Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

256p. illus. by Lulu Delacre. glossary. notes. HarperCollins. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062392145.
Gr 6–8—In a collection of 12 tales, readers hear fictionalized narratives of young Latinos drawn from news stories. The selections represent a variety of children from diverse countries of origin and include standard prose as well as the poetic "Pickup Soccer" and the musical "Cubano Two." The entries highlight issues that some Latinos face, such as problems with food and obesity, cultural identity, the deportation of relatives, the quest to obtain legal status, and prejudices some have toward fellow Latinos from different backgrounds. While these stories offer an interesting cross section of the Latino experience, there is a preponderance of sad and serious tales (with topics that include a sister who bullies, an epileptic seizure mistaken for a criminal attack, and the death of a parent). Spanish words are sprinkled throughout and defined in the back, and refranes (sayings) introduce each piece. The author's mixed-media portraits accompany each entry, and the original articles that inspired each offering are listed and discussed.
VERDICT This welcome update to short story collections such as Gary Soto's Baseball in April and prose alternative to Alma Flor Ada's Yes!: We Are Latinos is a solid addition to libraries and would also add much-needed diversity to classroom study.

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