Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla

Dial. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593110959.
K-Gr 4–Young Selena Quintanilla (1971–95), a groundbreaking Mexican American singer from Texas, “turned everything into a microphone: spoons, crayons, toothbrushes.” When she was nine, her family formed a band, Selena y Los Dinos, and performed at their restaurant. When the family lost their house and business due to the recession of the early 1980s, they moved to Corpus Christi to live with relatives. They bought a bus and went on the road to perform at weddings, parties, and rodeos—often for a pittance. Selena loved to sing, but she wished she knew the Tejano songs her audience enjoyed. She longed to connect with them, so she taught herself Spanish. When the male-dominated Tejano music world was less than welcoming, she persisted. In 1986, she won her first Tejano Music Award at age 15. Selena studied fashion magazines and helped to design and create her own stage outfits. She eventually opened a chain of boutiques. The text ends on a high note, with Selena’s historic performance at the Astrodome in Houston. An author’s note mentions the star’s untimely death at age 23. The energetic, bright cartoon illustrations depicting Selena and her family in various venues, decorated with rainbow notes, stars, hearts, and flowers will appeal to young readers.
VERDICT This inspirational rags-to-riches biography, released on the heels of a Netflix miniseries about the singer’s life, will inspire anyone who dreams of a career in the performing arts.

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