Friday, October 19, 2012

Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa

Another thing I like about picture books is that you can pick one up completely at random, read a simple sweet story, and in the end, feel a twinge of hope jolted into your life. 

I had never heard of Celia Cruz Queen of Salsa, before I picked up Veronica Chamber's book, illustrated by Julie Maren.  But it was a delight to read.  A straightforward biography about the Sugar of Cuba, the Azucar of Salsa, the Queen of a music type that I have little exposure to. 

Celia recorded more than seventy albums, won numerous Grammy awards, and was in several movies.  She was a huge figure in the world of Salsa, in the music world in general.  But the picture book tells a story not about wild riches and extreme fame. It tells a story kids can relate to. The story of a girl with a song in her heart.

The art is colorful and vibrant, and the pages are lovely to look at.  The words are interspered with Spanish, giving the story even more depth and life.  And there is a 2 page section at the end which further details Celia's work and success.

Celia's birthday is on Sunday, she would have been 87 this year.  I'm glad I can think of her this weekend, as I celebrate my own birthday, and try to remember that keeping a sweet song in my heart is one of the best ways to keep youth and hope alive.

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