Latinos have contributed a tremendous amount to American cultural heritage, injecting energy, a unique style, and piquant flavor. This set profiles the big names from this century and the last who represent the highest achievement in their field and who have inspired, led, educated, informed, and entertained us. A diverse representation from the world of sports, entertainment, education, music, journalism, literature, and labor is offered. Biographical essays engagingly tell the story behind the icon, with background including family and education, career trajectory and highlights, and contributions and circumstances that have led to icon status. Along with these famous figures, several essays on other types of Latino pop culture icons-iconic characters from cartoons and comics and film and even iconic Latino foods-are included. Entertaining side bars and classic photos complement the essays. Perfect for student reports and browsing, with more in-depth coverage than an encyclopedia entry but less than a full biography, there is something fascinating and informative here for everyone.
Readers will find that that a number of the icons profiled were influenced by other icons profiled or have an important connection to one another. For example, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz performed together for many years. Actress Jennifer Lopez portrayed the singer Selena in a biopic. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta made the United Farm Workers union a reality. Furthermore, in telling the story of these icons, each essay relates so much of the historical and social issues of the times. Thus, together, these essays offer a good sense of recent Latino and Latin American history and progress. Icons include Desi Arnaz; Ruben Blades; Fabiola Cabeza de Baca; Cesar Chavez; Chiles, Tortillas, and the Mexican Food Explosion; Sandra Cisneros; Roberto Clemente; Celia Cruz; Placido Domingo; Jaime Escalante; Gordo, Speedy Gonzales, Dora the Explorer, Bondo, and La Cucaracha; Dolores Huerta; Jennifer Lopez; Rita Moreno; Edward James Olmos; Tito Puente; Ruben Salazar; Carlos Santana; Cristina Saralegui; Selena; Lee Trevino; Luis Valdez; Ritchie Valens; and Zorro.