National Velvet was my favorite as a girl! The movie, starring a young Elizabeth Taylor, is great as well.
This Monday morning, you may still be reeling from a weekend of Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo-themed adventures. If you still feel like celebrating, spend some time this week reading Mexican-American literature and learning about the origins of the margarita-happy holiday, checking out a gallery of fun Kentucky derby fashion, and reading an inspiring story about a young girl’s success in another horse race.
On Your Kindle
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros is one of the most esteemed contemporary Mexican-American writers. In this story, set in a Chicano neighborhood in Chicago, Cisneros weaves together vignettes that blur the line between poetry and prose to craft the coming-of-age tale of Esperanza, a girl of Mexican-American descent who is just starting to cross the border into womanhood.
In the vignettes, which are not arranged chronologically and which can at times create a feeling of disjointedness, Esperanza reveals her own American dream: More than anything, she wants to move from the tiny, cramped house on Mango Street where she lives with her family into a “real” house, complete with a yard, running water, and cheerful décor. As Esperanza grows up over the course of the book, her dreams grow with her.
On Your Smartphone
Fun and Fashion at the Kentucky Derby, kansascity.com
Ah, the Kentucky Derby: A near holy day for preppies, complete with mint juleps, seersucker suits, and hats that would rival those of a certain princess. The fun of the Derby is just as much about fashion and the chance to be outlandish and old-fashioned as it is about the races. This morning, take a few minutes to look over the fashion highlights in this slideshow.
[Editor's Note: This article is unfortunately no longer live.]
On a Podcast
Cinco de Mayo: Holiday History Lost in Marketing, The Associated Press
As May 5 rolls around each year, Cinco de Mayo can feel like a big party celebrating tequila, fajitas, and sombreros. But what does the holiday really celebrate? This quick news clip explains the commercialization of this Americanized holiday (noting that the celebrity of the holiday in Mexico is comparable to that of Flag Day in the United States). Listen to learn a bit about the origins of Cinco de Mayo—and to catch a few fun notes of a Mariachi band.
National Velvet, by Enid Bagnold
National Velvet is much more than a classic children’s story-turned-acclaimed-film starring a young Elizabeth Taylor. The novel, published in 1935, is an early example of a female heroine achieving improbable success. Twelve-year-old Velvet Brown dreams of glory for her horse, Piebald. Through hard work and good luck, Velvet enters the Grand National steeplechase as the horse’s jockey, masquerading as a boy. Her story was one of the first that inspired girls to defy norms and follow their dreams, and it’s an inspiring one for horse-lovers and people-lovers alike.