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Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  25 reviews
I want
to see
what is
on the other side of the dust

When the towers fall, New York City is blanketed by dust. On the Lower East Side, Yolanda, the Cinnamon Girl, makes her manda, her promise, to gather as much of it as she can. Maybe returning the dust to Ground Zero can comfort all the voices. Maybe it can help Uncle DJ open his eyes again.

As tragedies from her past mix in th
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 9th 2005 by Rayo
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From the book jacket When the towers fall, New York City is blanketed by dust. On the lower East Side, Yolanda makes her manda, her promise, to gather as much of it as she can. As tragedies from her past mix in the air of an unthinkable present, Yolanda searches for hope. Maybe it’s buried somewhere in the silvery dust of Alphabet City.

My reactions
This slim volume is told entirely in free verse. The poems are visceral and disturbing, emotional and moving. And yet, I felt somehow removed from Yo
Cinnamon Girl tells the story of Yolanda, a young girl whose family has been affected by the September 11th attacks. Written in free verse poetry, the reader gets a glimpse of experiencing and overcoming tragedy through the poems and letters that Yolanda has kept inside a cereal box. It reiterates the strength of family pulling together during hard times. The language is descriptive and expressive, generating great imagery and allowing the reader to empathize with the characters. The story is mo ...more
Kris Dersch
I think I would have liked this less had I read it at a different time, but today, on the 9/11 anniversary, it gave me the feels I wanted it to give me.
It is sort of a poetry/novel in verse lacks some of the linear structures I would expect a novel in verse to have but is more of a narrative than your average poetry collection. It walks to the edge of magical realism without quite going there and that is not my thing but I didn't mind it so much today, nor did I mind the kind of disj
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I felt compelled to write this review because I saw many who said they found this book confusing; Don't read this like a novel, it is poetry. I loved how this collection of poems flowed between reality and her letters to Uncle Beto/DJ. Through the letters we see the close relationship Yolanda/ Carnelita and Uncle Beto have. He is her mentor, supporter, critic and sounding board. We also learn through her letters of her wild past and the loss of a close freind that still haunts her. In the poems ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Yolanda, the cinnamon girl, or Canelita as her uncle affectionately calls her, has had a difficult year and this is a snapshot of her working to take back a feeling of control and comfort. It is a fascinating story of a girl from Puerto Rico, thus American from birth, living in the states and experiencing life like an immigrant.

We experience most of the story through freeform poetry and letters between Yolanda and her Uncle DJ. Even though the protagonist is 13 the choice to put it in as YA make
1CCinnamon Girl 1D is a poem that reads like a story. Of course, the author Juan Felipe Herrera must have been compelled to provide an interesting narrative 13 the poem is 152 pages long! Guau! This story about a young Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx sucked me right in. The twin towers have just been brought down, and Herrera 19s main character Yolanda is dealing with the tragedy in her own way. Her uncle is dying, and her crack head friends are headed in the same direction. The poem reflects ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Age of Readership:

12-15 years


Novel in verse


Puerto Rican/Latinos

Personal Reponse:

I was very confused when I started this book. I had to reread a few of the poems because I didn't quite understand his style. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was an excellent book. It is one that made me shed a tear. It brings together narrative poems that keep the story moving, letters from Yolanda's past that describe how she got to where she currently is, and Yolanda's poetry to make this sto
Dec 16, 2010 added it
i think this is an okay book so far because its mostly like its a poetry book to say. At first wen i started t read it i didn't really like it. Now hat i started to read this book for a little while but now that read it for a little i kinda like not fully grown to it yet. I'm not really into it yet like you think i am there's no excitement yet for me. My expectations are for some mystery an crime or something i just hope this book isn't dull like most books. I mean the tittle is so catchy. The p ...more
Hannah Anderson
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for a class. It is beautifully styled, written in poetry.

I would recommend this to all teens, especially those who are working through loss. This book addresses loss and discusses different coping mechanisms, many of which are bad. This book is beautifully written and could be enjoyed by a large audience.

In a classroom, this book is good for discussing the nature of friendships. Other topics for class conversations would include bullying, loss, and family relationships. This book als
This novel is written in free verse. It is about a girl named Yolanda who's uncle was injured when the towers fell on Sept. 11. Yolanda spends her time gathering up the dust from the towers to quiet the voices. She is very close to her uncle. There are letters in a cereal box that she wrote back and forth to her uncle and they are being read every so often. A definite Latino theme in this book is extended family.

This book has upper level content and would be suitable for junior high to high sch
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I'll probably be unpopular for saying this in the Goodreads world, but I just didn't love this. It was good, but not great. However, I must also remember that it's written as free verse and is not a novel, so it shouldn't READ like a novel, which maybe I wished it would. It is an interesting book and I would like to teach with it, but as a pick up and enjoy the read, this might not be it. It deals with several tough issues--September 11th, loss, the immigrant experience, drugs--in a lyrical way, ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite collection. Not sure if it's cause it's YA, but I just couldn't get into it.

Its by the current poet laureate of the US, a Latino poet. The narrative poetry follows a young woman in the Midwest struggling to deal with growing up in a Puerto Rican family as her uncle faces a health crisis.

Wasn't for me, but might be for you!
Jul 02, 2016 added it
Shelves: poetry
To begin, I do not appreciate poetry in the way it should be appreciated. This was no different. I found myself stumbling to determine what the author was trying to communicate. I think she visited a tarot card reader, and I think she smoked some kind of drug. But then, in the final twenty pages, the story came alive and I was glad I had stuck with it.
Alyse Liebovich
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I was hoping to use this book as another example for students to check out to learn more about how teenagers reacted to 9/11, but I had a hard time following the storyline, and I'm not sure how much the free verse format would appeal to students if it's already kind of unclear what's going on in the narration.
Erica Cohen
May 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Cinnamon Girl is a free poetry book that tells the story of a girl. Yolanda who has been affected by the September 11 attacks. The book is filled with descriptive and expressive language. However, the book was confusing and I had to reread several times to comprehend. The book jumps frequently between past and present. The book is unclear and inferences have to be made from cover to cover.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Serendipitous that I was reading a book on the topic of 9/11 around the anniversary of those events. Cinnamon Girl is the story on a young Puerto Rican girl and her famiy centering on her uncle that is injured on that fateful day. The story is told through the letters of Yolanda and her Uncle DJ and Yolanda's poetry. It is an interesting twist on the events that unfolded that day in 2001.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americas-award
2006 Americas Award Winner
A story that takes place during the 9/11 attacks.

A bit confusing because it switches to before the attacks and after.

Quite different than Margarita Engle's perspective writing.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
It was alright...My copy was an ARC though. It was fine, but didn't really care for it one way or another.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya
I was not a fan of this book. It is written in verse, which is fine, but I think it's a little too abstract; I had a hard time following the plot. I would not recommend this book.
Jan 09, 2011 added it
Shelves: teen, fiction
No memory of this one.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great quick read. Different style than I usually read, well written.
Kelly  O’Grady
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
My mother taught me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Novel in verse. A girl deals with the death of her uncle post-9/11.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Kept jumping around between the past and future and present and who was talking. I couldn't finish it.
Aug 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Related to 9/11. The first fiction I've read relating to that. A bit hard to follow.
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2015
Allison HedgeCoke
rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2007
rated it liked it
Feb 21, 2014
rated it did not like it
Jun 08, 2011
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Juan Felipe Herrera is the only son of Lucha Quintana and Felipe Emilio Herrera; the three were campesinos living from crop to crop on the roads of the San Joaquín Valley, Southern California and the Salinas Valley. Herrera's experiences as the child of migrant farmers have strongly shaped his work, such as the children's book Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats award in 1997. He is a ...more

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