Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (anthology)

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  • Vocabulary: combination of English and Spanish (many poems have una mezcla)
    • Poems translated to English from Spanish and vice versa
  • No Lexile rating for poetry books, but appropriate for 7th through 12th grade
  • Wide variety of syntax complexity
  • Requires understanding of poetry conventions (lack of punctuation, personification, metaphor, simile)


  • Many voices and experiences represented, but specifically about being Latino
  • Poems sorted into categories: Language and Identity; Neighborhoods; Amor; Family Moments, Memories; Victory
  • Many poems are about the struggle to communicate

Goodness: YES!

  • Poems could be used to teach students about:
    • Sensory language, metaphor, simile, etc.
    • Exploration of identity
  • Use poems as mentor texts and ask students to write poems about stereotypes, their neighborhood, their family
  • Pair with Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States



Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings – Margarita Engle


  1. Is it Accessible?
    1. Yes! It’s a poetic memoir (good for learning a new genre!) with English and some Spanish and Russian
    2. Lexile Level: 1120
    3. Ages 12+
  2. Is it Relevant?
    1. Totally! Use for themes of Language as power, especially censorship and code-switching
    2. Connect to Social Studies for Cold War Era
  3. Is it Good?
    1. Very! I used this for a “Culturally Conscious Communicators” unit with Sophomores. We focused on themes of Culture, language and identity.
  4. Other texts to explore:
    1. Partner it with Inside Out and Back Again!
    2. “What Kind of Asian are you?” Youtube video
    3. “3 ways to speak English” Jamila LyiscottTED talk