Summer Reading for the Teachers: A Little Variety to Stretch the Mind-Gently

Article excerpt

With summer in full swing, it is a good time to try lighter fare than the weighty academic reading that occupies the school year and to diversify our selections, especially across ethnic and racial lines. Here is a selection of books on a wide spectrum of cultures and topics:

Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian, by National Museum of The American Indian, Collins, $14.95, (September 2007), ISBN-10: 006115301X, ISBN-13: 978-0061153013, pp. 256

This book digests a great deal of historical, social and cultural information that people of other cultures might want to know, drawing from questions the museum has been asked in letters. The book begins with the often-asked question about what is the correct terminology for the indigenous people of the Americas. The answer suggests that it depends on a number of variables. Each topic is treated in a clear, concise essay signed by one of the museum's contributors.

Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City (Latin America in Translation), by Cesar Miguel Rondon, translated by Frances R. Aparicio and Jackie White, University of North Carolina Press, $59.95, cloth, $20 paper, (February 2008), ISBN-10: 0807858595, ISBN-13: 978-0807858592, pp. 352.

This history of salsa was first published in 1980 but not available in English until now. Cesar Miguel Rondon chronicles the genre's development, from its birth in the 1940s, fusing jazz, Cuban/Caribbean/South American rhythms into explosive, danceable, urban compositions. The book documents the contributions of the musical pioneers and entrepreneurs who created and nourished the salsa phenomenon, taking it from street to ballroom. The period since 1980 is covered in a new chapter, and a discography offers a tempting sample of recordings.

Doing the Public Good: Latina/o Scholars Engage Civic Participation, by Kenneth P. Gonzalez, Raymond V. Padilla (Editors), Stylus Publishing. $69.95, hardback, $24.95, paperback, (November 2007) ISBN-10: 1579222633, ISBN-13: 978-1579222635, pp. 172.

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A dozen Latino(a) scholars use their personal testimonies as a springboard for reflection on the intersections between scholarship and civic responsibility. …