To be young, female and Latina in the kaleidoscopic world of New York City is the reality Phyllis Tashlik captured in this multifaceted volume. The voices that speak through its pages are Las Mujeres Hispanas, a group of Latina teenagers at Manhattan East, a public alternative school in New York City’s El Barrio. They met throughout the course of a year to read and discuss their reactions to the works of renowned female Hispanic authors as well as the concerns born from their own identities. Individually and as a collectivity they went on to write poems, stories, essays and interviews with prominent Latinas. Hispanic, Female and Young: An Anthology, the result of these endeavors, is an anthology of both Las Mujeres’ creative efforts and the literature that inspired them. It combines the fresh perspectives of the younger women with those of such seasoned, prize-winning authors as Lorna Dee Cervantes, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Roberta Fernández, Nicholasa Mohr, Pat Mora and many more. The resulting intergenerational dialogue includes remembrances of family and childhood, the difficulties and joys of growing up bilingual and bicultural, and what it is like to deal with both racism and misogynism.
Hispanic, Female and Young will set milestones for young Latino audiences on their roads to self-discovery and for more mature readers in their nostalgic pilgrimage to the past. It is a celebration of youth and of America’s ethnic diversity.