Floricanto Press     

IMMIGRATION

By Title

Between Borders: Essays On Mexicana/Chicana History. Adelaida R. Del Castillo, Editor. ISBN 0915745186. 560 pgs. Includes biblio $38.95.

The most comprehensive and complete original history of U.S. Latinas of Mexican descent written by an outstanding team of Mexican and U.S. scholars and based on copious documentary sources from both countries. Between Borders has been hailed by the scholarly review media as "the most important piece of original research on Mexicana/ Chicana ever published." This collection of essays is a smashing success in terms of organization, presentation, significance of content, and theoretical approach. The essays reflect the maturation of the field in the 1980's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Me More Stories: Tales of the Sephardim. By Sally Benforado. ISBN 0915745674. $22.95.

In these short tales, author Benforado weaves together the oral history of a family of Sephardic Jews, from their close knit home in Turkey to their new lives in America. They are stories of a heritage that spans the globe, of centuries-old traditions transported to a different world, and of people who held tightly to the ways of their ancestors, who, like them, left their homes to settle in a strange new land. Following their exodus from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews were not allowed to remain on Spanish territories in North America, such as New Mexico and Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Century of Pachangas. By Betty Serra. ISBN: 978-1491259207 $19.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. A Century of Pachangas (parties) is a deluxe package of celebrations, featuring ribbon-cutting family drama. The helium balloons in this pachanga are a series of inflated scandals due to infidelity, lunatic rage and psychological imbalances. Like all families, there is loss and tragedy, but resilience triumphs over their fixations and shortcomings. This family memoir focuses on the author’s maternal side of the family, starting with Rosa Balladares, born in 1884 in Managua, Nicaragua. Orphaned at the age of two, Rosa grew up quickly and left her uncle’s unhappy home within a decade. Relatively a young teen, she achieved total independence and later transformed herself into a woman that ruled her household with absoluteness, dispensing proclamations as if a medieval dungeon awaited anyone who failed to follow her majestic orders. Unlike most women of her era, she was skilled in the art of fist-fighting, shooting pistols and swordplay. And although she couldn’t read or write, she was brilliant in that she ran a house, a business and scoundrels out of town. The first half of the memoir (beginning in 1884) introduces the core of the Balladares Family, which consists of Rosa, the wandering husband she threatened to shoot and five daughters who survived into adulthood. The women turned out inflexible, controlling and overbearing, just like their mother. They had the audacity to want to set the world straight in the midst of their own family chaos and meltdowns. The few men who came to know or love them were forcibly exiled, and the grandchildren were indisputably named Balladares. It wasn’t until the next generation, particularly those born in the U.S.A. when the Balladares surname lost its elasticity to band everyone and the newborns were named after their fathers. The second half of the memoir (beginning in 1952) highlights the immigration of a few Balladares women into the States and their wacky adventures. The author, a Balladares descendent, reminisces over her childhood memories, the merging of two colorful cultures and the meddling of Latin American relatives dropping in and out, causing insurmountable disturbances. Each of the Balladares women reappears, sporadically throughout the memoir. They’re all much older, but not necessarily wiser. Oftentimes, it’s their children or grandchildren who complete the lesson for them. Still, it’s mind-blowing how their fiery spirit enabled them to reach another country, cross into a new century and stamp the Balladares imprint of tenacity onto subsequent generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chalino: A Chronicle Play of Fulgor and Death=Una Crónica Teatral de Fulgor y Muerte. Julián Camacho Segura. ISBN 978-1481022002. $22.95.

With “Chalino,” Julian Camacho writes about a raw, unflinching Mexican icon with an unapologetic honesty only he can provide. He excels at bringing this story to larger than life tale because he possesses one of the most experienced voices among his contemporaries.” Oscar Barajas, Author, “True Tales from the Wireless Clothesline.” Rosalino “Chalino” Sánchez was a Mexican immigrant from the Mexican state of Sinaloa who came to the US in search of opportunity. In his pursuit of perseverance his gift and talent for writing corridos for the common working class man initiated a world wind phenomena that appealed to Mexican-American youth in Los Angeles, California. Chalino’s corridos provided a cultural medium in which Chicanos identified with their own roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprende? The Significance of Spanish in English-Only Times. Steven W. Bender. ISBN: 978-1-888205-08-4. $24.95.

Today, the contentious issue of Latino immigration has spurred backlash efforts to anoint English as the official language in federal and state government to the exclusion of Spanish and other languages, than English. Even cities have weighed in to restrict the legitimacy of Spanish in local government affairs. Last century, European immigrant groups stood accused of failing to assimilate in the American melting pot. But while European immigration has slowed, Latino immigration has surged. This steady immigration, combined with the geographical proximity that brought Latinos into the Southwest long before Anglo immigrants, assures a different cultural dynamic for Latinos than for other groups. The centuries of continued Latino occupation and then immigration have forged a unique, shared destiny between the United States and Mexico, as well as other Latin American countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cubans: Our Legacy in the United States: A collective biography. Hernández, Fernando. ISBN: 978-1888205411 $23.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. The Cubans: Our Legacy in the United States chronicles the Cuban immigration to the United States from the 1800s to the present era. The author analyzes the impact the Cuban community has had on the cultural, economic, social, sports, and political scene in American society throughout multiple generations. Cuban immigrants have been one of the most successful communities in the United States. The book examines the contribution to baseball from Martín Dihigo to Tony Pérez and from Ernesto Lecuona to Gloria Estefan in music. In business circles the reader will discover that The Coca Cola Company, the Kellogg Company and McDonalds Corporation had Cuban-born Chief Executive Officers and that Movado watch company was owned by a refugee who fled communist Cuba. The book vividly depicts more than 250 extraordinary and intriguing men and women that make for engrossing and captivating reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diversity: Mestizos, Latinos and the Promise of Possibilities. Amardo Rodríguez. ISBN: 978-0-915745-92-0. $18.95.

This book is about the hope that resides in brown, the color of creation. It defines brown ideologically rather than racially. That is, brown is about peoples who are increasingly defying the borders of ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and race that limit imagination and possibility through various anxieties, insecurities, and paranoia that make us afraid of the world's ambiguity, mystery, and complexity and, in so doing, make us afraid of our differences. It is about peoples who are of borderlands-conceptual, communicational, relational, communal, theoretical, and cultural spaces, such as Spanglish and Ozomatli, which are devoted to possibility. Thus in a world where too many believe in a coming clash of civilizations and that Latino immigration poses the most serious threat to the prosperity of the U.S., this book introduces and expounds on various theoretical notions that make for new visions of the world and ultimately new ways of being the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Dónde más si no en el Paraíso. Vicente Cabrera Funes. ISBN: 978-1-888205-11-4. $23.95.

Vicente Cabrera Funes´s latest work of fiction, Dónde más si no en el Paraíso, consists of two novellas, Dalia and Suana en el Paraíso. A major theme of the two is the clash of cultures, expertly portrayed by the author who himself was born in Latin America and has resided in the United States (el Paraíso) for many years. Cabrera's novellas will challenge his readers to discover the underlying irony and tragedy his characters encounter as they struggle to survive in a racially divided, violent and unjust "paradise." George R. McMurray Professor Emeritus Colorado State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encounter Between Cuentos and Versos. By Irene Pérez. ISBN: 978-1494379919 $14.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. "Encounter between cuentos and versos" is a gem to treasure as stories told in poetic forms for readers of all ages—from young adults to the more experienced and seasoned booklover. These poems show us a childhood lived in Puerto Rico, and they uncover a heart awakening to meet the complexity of a new life in the U.S. mainland. The many contrasts found here serve as portals into a private self facing fear and courage—“If you dare startle what’s inside the wall…”—and into the public self looking outwards with compassion—“But one day/Beyond the noise of all histories . . .” The Spanish dispersed throughout this collection adds a necessary pulse to the poet’s love and care for the beat and rhythm of language. But at its core, this work stands strong with meaning, encountering beauty, through lyricism, in the past and in the attention to the now.

In these sensual, intensely given, sometimes fantastical poems and prose pieces, we are given scenes of conception, birth and childhood, of a family uprooted from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, landing in Jersey City and beyond. In Perez’s world, everything is made to count, the body passage into white dresses, “life fires and hurricanes”, “long hallways marked by doors”, the astrological influence of the planets in our whirling heavens. Her’s is an original, colorful and complex voice, and her poems do honor to our memories. —Colette Inez, author of The Luba Poems.

Cultures collide in this riveting work, but Irene Perez navigates us to safety with her glittering verse. While the world she paints is agridulce, she never forgets to sweeten all that is sour. Get ready to be transported. —Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines.

In and out, up and down, here and there, then and now, body and spirit, hard and soft, black, white, and colors in between, wind and silence, water and sand, asleep and awake...take turns, join and separate in these poems and prose work to create a tapestry of feelings shared through lyricism and passion for language. —Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Count of Me: Tales of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships /Cuenta Conmigo: Historias Conmovedoras de Hermandad y Amistades Incondicionales.

Irene Pérez Irene’s short stories and poems have appeared in Kalyani Magazine, South Florida Arts Journal, Northern Liberties Light, New Mirage Journal, Acentos Review, Ardent, Mangrove, Gulfstreaming Magazine, Long Shot, The Américas Review, The Bilingual Review. She has written non-fiction pieces for Somos Padres: A Newsletter for Parents and Educators, LatinGirl Magazine and Críticas. She is currently working on her first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Will Be An American . . . Someday Soon: The Questions & Answers to the Citizenship Test. Bloomfield, Gary L. ISBN: 978-1481012690 $10.00

This is a publication of Floricanto Press.

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. Gary Bloomfield’s has compiled and developed a list of the most frequent questions asked for the American citizenship test administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to those applying for U.S. citizenship. This questionnaire includes the precise answer to each of its questions. Those immigrants who desire to become American Citizens will be very well served preparing themselves for this test using and studying this brief manual.

 

 

 

 

 

The Illegal Alien: A Dagger into the Heart of America?? Raoul Lowery Contreras. ISBN: 0-915745-61-5. $22.95.

Illegal Alien is the most reasoned analysis to date of illegal immigration, the most controversial issue facing America, and its growing impact on the American economy and way of life. Mr. Contreras makes a historical comparison of immigration and a well-documented scrutiny of the vocal opinions of well-known anti-immigrant spoke-persons as well as those who seek unrestricted openness of our borders.

 

 

 

 

 

Infinitas. Carlos T. Mock ISBN: 978-1-888205-38-1. $19.95.

As a Puerto Rican living in the US, I no longer fit into my homeland. Every time I travel there, I'm considered un Americano. I'm always addressed in the English language. What's worse, my Puerto Rican friends who live on the Island don't seem to care about me anymore. I guess we've gone our separate ways-I've become too public with my homosexuality, while they endure best by living within the closet. On this side of the pond, in the United States, there are Puerto Ricans who have never been to Puerto Rico. They don't speak Spanish, they don't know our history or culture-yet, they declare themselves Puerto Rican. To them, I am less Puerto Rican than they because, in their eyes I didn't experience the same discrimination from the white culture while growing up as they did. So, where do I fit- what am I?

 

 

 

 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Island of Dreams. By Jasminne Méndez. ISBN 978-1493580880. $13.95.

    “My family has been forced to live like an island with no political party, president, or official language. We are not of any “new world” Columbus discovered. We are not Dominican enough or American enough to call either place home. We live and love with one foot on the ground and one foot in the sea.” This is how Jasminne Méndez describes what it was like for her to grow up a Dominican American military brat. Always feeling like a foreigner in both lands because people want to know “where you from,” and “how do you know Spanish?” In "Island of Dreams," author Jasminne Méndez, addresses these questions and their complicated answers in a multi-genre memoir that effortlessly blends poems and short stories to offer a glimpse into the challenges, joys, hopes, fears and disappointments she and her family faced being Dominican in America. Her work explores everything from the love/hate relationship she had with her hair and her mother, to the many memorable but sometimes unpleasant family vacations and holidays she shared with her parents, siblings, primos, tíos, y tías. These captivating stories and poems are about family, food, love, culture, self-discovery, assimilation, and the American dream. They are about a young girl who respects the richness and abundance of her cultural history, but who struggles to form her own identity because her Dominican values conflict with her American self and all she wants to do is find a place to call home. Join memoir-writer Jasminne Méndez in this luscious recalling of her family’s multi-faceted sojourn of family ties and their meaning, glorious cooking and eating, belonging and not belonging, and so many other complicated forays into the storied past. Sarah Cortéz, author, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston.

    Jasminne builds bridges between many worlds. Her potent voice conjures images of the Dominican Republican, Texas, Houston, the world. I've had the pleasure of seeing her perform in person. She is amazing in 3D. Actually, she performs in 6D-adding spirit, whimsy, and the future. She code-switches so brilliantly that you don't notice that she has jumped from Spanish to English to Spanglish to universal themes and back. Her work not only stands up on the page but takes on new meaning with potency, shattering barriers, breaking borders. This book will boggle your mind and thrill you. Tony Díaz, El Librotraficante, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.

     

 

 

 

 

Latina Mistress. R.F. Sánchez. ISBN: 978-0-915745-91-3. $24.95.

This story is about young and pretty illegal alien women in El Paso, Texas, who unknowingly fall or conveniently acquiesce to the sexual demands of their male employers, who most happen to be Anglo Americans. Much what has been written about El Paso and the southwest is about its history, its settlers, its movers and its heroes. Latina Mistress, however, is about ordinary people, illegal aliens, their loves, hates, beliefs, and more importantly their circumstances. The events which take place in the novel intersect the Hispanic and Anglo worlds, with their own good and evil characters. This novel follows the long tradition of historical fiction in the sense that all the anecdotes told here are actually true, although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. The author gathered these very human stories through years of observation as well as personal experience and much research.

The author and his wife, Helen, actually knew personally Berta, one of the tragic heroines of this novel. He also interviewed scores of males and females of both cultures attesting to the accuracy of the story. What is a young and beautiful illegal alien to do to survive two alien worlds, the Hispanic and Anglo worlds, with their own good and evil characters? The answer is shivering in its clarity: whatever is required.

This novel depicts the dramatic lives of two beautiful sisters, both illegal aliens, and how some people take advantage of their weakness and their sex. In this sense this novel is a classic tale of what has always occurred with the disadvantaged all along; the powerful taking advantage of the weaker and more disadvantaged members of society.

 

     

     

     

    Latino and Latina Leaders of the 21st Century: Ordinary Beginnings, Extraordinary Outcomes. García, Kayla. ISBN: 978-1888205480 $24.95

    This book is published jointly by Floricanto Press and Berkeley Press. Latino issues are everybody’s issues. The Latino and Latina leaders portrayed in this book have made valuable contributions to our social, legal, political and educational systems. This book provides comprehensive stories of courageous men and women who have defied expectations, overcome adversity, set precedents, and dedicated significant time and energy to helping others achieve their goals. Active locally, nationally, and internationally in a variety of professions, these individuals offer proof that ordinary or even humble origins can lead to extraordinary accomplishments. This collective biography expounds on well-known and otherwise Latino leaders who are at the front of their fields. It includes well-known individuals, such as Sonia Sotomayor, First Latina on the Supreme Court; Dolores Huerta, Union Organizer and Community Activist; Jorge Ramos, News Anchor and Advocate; John Haroldson and María Chávez-Haroldson, District Attorney and Leadership Facilitator; and Sandra Cisneros, Author and Activist. It includes, as well, many others, such as Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio; Nydia Velázquez, Representative for New York; Luis Gutiérrez, Representative for Illinois; Marco Rubio, Senator for Florida. It also comprises leaders in fields of education, community activism, and literary figures such as Cherríe Moraga, Advocate for LGBTQ, Latinos, and Indigenous People, and Elena Poniatowska, an internationally known ally to Latinos.

     

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Líderes latinos del siglo XXI: Latinas y latinos que están transformando la sociedad. Kayla S. García. ISBN-13: 978-1888205527. $26.95

Los líderes y activistas latinos retratados en este libro están transformando nuestra sociedad. Han hecho contribuciones significativas a nuestros sistemas legal, político y educacional. Este texto incluye historias comprensivas de hombres y mujeres que han desafiado las bajas expectativas de sus maestros, han superado serias adversidades, han establecido importantes precedentes sociales y han dedicado muchísimo tiempo ayudando a otras personas a conseguir sus propias metas. Estos individuos siguen activos en una gran variedad de profesiones y organizaciones a nivel local, estatal, nacional, e internacional. Sus vidas constituyen pruebas irrefutables de que es posible superar obstáculos tales como la pobreza, la discriminación, las enfermedades graves, y las agotadoras responsabilidades familiares para arribar a metas sobresalientes.  

 



 

 

 

 

Mexican Illegal Aliens: A Mexican American Perspective. By Rafael D. Canul, Ph.D. ISBN: 0-915745-62-3. $22.95.

Professor Canul, in this substantial, well-documented and impressive socio-political and economic analysis, focuses on the difficult and challenging motives and experiences of Mexicans illegals who have settled in the U.S. since 1920’s. He illustrates how, despite racial conflicts, the controversial influx of Mexicans have adapted and contributed to American society. His rich layers of personalized data yield portraits ranging from those who cross the borders through the desert or not infrequently hidden in cars. He describes a rail-road like protection often extended to the border-crossers by the established Mexican American community, who witnesses with pain, empathy, and disgust their mistreatment and exploitation. He provides a unique Mexican American perspective on this controversial issue of illegal immigration. Furthermore, he concludes with a forceful argument that, despite rising nativism ignited by illegal migrants, they are indispensable for many sectors of the U.S. economy.

     

     

     

    Migrant Earth. By Ramón Mesa Ledesma. ISBN:13: 978-1888205534. $22.95

    Migrant Earth very eloquently documents the travels and travails of a family of Mexican migrant workers as they wander the Western United States in the nineteen forties and fifties. These are poignant tales that paint the life and death struggle of a family living on the periphery of a dominant white culture that simultaneously loathed and needed them. They owned but the clothes on their backs and lived in rat infested, dilapidated agricultural labor camps throughout the Pacific Northwest.  They worked from sunup to sundown in pesticide laced fields under scorching, unrelenting summer suns. While wandering the countryside working the fields--white society was too genteel to harvest--they dreamed of better times and the safety of a piece of land they could call home. Ultimately they were able to save enough to purchase a small thirty acre farm in Eastern Washington. But just when the hard life seemed over, his padres divorced and mamá with nine children in tow was sent back on the migrant labor circuit.

     

     

     

     

     

    A Most Memorable Quinceañera. Una Quinceañera Muy Memorable. By Leslie Concepción. ISBN: 978-1494253776 $14.95

    This is a publication of Floricanto Press. “Saying goodbye to childhood is never easy.” The magical day, when a girl can play out her own fairytale fantasy and be a princess for a day, is her Quinceañera, and for Mimi that day has finally arrived. But instead of the excitement and jubilation she is expected to feel, all she can summon is uneasy dread and anxiety about what this day means. Her parents have been planning this event her whole life and Mimi is filled with the weight of their expectations, to act like a proper lady and know what to do. She doesn't know what to do and can’t comprehend how an archaic ceremony can change the way people see her, and how she could be a woman just because the calendar marks her a day older. Mimi doesn’t want people to treat her differently and no amount of rehearsing can mask the insecurities she feels. To make matters worse her cousin, Lala, picks the day of Mimi's Quinceañera to reveal she is pregnant, and it's only been a year after her very own Quinceañera. Mimi is distraught and believes that is what happens when parents, family, and society, rush a girl into womanhood. This is all the more reason for Mimi not to accept the tradition of publically becoming a woman. This is a coming of age story about two cousins, who are the best of friends. While her cousin, Lala is thrilled to enter womanhood, Mimi is not so enthusiastic and doesn’t feel she is ready for all the social responsibilities that come along with being a woman. The girls will learn to stick together and that the bond between family is stronger than any rite of passage. A very elaborate descriptive and story about the conflicts and tribulations in a young girls’ life as she enters womanhood. Everyone needs a Tia Emmi in their life. By Judy Paneto-Roman

    Great book about the the Quinceañera culture. As a mom of a soon to be teenager, I will pass down this book to my daughter so that she can learn about the culture and the importance of family. Jessica Cortez

    A most memorable story I was quickly captivated by this story, as I can certainly relate to all the drama and prepping that goes into planning "Sweet 15" Quinceañera it's something we all look forward to when coming of age, Leslie's story is definitely something I would hand my daughter prior to her Quinceañera. Veronica Paneto

    Mimi’s character transported me back to a time in my life where I was caught between innocence and the impending “Real” world. Her struggle is personal and heartwarmingly portrayed and I was easily wrapped up in the story. Deborah Rosa, MA

    A Most Memorable Quinceañera, is a wonderfully human and culturally sensitive story about a Latina girl's passage from childhood to womanhood. Mrs. Concepcion captures all the fears and apprehensions of this passage from a young person's point of view and allows her characters to make mistakes and misjudgments along the way. The author's interweaving of the Quinceañera ceremony makes for a fascinating exploration of growing up. In the end, the greatest discovery is that no one has to fear the future if there is love and support around you. Gayle S. Hoffman, MSW, ACSW.

     

     

     

    Migrant Earth. By Ramón Mesa Ledesma. ISBN:13: 978-1497473553. $22.95

    Migrant Earth very eloquently documents the travels and travails of a family of Mexican migrant workers as they wander the Western United States in the nineteen forties and fifties. These are poignant tales that paint the life and death struggle of a family living on the periphery of a dominant white culture that simultaneously loathed and needed them. They owned but the clothes on their backs and lived in rat infested, dilapidated agricultural labor camps throughout the Pacific Northwest.  They worked from sunup to sundown in pesticide laced fields under scorching, unrelenting summer suns. While wandering the countryside working the fields--white society was too genteel to harvest--they dreamed of better times and the safety of a piece of land they could call home. Ultimately they were able to save enough to purchase a small thirty acre farm in Eastern Washington. But just when the hard life seemed over, his padres divorced and mamá with nine children in tow was sent back on the migrant labor circuit.

     

     

       

       

       

      Once in a Lifetime. Chris Campanioni. ISBN 13: 978-1-888205-54-1. $11.95

      Fifty poems and one day provide the footage for Fifty poems and one day provide the footage for Chris Campanioni’s Once in a Lifetime (a film in four acts). But even time gradually dissolves in this coming-of-age drama interlaced with pop music, the age of Internet and status updates, cinema and celebrity, memories of Cuba and Poland, and the passage to the United States. Runtime: 24 hours.

      “Incredible stuff here, truly. If readers looked no further than the wordplay and love of language and rhythm, they’d be delighted. But there is so much going on below the surface, which I guess is also one of the author’s many points. Visceral and moving.” — Across the Margin.

      “I love Campanioni’s poetry . . . reminiscent of the leading Chicano poet Luis Omar Salinas. Cheekiness and delicateness all in one.” — Rosebud Magazine.

      “In his follow-up to the award-winning In Conversation, Campanioni doesn’t just re-invent form, he tries to re-create language via a collision of cultures and pop referents. He doesn’t rely on his formal tricks and the result is a poignancy and intimacy we haven’t seen before. Once in a Lifetime is equal parts cut-up and confessional.” — Giancarlo Lombardi, Professor of Italian and Comparative. Literature, College of Staten Island & Graduate Center/CUNY.

       

     

     

     

    The Ones Santa Anna Sold. Valle-Sentíes, Raquel. ISBN: 978-1497473300 $15.95

    “This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. These poems are powerful, immediate, and raw. And they speak of universal pain and disappointment. But also they are about a world that is unique and not so well-known this city of Laredo. As a writer, I am admiring of your perception and your style. You are a wonderful poet. ---Lori Carlson Hijuelos New York editor of Cool Salsa, Red Hot Salsa and Voices in Third Person.

    Raquel Sentíes has a direct and honest poetic voice. Her poetry is lyrical without being romantic: it is sensual, ironic, questioning. It speaks to us bi-lingually: in language and in culture. She speaks of growing up and living in a world that is treacherous yet somehow in the end satisfying. There are many moments of truth in these poems which are not always easy to read but yet are always revealing. They are filled with violence, sadness, betrayal, unfulfilled longings, dreams, and of course death. The ghosts who haunt Senties’ house and her mind remind us that we too have something to contribute to these hauntings. ---Prof. Tey Diana Rebolledo, Modern Languages, Univ. of New Mexico and well known literary critic; author of Infinite Divisions and Women Singing in the Snow.

    Valle-Sentíes is our coyote through these vibrant, often private poems, our guide over the border separating the living and the dead, the bought and the sold, history and her stories. She crosses readers through a landscape of violence, where the dead refuse to stay put, where chisme is truth, and where both falling and the fallen are blessed with an unsettling grace. Her book is eclectic and powerful, charged with the lives of all those who call the border home. ----Randy Koch, author of This Splintered Horse and Composing Ourselves Sentíes’ first hand experiences in Laredo and its people’s customs are palpable throughout her sometimes funny, sometimes sad but bold verses. It’s written in layman’s terms, which many of us Hispanics can relate to the Caló. -----Vilma Maldonado, book reviewer for the McAllen Monitor. Sentíes is an accomplished poet who allows readers to feel as if they’re sneaking a peek into her diary. This book is a must read for people who have an interest in life on the border. -----Lorena Tapia, book reviewer The Ones Santa Anna Sold is an enchanting immersion into the world of borderlands Laredo, where Raquel Valle-Sentíes captures the taste, the emotion, and the irony of a world between worlds, between nations, between cultures, and often, pineapple and chile, the scent of jasmine and desert nopal, the beauty and harshness of Laredo’s streets and skies, and a sense of the magic and the bittersweet reality of our contemporary world, where the good, the bad, and the ugly co-exist along both sides of a murky borderland river. A magical experience! -----Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Texas; author of Sonnets to Human Beings and The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans.

     

     

     

     

     

    Remnants of Crypto-Jews among Hispanic Americans. By Gloria Golden. Edited by Roberto Cabello-Argandoña and Yasmeen Namazie. ISBN: 978-1482786941. $24.95.

    Gloria Golden, an articulate and brilliant photo-anthropologist by vocation, set to uncover the Sephardic roots in the Southwest, which was always suspected to exist, as result of the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492. Many Jews went to Portugal and Turkey, others decided to join the expeditions to the New World, particularly New Spain, as Mexico was then called. Sociologists had anecdotal evidence of the Sephardim among the Mexican American population in Colorado and New Mexico.

    The remoteness of their hilly geography made a perfect setting for the Sephardic Jews to hide and be left alone from the shadows of the Inquisition. Living in disguise meant to behave like Christians in public and practice their Jewish customs at home, away from prying eyes. As centuries went by, that furtive life became merely partial memories and home behavioral practices that were very different from those of their Christian neighbors. Today many of the Sephardim live among the Hispanic, Mexican American and Latino, populations in the Southwest. Hidden deep in the heart of the American Southwest among the larger Hispanic population are descendants of the Sephardim, Jews from Spain and Portugal.

    Five hundred years after their expulsion from Spain remnants of Judaism are still practiced within Southwestern Hispanic communities. Often unaware of their origins, conversos have revealed, through oral history, how the ancestral faith of the Crypto-Jews has been passed on from generation to generation.

José-Enrique Figueroa. Reflections of a Hispanic Teacher: Resistance to class and racial oppression in the classroom. ISBN: 978-1-888205-56-5. $24.95

 

This book offers a much-needed progressive-critical perspective of American education based on the experiences of a Hispanic teacher dealing with real issues in the classroom. Reflecting on twenty-one years of teaching in the trenches of the South Bronx and in the City of Yonkers, his background and upbringing as a Puerto Rican immigrant, and his family's struggle to ensure he was well educated, he now sees a failed education system laying blame in all the wrong places.

Intertwining real world teaching experience with pedagogic theories, vivid childhood stories of his grandfather, real life trials and tribulations of students in the classroom, and the values and dreams Hispanic writers pour into their poetry and prose, the author shows the complexity of the social order, its influence on education, and the reasons for perceived educational failures.

Exploring pedagogic theories, we see that prevailing reform theories, such as inclusion, fail to recognize education in the context of the social order. Children need to be taught individually; their intellectual, emotional, and behavioral needs cannot fit into a one-size-fits-all model. But how can we satisfy individual needs in a non-negative context? Systems, such as MicroSociety, that contextualize schools in an economics-based environment recognize a false social order, trap children in a system that in reality is littered with racism and classism, promote consumerism and same-ism, and stymie creative expression.

 

 

 

 

The Salvation of La Purísima. T.M. Spooner. ISBN: 978-0-915745-88-3. $22.95.

The Salvation of La Purisima is a profound and heartrending look at a disenfranchised and poverty-ridden society that, driven by the necessity of its own survival, culturally pressures its members to make a perilous migration and earn money whether they want to go or not. Highly recommended. - Midwest Book Review

Perhaps the biggest achievement of the story are real characters that you quickly learn to like and care about. Consequently, there's a more human face put on the current phenomenon of "illegal immigration." These people are not simply numbers and statistics but, rather, living, breathing human beings. I look forward to seeing more from Señor Spooner. - Alan Cogan (Mexico Connect)

Spooner has a keen eye and ear for Mexico, without glamorizing or admonishing the country or its people. His many years of Mexico travel to the less touristy destinations produce a work of unvarnished authenticity. - David Simmonds (MexicoFile)

T.M. Spooner's first novel, The Salvation of La Purísima, explores the forces driving Mexican migrants north and the resulting impact on the communities and families left behind. The journey north is no longer just an economic necessity, but has evolved into a rite of passage for so many of Mexico's rural youth.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Secret of a Long Journey. Sandra Shwayder Sánchez. Edited by Yasmeen Namazie and Roberto Cabello-Argandoña. ISBN 978-1480285033. $24.95.

    The Secret of a Long Journey is the story of a cherished and dangerous secret, passed along from generation to generation through many lands and many perils: from Spain to Flanders across the ocean to Vera Cruz and up through the desert to what is now New Mexico. In magical realist style, this chronicle takes the Sephardic characters through the terrors of the Inquisition, shipwrecks and hurricanes, sandstorms and wars, lost loves and illness, all culminating when Lois Gold, a passionate court advocate for the disenfranchised, discovers the legacy of her lost grandfather.

    “In The Secret of a Long Journey, Sánchez moves effortlessly through time and place with a mesmerizing plot. Generations come and go and each one propels the next. Her fascinating characters are solidly grounded in vivid natural or urban environments. Whether it is 16th century Flanders or 20th century Denver, you never lose the thread of the story, thanks to the author’s mastery of craft and her powerful imagination. The characters will lodge in your mind long after you’ve read the book . . .” Gloria DeVidas Kircheimer, author: Goodbye Evil Eye, and Amalie in Orbit.

    “Sandra Shwayder Sánchez explores in intimate detail the experiences and emotions of her characters as she takes the reader on a vividly imagined journey from the old world to the new, through history to modern times. In poetic prose that summons all of our senses, Sánchez creates and maintains unique voices that speak through the generations and the blending of cultures and faiths.” Linda LeBlanc, author Beyond the Summit.

    The Secret of a Long Journey is a lyrical, textured, beautifully told tale of lives lived and lost and secrets kept and shared. This mesmerizing page-turner takes readers on a journey from 16th century Flanders and North America’s “New Spain” to 20th century America. Steeped in history and rooted in an insightful novelist’s understanding of the complex, fragile, and sometimes nefarious emotions that embody the human psyche, Sánchez weaves the story of one family’s unwavering, intergenerational commitment to cherish and transmit its cultural and spiritual heritage. Set against the backdrop of Inquisitional Europe and the early history of the Spanish rule of the American southwest, The Secret of a Long Journey chronicles the lives of painters and healers, explorers and adventurers, lawyers and cowboys . . . Along the way, it sheds light on the intricate ways Sephardic Jews, Spanish, Native American, Mexican and Anglo cultures often collided, sometimes comingled, and ultimately coexisted, finding a way to transmute ancient traditions into contemporary secular justice and compassion. Mary Saracino, author of The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006), Voices of the Soft-bellied Warrior (Spinsters Ink Books 2001), Finding Grace (Spinsters Ink 1999) and No Matter What (Spinsters Ink 1993).

    Sandra Shwayder Sánchez is a native of Denver, Colorado and a retired attorney who now resides in the small mountain town of Nederland with her husband of nearly twenty years, John Edward Sánchez.

 

 

 

 

Shattered Dreams: The story of a historic ICE raid in the words of the detainees. Gibbs, Virginia; and Luz María Hernández, Editors.ISBN: 978-1491086377 $25.95

This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. In May of 2008, the small town of Postville, Iowa, experienced an Immigration Raid in which nearly 400 Latino immigrant workers in the meat processing industry were arrested. The Postville Raid, the second largest in U.S. history, was the first and last of its kind. Instead of immediately deporting the undocumented, they were tried in groups of ten on charges of identity theft and then sent to jail for 5 ½ months. A group of 40 women were arrested but released with GPS monitors on their ankles so that they could care for young children, and were held in Postville for over a year during which they were not allowed to work to support their families. These are the life stories, told in their own words, of some of the workers who were affected by the raid. The immigrant families, with special emphasis on women and children, share the stories of their childhoods, the decision and the journey to “El Norte,” working at the meat processing plant, and the raid and its aftermath. These true stories vividly portray the fear, violence and harassment that is the lot of those who are “undocumented,” but also shows their strength of spirit in the face of poverty-stricken childhoods, dangerous border crossings, inhumane working conditions, and as they experienced the U.S. legal and penal system. "The long-silenced voices of the humble migrants victimized by the infamous federal raid at Postville, Iowa are recovered at last in this volume, where they coalesce into a gentle mallet that strikes at the gong of our national conscience, issuing a wake-up call to our humanity. Our only dignified answer should be fair and lasting immigration reform." --Erik Camayd-Freixas, author of U.S. Immigration Reform and its Global Impact: Lessons from the Postville Raid.

 

 

 

 

The Tortilla Maker: A Social and Historic Mexican American Narrative. Jesús Ignacio Loreto de Arvizu. ISBN:13: 978-1500739874. $24.95

 

Ignacia Arvizu, a strong-willed Mexican teenager lost her father, a wealthy cattleman. Bandidos murdered him and stole the family fortune including all personal possessions; he left behind only an empty hacienda. Ignacia’s mother became destitute and had no choice but to find homes for her bright and attractive daughters. In 1913, Ignacia reluctantly entered--forced by her desperate mother--into an arranged marriage to an older, prosperous rancher in Sonora, Mexico. Ignacia, affectionately called Nana by her grandchildren, fought her abusive husband to protect her five children, among them Ramona, the author’s mother. Nana’s husband suddenly died of pneumonia leaving her once again destitute and now with five small children of her own. Nana--determined to find a better life--walked over a hundred miles with her children in tow for weeks, to reach the nearest city. This brave and exciting memoir recounts Nana’s, her daughter Ramona’s, and (Ramona’s son) the author Jesus’s amazing journey from third-world poverty to American prosperity.

 

 

 

 


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"Our books shall speak for our culture."

Roberto Cabello-Argandoña.