Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Title

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Authors

Margarita Engle

Illustrator

Rudy Gutierrez

Publisher

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Publication Year

2018

ISBN

9781534409439

Pages

179 pages

Genre

historical

Format

novel

Item Type

Fiction

Annotation

Thousands of Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are young, scared, and longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls dance with the sailors until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder. Suddenly the restless white sailors are attacking the girls' brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence - but really these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin.

Grade Level

6-8; 9-12

Lexile Measure

1300L

Diversity Topics

Family Relationships; Racial Diversity; Military families; Race discrimination; racism; prejudice;segregation; marginalized group of people; brother in the military

Main Character

male child; female teenager; male teenager

Race/Ethnicities

Mexican

Awards

Choices, 2019 Fiction Young Adult
Notable Children's Books, 2019 Older Readers
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2019 Grades 9-12

Keywords

poetry; 1940s; police brutality; war; mexican; segregation; white privilege

Diversity Impact

direct

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

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