Bound To Stay Bound

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 Becoming Maria : love and chaos in the South Bronx
 Author: Manzano, Sonia

 Publisher:  Scholastic Press
 Pub Year: 2015

 Dewey: 791.4502
 Classification: Biography
 Physical Description: 262 p., ill., 21 cm.

 BTSB No: 602365 ISBN: 9780545621847
 Ages: 12-16 Grades: 7-11

 Manzano, Sonia
 Bildungsromans -- Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
 Television actors and actresses
 Television writers

Price: $6.50

Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving--and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. It is Sonia's dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: UG
   Reading Level: 5.50
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 175631
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 9-12
   Reading Level: 6.30
   Points: 18.0   Quiz: 66465

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/15/15)
   School Library Journal (+) (09/01/15)
   Booklist (06/01/15)
 The Hornbook (00/09/15)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 06/01/2015 Though many adults may recognize Manzano as Maria from Sesame Street, she’s likely more well known among today’s teens as the author of the Pura Belpré–winning The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (2012). In her present-tense memoir, Manzano, who grew up in 1950s South Bronx, examines her community, her family, and her ever-changing self with a wide-eyed curiosity. She struggles to make sense of her mother’s decisions, such as staying with an abusive husband and trading in a hardscrabble existence in Puerto Rico for an equally challenging life in the U.S. It’s Manzano’s gift for theater that provides her the opportunity of a lifetime, and thanks to her talent, she attends a performing-arts high school and then Carnegie Mellon. This beautifully rendered coming-of-age story calls to mind Betty Smith’s classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Though it’s a bit slow moving at times and would have benefited from a time line to help ground readers, this is nevertheless an inspiring portrait of resiliency and a time capsule for a New York that now feels like a distant memory. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 9 Up—A groundbreaking Latina educator, TV personality, and award-winning children's book author shares a poignantly written memoir about growing up in the South Bronx. Manzano, known to many as Maria from Sesame Street, relates events from her youth with candor and childlike curiosity as she tries to find her place within her Puerto Rican family and the dominant white culture. Beginning with fragments from when she was a toddler and ending with her life-changing audition for Sesame Street, the book includes vignettes that offer glimpses of a singular coming of age that will resonate with many young people, regardless of socioeconomic background or culture. Moving from a cockroach-infested apartment to one riddled with rats was a common occurrence, and her father's violent outbursts continually threatened the safety of the family. Still, music, laughter, food, a network of cousins and friends, and a love of performance shone a light in Sonia's life, and glimmers of the beloved character she made iconic peek through the trials of an impoverished but warm upbringing. Phrases in Spanish and gritty details of urban life in 1960s New York City add authenticity to this work. Nuanced depictions of racism and sexism will be eye-opening for some readers and all-too-familiar for others. The author shows great restraint, never tinging memories with adult rationalizations or nostalgia, but infuses each episode with age-appropriate language and forthrightness. Lyrical passages, such as one about her first trip to Puerto Rico, are filled with vivid imagery, and the scenes touching upon her burgeoning sexual awakening ring true with sensitivity and subtlety. VERDICT As timeless as Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was a Puerto Rican (Vintage, 1994) and Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin, 2014), this memoir will strike a chord with teens and adults alike. [See the Q&A with Sonia Manzano on page 16.—Ed.]—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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