DescriptionSammy and Juliana in Hollywood Teaching Guide
“Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood is our American Graffiti. No, that’s not right. It’s our Mexican Graffiti.” —Denise Chavez
The Hollywood where Sammy Santos and Juliana Ríos live is not the one on the West Coast, the one with all the glitz and glitter. This Hollywood is a tough barrio at the edges of a small town in southern New Mexico. The year is 1969 and Sammy and his fellow citizens of Hollywood attend Las Cruces High School where they face a world of racism, dress codes, the war in Vietnam and the everyday violence of their own barrio. In the summer before his senior year begins, Sammy falls in love with Juliana, a girl whose tough veneer disguises a world of hurt.
In Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, Benjamin Alire Sáenz captures the essence of what it meant to grow up Chicano in Smalltown America in the late 1960s. He creates a cast of characters that embody humor, toughness, innocence and survival —and in doing so, he evokes the bitter-sweet ambience found in such novels as Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show.
"The first thing the dead do is lose their voices. But they have their ways of making us listen. Maybe the dead need those of us who made it out alive to go out into the streets and tell everyone what happened. Maybe they want us to do more than tell. Maybe they want us to shout. Maybe they want us to point fingers. Maybe they want us to tell anyone who'll stop and listen that once, the world was theirs, too. Maybe they won't leave us alone until we say their names out loud again and again and again."—Sammy SantosTeachers:
This book offers an opportunity for rich theme-based discussions. Educator Helen Buchanan created this teacher's guide to be used in the classroom. The story allows students to learn from Sammy as he experiences some of life's difficult transitions which include: first love, friends moving, high school graduation, heartbreak, personal sense of loss, issues of alienation, and the death of both family and friends.