Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle - Book Review

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Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots Cover Image
By Margarita Engle, Rudy Gutierrez (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534409439
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 8th, 2018

Get out your drapes and start to jump, leap and swing to the beat! Mexican-American born sisters, 16-year-old Marisela and 14-year-old Lorena just want to dance after a long day working in the cannery. Their 12-year-old brother, Ray (also born in the States, as was their father), chaperones them as their older brother is fighting overseas. As prejudices start to boil over, the same sailors that danced with the girls (girls of Mexican, Cuban, even Chinese heritage) want to show that “uppity Cuban musician” (16-year-old Manolito of Cuba) and the “uppity Zoot-suit wearing Gangsters” (like Ray) a lesson. What would be known as the Zoot Suit Riots (but as the girls point out should have been known as Sailor Riots) explodes with violence, humiliation and arrests of the wrong people. This tells of a probably little-known piece of history, but one that was told throughout the country in various forms. Pieces of historical, music and even a bit of Mexican and Cuban heritage is given as the girls and Ray grow during the years of WW2 in California. ~ Reviewed by Jeanette

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