Grade 2-4-This biographical tribute to an icon of Latina music evokes the talent, independence, and inner drive of a woman who helped develop a music style present in today's popular culture. A songbird of the Havana streets, the young Cruz charmed her neighbors with the passion and uniqueness of her voice, which incorporated the sounds of street vendors. "Her father heard thunder. Her cousins heard the call of the sea. Her neighbors heard a hummingbird." The text records her early life in an overcrowded household but also emphasizes her love for learning and her classical training, her devotion to her birth country, and her international fame. Full-page illustrations in bold jewel tones evoke the warmth and swirl of the salsa sound she created. An author's note summarizes Cruz's personal and professional life. Like the sweetness of her voice, this tribute is pure azúcar. It fills a gap in materials for music teachers and is a solid addition for all libraries.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX
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Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. In this picture-book biography, Chambers offers a brief, lyrical tribute to salsa superstar Celia Cruz. Short paragraphs follow the vocalist from her Havana childhood, where neighbors crowded the street to hear young Celia sing to her family, to her heartbreaking emigration from Cuba and worldwide stardom. Chambers writes in figurative language that, while adding a whimsical, fairy-tale quality to the story, may confuse younger children ("Celia would grow up to be a queen, but she was not born a princess"), and specific musical references, such as "Afro-Cuban rhythms," will likely be lost on youngsters. That said, Chambers' enthusiasm for her subject is contagious, and the bright, uncluttered paintings of rounded, stylized figures in saturated, tropical hues echo the energy in the words. With few books about Cruz available for this age group, this is a welcome addition to the biography shelves. An author's note, a discography, and a glossary of Spanish words used in the text are appended. Suggest this with Andrea Davis Pinkney's Ella Fitzgerald (2002) for another picture-book view of a legendary female vocalist. Gillian Engberg
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I originally bought this book for my classroom library. I bought it again recently for my niece. Great story telling with beautiful, vibrant artwork that captures Celia's spirit. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Cecilia DeLeon
My three year old granddaughter loves this beautiful tribute to the late great Celia Cruz. This children's book is loaded with beautiful imagery and it's full of vibrant colors. Read morePublished on June 26, 2009 by K. M. Greene