A noteworthy review of A Proud Heritage: The Hispanic Library from MultiCultural Review on September 1, 2003
The eight volumes in this series for students in the middle elementary grades cover the Hispanic experience from a wide variety of perspectives. One general volume, America’s Latinos, gives a broad overview of Spanish exploration and settlement in the New World, followed by a description of the major countries of origin of Hispanics in the United States, a chapter on Hispanic culture, and brief portraits of 13 notable Hispanic Americans today. Other entries take on much more specific topics. One notable feature about the subjects chosen is that they do not all fit neatly into what one might call ‘A Proud Heritage’ (though a few, such as the labor leader Cesar Chavez, do). The biographical volumes include one on Coronado, whose remarkable explorations are described along with his self-admitted failures in the search for gold and his cruelty to native Americans. The book on Fox, the Mexican president, tells a necessarily incomplete story, as well as one on a figure not directly part of the Hispanic experience in the United States. The volumes on the Mexican War (which, as the author says, was a war the United States started) and the Alamo describe historical episodes with questionable actions and motivations as well as heroism from all sides involved. The books tell their stories with clear text at a fifth-grade reading level, a number of color photos and illustrations, and several sidebars on related topics. Each entry includes a time line, a brief glossary of words bolded in the text, a list of books and web sites for further reading, a short list of works consulted by the author, and an index. The books in this series each do a good job of providing students with an understanding of their chosen subjects, though the range of subjects show just how little of the Hispanic heritage can be covered in just eight books.
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