Book written by Judith Ortiz Cofer

A collection of 12 emotional and honest stories about Puerto Rican youth is found in An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio, written by Judith Ortiz Cofer. The young teenagers in the book live within the same community, but they lead very different lives. All of them, though, are learning about who they are and where they come from.

The characters in An Island Like You share their problems with most teenagers. Sandra doesn’t mind the way she looks until she notices that she isn’t a conventional Latina girl like her friends. Arturo listens to his sick abuelo (grandfather) tell his story of growing up in Puerto Rico and begins to understand that their lives aren’t very different.

Rita travels to Puerto Rico, visits San Juan for the first time and finds her family there strange and foreign. But after spending more time with them, she knows there is something special about her culture.

Doris tries to show her community how to accept a homosexual man with HIV by helping to put on a play. She finds that people resist at first, but then they begin to accept one another.

Each child in An Island Like You is unique, but all are trying to overcome the challenges of living in a community that has its own customs and rules. It is a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages as the stories are entertaining, moving and diverse.

Review by TANYA THURMAN