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Queen of Tejano Music: Selena


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About the Author

Silvia Lopez, a Cuban native raised in Miami, Florida, served as a children's librarian at schools and public libraries for over three decades. She holds degrees in English, Library Science, and Educational Technology, and is a National Board-Certified Teacher. Her picture book, Just Right Family: An Adoption Story, was released in March 2018. She had previously published children's biographies, as well as award-winning bilingual digital books. Her book, Handimals: Animals in Art and Nature, a collaboration with Italian artist Guido Daniele, was published in April 2019. Another picture book, Pacho, is scheduled for release in 2020.

Paola Escobar is a Colombian graphic designer and illustrator. She has worked for a variety of publishers, including Oxford University Press, Penguin Random House, Scholastic UK, Laurence King, HarperCollins, and Little, Brown Book Group; as well as a broad range of print and digital magazines. She currently works as a freelance illustrator and lives very happily in Bogota, Colombia, with her husband and dog, Flora.


This engaging, narrative-heavy picture book biography of Mexican American superstar Selena Quintanilla (1971-1995) follows her journey from childhood to adulthood, illustrating her struggles and triumphs on her path to prominence. Through page-long subtitled sections ("A Family Band," "The Language Challenge," and more), Lopez contextualizes Selena's life and career, supplementing the narrative with quotations that allow readers a glimpse of her personality (on making little profit after a television appearance: "?'If we got five or ten dollars, ' Selena said, 'we could go to Whataburger!'?"). Escobar's elaborate illustrations prove an enriching complement, portraying key scenes, significant players, and iconic outfits. The narrative elides mention of Selena's death, choosing to end on a hopeful note, but back matter includes an illustrated timeline and further information on the subject's life and death. Ages 6-9. (Aug.)--Publisher's Weekly
Through a thorough narrative, Lopez recounts the life of Selena Quintanilla, the Tex-Mex singer
who paved the way for many Latinx artists. From her humble beginnings, Selena had an obvious
gift for performing. As part of a family band, she traded living like a "normal" teenager for a life
filled with touring and gigging. She learned Spanish, excelled in a genre that was dominated by
men, opened her own fashion boutiques, and was about to break into the mainstream market
when she was murdered. The text doesn't dwell on the circumstances of her death, but back
matter goes into more age-appropriate detail. The joy that Selena brought to her audience is
reflected in Escobar's resplendent illustrations, which buzz with a sense of movement. Vivid reds
recall one of the singer's best-known songs, "Como la flor." Some remarks about the young
woman's "curvy shape" may be cringeworthy; nonetheless, this is the best option of its kind and
a must for all picture-book biography shelves. A lovely tribute to the Queen of Tejano music.--Booklist

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