To save an image, right click the thumbnail and choose "Save target as..." or "Save link as..."
|Jazz owls : a novel of the Zoot Suit Riots|
Author: Engle, Margarita
In early 1940s Los Angeles, Mexican Americans Marisela and Lorena work in canneries all day then jitterbug with sailors all night with their zoot suit wearing younger brother, Ray, as escort until the night racial violence leads to murder. Includes historical note.
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/18)
The Hornbook (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 7 Up—Set during the Zoot Suit riots, this novel in verse tells a fictional account of a dark time in American history. Marisela and Lorena are jazz owls who work all day and dance all night. They also dance during the day as they twist and turn trying to navigate their place in Los Angeles during World War II. They face racism at home for their Latino heritage despite having family members serving overseas. Marisela falls in love with a musician, while Lorena dreams about saving enough money to go to school. Zoot suits—loose suits perfect for dancing to jazz and rumba music that has heavy Afro-Latino influences—are frowned upon. Tensions rise as newspapers print headlines that invoke fear. Sailors start pouring into the streets as they round up young Latino men, beat them, and burn their suits. This becomes a nightmare that repeats too many times, and while the forces that be ultimately end it, the Latino and African American communities are still raw from their physical and emotional abuses. The novel focuses on Marisela and Lorena with occasional verses from her parents, brother, and friends. Engle's approach to a topic that may seem hard for teens to grasp is successful as readers will be cheering for the jazz owls to be able to not only dance, but to overcome racism. VERDICT A quick read perfect for history buffs, dance enthusiasts, poets, and just about anyone looking for a great story. Recommended.—Katie Llera, Bound Brook High School, NJ - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2018 Two sisters work in a peach cannery by day and are jazz dancers by night. Their older brother, Nicholas, serves in the war, and their younger brother, Ray, chaperones them at dances in his ostentatiously designed zoot suit. This Mexican American family is making ends meet while doing their part for the war effort, boosting sailor morale by dancing and swinging to catchy rhythms all night. Unfortunately, when the news breaks that an alleged Mexican American teenage gang is responsible for murder, the media spins it with lies, blaming these youth and their fashionable zoot suits, because “nothing sells newspapers as quickly as fear.” Engle writes a fast-paced narrative about a chain of reactions escalating into a violent mob that took out their anger on children, teens, and anyone they found in this Mexican American area of Los Angeles. Engle pieces together a volatile episode in history, filled with love, loss, and coming-of-age stories within a Mexican American family at a time of racial strife. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.