author: Bobbi Salinas
illustrator: Bobbi Salinas
translator: Enrique Lamadrid
Piñata Publications, 2003
This bilingual Mexican-American feminist telling of the Cinderella story, as only Salinas can do it, is as unlike any of the other “Spanish-multicultural” versions as, say, Frida Kahlo is to Doris Day. Here, Serena’s parents encourage her to be a lifelong learner, to take in all the wonders of nature, to remember the importance of dancing and laughter, and never to forget to say gracias a la vida. All of this learning will be of good use to her after she loses her parents, when Serena becomes Cenicienta and has to deal with the cruelty of her stepmother and stepsisters, ¿tú sabes?
A curandera helps Serena to get to the fiesta, where she meets the love of her life. They eventually get married, of course—but not before she obtains her medical degree and opens La Clinica de Mujeres, which is right next door to his Escuela del Pueblo.
With dead-on details of Mexican art, culture, intellectualism and revolutionary activism, Salinas’s ink-and-acrylic paintings are amazing. Check out the titles on Serena’s bookshelf, por ejemplo, and see who’s at the fiesta. Highly recommended.