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Briefly Noted: Latino/a Literature in the Classroom edited by Frederick Luis Aldama

by Daniel A. Olivas

In this first volume of its type, Frederick Luis Aldama has gathered a broad range of scholarly yet practical essays into a comprehensive guide for the teaching of Latino/a literature.  The prolific Aldama is perfectly suited to do so.  Aside from being an Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at The Ohio State University, he also directs the university’s Latino Studies Program and is the founder and director of the Latino and Latin American Studies Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER).  The author of nineteen books, Aldama has written not only about Latino/a literature, but also film, theatre, and comics.

The volume’s three dozen essays offer a wide variety of pedagogical methods and approaches to teaching literary and narrative forms from fiction to poetry, plays to film, comic books to children’s literature, and everything in between.  The contributors also address issues and opportunities with respect to classroom and textual diversity such as gender, sexual orientation and identity, disability, nationality, and other “differences” that are often ignored or under-conceptualized.

The book also includes fifteen lesson plans on the teaching of specific authors such as Ana Castillo, Pat Mora, Arturo Islas, Andrés Montoya, and other important Latino/a authors.

The table of contributors reads like a who’s who of Latino/a scholarship and includes professors as Sheila Marie Contreras (Michigan State), Paula Moya (Stanford), Randy Ontiveros (University of Maryland), Richard T. Rodríguez (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), and Aldama himself.

By bringing together this impressive stable of scholars, Aldama hopes to offer educators a variety of tools in the teaching of Latino/a literature.  The result is a book that is as compelling as it is necessary especially, as Aldama notes, in the current environment where there is a “general assault on the teaching of the humanities—and even more so subjects like Latino Studies in places like Arizona....”  There is little doubt that this volume will become a mainstay for educators who wish to teach Latino/a literature in today’s classroom.


Daniel A. Olivas is the author of seven books including the award-winning novel, The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press, 2011), and Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews (San Diego State University Press, 2014).

He has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, La Bloga (where he blogs on Latino/a literature), and many other print and online publications.  He earned his degree in English literature from Stanford University, and law degree from UCLA.

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