Published by little bee books
Summary: Growing up in Texas, Selena Quintanilla was surrounded by music from an early age. Her father taught her older siblings to play guitar and drums, and Selena soon proved herself to be a natural performer, singing and dancing to their music. By the time she was nine years old, they were performing regularly in her father’s restaurant. A few years later, the restaurant went out of business and the family fell on hard times. Touring and making music seemed like the only way to make a living. There was a demand for Tejano music, so Selena learned Spanish to perform the popular songs. By the time she was in her late teens, Selena was an award-winning star, loved in both Mexico and the U.S. She also was a popular celebrity, treating both her fans and co-workers with kindness and respect. The final page memorializes Selena as a trailblazer and role model. Includes several pages of additional information about Selena and her music, ending with a few paragraphs about her murder at the age of 23. A Spanish-language version of this book, Selena: Reina de la Música Tejana is also available. 48 pages; grades 2-5.
Pros: Here’s another book I’ve been anticipating for several months, as my music-loving daughter has gotten me interested in learning more about Selena. As I imagine is true for many others, I only knew about her death, so I’m glad this book has been written to celebrate her life and legacy. There’s a lot of text, but the story is so engaging it doesn’t feel like a lot to plow through, and the illustrations really capture Selena’s spirit. I was even inspired to watch the official video of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”, which is an incredibly catchy tune. Sadly, as the book concludes, quoting Selena biographer Joe Nick Patoski: “The debate will never cease as to what could have been.”
Cons: This book seems to be getting recommended for the 6-9 age group, but I think older kids will appreciate it more, due to both the text-heavy story and the tragic ending.