessible and entertaining documentary Latin Music USA, has brought together a talented group of collaborators to create this stellar film. The DVD features descriptive video for the visually impaired, a Spanish audio track, and subtitles in Spanish and English. Useful for social studies classes interested in studying alternate points of view in American history, each program can be viewed as a supplement for corresponding time periods. An excellent resource for Hispanic Heritage Month.–Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

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