Seeds of Struggle, Songs of Hope: Poetry of Emerging Youth y Sus Maestros del Movimiento

editor: raúlrsalinas
editor: Jennifer Shen
El Centro de la Raza, 1997
grades 4-up
Mexican American

It is never too early to expose children to good poetry. This excellent volume, done by the young people and their teachers who participated in El Centro de la Raza’s summer youth leadership conference’s writing workshop in 1997, is a companion to ¡Word Up! Hope for Youth Poetry from El Centro de la Raza (1992). In Spanish, English and Spanglish, the poems and artwork in Seeds of Struggle are an example of what our youngsters are capable of, when they are acknowledged as our most valuable resource.

In their introduction, Hap Bockelie and raúlrsalinas write: “When oppression becomes so unbearable to a people, poetry, among other forms of expression, flows and gushes forth, as part of the human spirit’s rebel scream against injustice.” It is the nurturing of this scream in a safe environment that has produced, for the past three years, pieces such as this group poem:

Hay que poner atención
la historia de nuestra gente
Quieren robar de repente
Don’t you know this is our home
El Centro es nuestro canton
Para seguir la nación
De conquistas y traiciones
We have truth in our canciones
You can’t buy us out with fear
People shed tears for what is here
They gave us their corazones.

Seeds of Struggle is highly recommended.

—Beverly Slapin
(published 9/22/14)

This review first appeared in A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children, edited by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin (AltaMira Press, 2005). We thank the publisher for permission.

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