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Cantora

Mercedes Sosa,

The Voice of Latin America


A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


Knopf Books for Young Readers

(pub. 9.12.2023) 48 pages

Ages 4-8

Author and Illustrator: Melisa Fernández Nitsche

Character: Mercedes Sosa

Overview:

" The folk rhythm of the bombo drum beats like a heart, with a resonant voice singing the truth of her people. Mercedes Sosa sang about what it means to be human, and her songs of struggle always spoke the truth of the injustice that so many workers and families in Latin America faced. 


As a teen, she won a local radio contest, and as her confidence grew, so did her fame. From a folk festival to Carnegie Hall and the Sistine Chapel, Mercedes performed the world over, sharing stories through song. But not everyone loved her singing: a military dictatorship ruled over Argentina, and they saw the power of her voice. Even from exile, Mercedes Sosa was a beacon of freedom for her people, and when she returned to her homeland, she persisted in her work: to be the voice of the voiceless."

Tantalizing taste:


" She had to flee to Europe, carrying only her bombo, three suitcases, and a handbag.

But some things didn't fit in her luggage ...

Mercedes missed her family.

She'd hear Spanish songs on the radio and hum along under her breath.

In exile, she couldn't taste her mother's homemade locro, and the sweet scent of the orange trees was nowhere to be found.

The love for her homeland only grew stronger.

The farther you are from home, the closer it is to your heart, she thought."

And something more: Melisa Fernández Nitsche, in the Author's Note explains that "Mercedes Sosa has been a familiar voice to me since my childhood: at school events, on the radio, and on TV... I spent months researching Mercedes... What captivated me the most was her authenticity and the strength in her voice. Mercedes chose to sing songs about things she found important and wanted to speak up on, doing so in a tough and complicated political context in which singing was a life commitment."

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