Monday, June 10, 2013

Guest post: Chulito: A Novel by Charles Rice-Gonzalez and Street Dreams by Tama Wise

Chulito’s been best friends with Carlos since they were 5, but Carlos goes away to college, while Chulito runs for the local Hunts Point dealer, Kamikaze, and has dropped out of school. When Chulito and Carlos reconnect, Chulito realizes that his feelings for his friend may be deeper than he's ready to admit. This book is full of sex, drugs and real life on the streets of the Bronx, but it’s also a story about betrayal, loyalty, choosing love and not losing everything. Only collections that include other adult urban fiction books will find this book appropriate, but it’s high-quality writing, and shows men being tough and truly loving at the same time. Librarians andteachers looking for a more school-appropriate book should get Street Dreams, by Tama Wise. Set in urban New Zealand, it has some unfamiliar local vocabulary, but is for every fan of hip-hop, graffiti, and breakdancing. Tyson, the main character, falls in with a local crew of rappers and graffiti artists and falls for their promoter, Marc. Will he be able to connect with him without alienating the leader of the crew, Seige, and his best friend? One or both of these books should be included in any high school library collection--GLBTQ students need to see themselves in urban lit.  -- Andrea Swenson

Rice-Gonzalez, Charles. Chulito: a Novel. New York: Magnus Books, 2011. Print.

Wise, Tama. Street Dreams. Valley Falls: Bold Strokes Books, 2012. Print.

Andrea Swenson is the school media specialist at East Side Community, a 6-12th grade public school in New York City. She loves to talk about books (no surprise!).  Andrea was recently recognized for her work with the chemistry teacher at East Side by the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement for incorporation of sustainability into chemistry education.

Andrea is curating a list of books with LGBTQ characters, themes and issues that are recommended for middle and high schools in New York City. You can find her lists and links here.

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