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Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla

Last updated Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Author: Diana López
Illustrator: Teresa Martinez
Date of Publication: 2021
ISBN: 0593110951
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2023

Synopsis: From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena's rise to stardom, from front-lining her family's band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena's dedication - learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family - sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Tejano music is style that fuses Mexican, European, and U.S. influences. Its evolution began in northern Mexico and Texas. In the 1960’s, it had evolved into its 3rd form, called grupo which married its original conjunto origins with keyboards and synthesizers. Selena would go on to become the most famous Tejano grupo artist.


•  Bass guitar: the Bass serves as the foundation instrument in a band, providing the rhytymic and harmonic framework that supports and elevates the overlaying music. Typically has 4-6 heavy strings and is the lowest pitched type of guitar
•  Recession: a period of time when the economy is struggling, jobs are hard to find
•  Music producer: helps the musician/artist to organize, pay for, and market their recording, guides and shapes the sound, and helps them to bring their vision to life

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How does Selena feel about moving to a new city? Have you ever moved to a new place, gone to a new school, a new classroom? How did it make you feel? Were you excited? Nervous? A little bit of both?
•  Selena’s father explains that they punished for speaking Spanish in school so they taught their children only English so they could succeed. How do you feel about this?
•  At first, Selena did not know much Spanish and she has to study very hard to learn it. When was a time that you had to work very hard to learn something new? How did you practice? Who helped you?
•  Selena was told that there was no room for girls in the Tejano music world. How did she respond to this? Have you ever been told that you could not do something? How would you react?
•  Look at the first picture and the last picture in the book. How are they similar? How are they different?

Craft ideas:
•  Selena’s family has a name for their bus – Big Bertha. If your family had a traveling bus, what you would call it? How would you decorate it? Inspirational ideas are at https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/february-2023-people-places-around-the-world/2nd-grade-sing-with-me-the-story-of-selena-quintan/
•  Make your own band. Who would be in it? Your family and/or friends? What is the name of your band and what type of music do you play? Draw each person and their instruments wearing your stage outfits. https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/february-2023-people-places-around-the-world/2nd-grade-sing-with-me-the-story-of-selena-quintan/

Special activities:
•  Try learning a popular Tejano dance called the cumbia to one of Selena’s songs. https://pin.it/4pRZApt (Tik Tok step by step)
•  When Selena and her family drove to their new city, they sang and beat rhythms in the car without instruments. Try this rhythmic body percussion play along https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAbbncG24ck (Roblox clap stomp pat - 3 minutes 59 seconds)
•  Selena’s famous performance is at her concert at the Astrodome. Watch a clip of it here and describe what you see. What is the mood of the audience? What kind of energy does the band have? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOpZylrrymM&list=RDBqi7DSA1Vd4&index=3 (6 minutes 44 seconds)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!