Jazz owls : a novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Engle, Margarita, author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Margarita Engle ; art by Rudy Gutierrez
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication First edition. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2018] ©2018
  • Physical Details
    • 179 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
  • ISBNs 9781534409439, 1534409432, 9781534409446, 1534409440, 9781534409453
  • OCLC on1000447275


  • 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. In soaring images and searing poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle could tell it. -- From dust jacket.


  • Includes bibliographical references (page 178).


  • Machine generated contents note: The River of Music -- Swimming Season -- Barefoot -- Peeled -- Ghostly? -- Victory Familia -- Americanos All!
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