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Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War
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Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to life the story of a Mexican-American war hero

José de la LuzSáenz(1888–1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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Alex  Baugh
It's not often enough that I get to read and report on books written about Mexicans and/or Mexican Americans in WWI and WWII, but it's not for a lack of heroes, rather it is for a lack of books written about them for kids and teens. So I was really happy to see that Duncan Tonatiuh, one of my favorite Mexican American writers, has written a wonderful new picture book for older readers that is a such an important contribution to the history of Mexican Americans in this country.

Despite being born
This picture book pleased me, primarily because it covers territory that has been previously ignored and reminds readers of the irony of men willing to give their lives for a country and freedoms that their own people still did not enjoy. Hand-drawn and digital collage illustrations created in the illustrator's usual distinctive style with a nod toward tradition Mixtec style complement the story of Jose de la Luz Saenz and his involvement in WWI. As a young boy growing up in Texas, he endured ...more
Maria McGrath
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-bios
Duncan Tonatiuh’s singular, signature illustration style, based on the art of the Mixtec people, is a perfect accompaniment to his retelling of the story of José de la Luz Sáenz. An exceptional but little known—not even a Wikipedia entry, yet—figure, Sáenz wrote what is, according to historians, the only war diary published by an American World War I soldier of Mexican descent. (I found this nugget of information and many others in the author’s note.) Tonatiuh conveys the sentiments, and ...more
Sydnee Peterson
This story tells the story of José de la Luz Sáenz, a Mexican American born in the Unites States during World War I and was discriminated against. This book sheds light on what it was like to be a Mexican American and the challenges that he faced his whole life. I love how this book uses real quotes from Luz's journal. I feel like that adds a personal touch on the book that students will find intriguing as I did. Luz was able to learn languages very quickly which aided him in his recruitment ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well written informative text about Jose de la Luz Saenz's life. Tonatiuh takes readers from his childhood through WW1 and on to working for equality for Mexican and Latinx people in the US.
The illustration style works with the text.
Susan Morris
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I’m a big fan of this author/illustrator! He discovers cool, little known topics, and I love his unique illustrations! Very interesting read. (Library)
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating picturebook biography of an unsung hero.
Rebecca Plaza
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a cool story of persistence, resilience, and sacrifice. Readers will be enthralled at his wisdom, opportunity and way he found to make change. More about Jose de la Luz Saenz. Cool stuff!
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
I love learning about new individuals from our nation's history and the remarkable difference one person can make in the fabric of our collective story.
Alyssa Gudenburr
A great book about Jose De La Luz Saenz and his fight for equal rights for Mexican Americans. A very important book to read to upper elementary children.
Alex Wakeham
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I was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I received my BFA from Parsons School of Design and my BA from Eugene Lang College, both of them divisions of the New School University in New York City.

My first picture book "Dear Primo, a letter to my cousin" is published by H N Abrams and will be in stores March 1st, 2010.

My illustrations of the AH1N1 in Mexico were