Celia Cruz was posthumously recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Cruz—known to many as "The Queen of Salsa"—may have died 13 years ago, but her legacy still lives strong in the vibrant rhythms of her albums and the hearts of her loyal fans.
Celia Cruz's powerful voice and hip-swaying music earned her international fame and numerous awards, including three Grammy awards and four Latin Grammys over the decades. During her lifetime, Cruz (whose given name was Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso) made 23 gold albums and was one the most popular Latin artists of the 20th Century. In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton.
Here's your chance to introduce your children to this world-renowned musician who represents a big part of our collective Latino culture.
1. "Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa" by Veronica Chambers
Beautifully written, "Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa" sweeps us away into Celia's childhood and her subsequent rise to fame. You'll learn about what she was like as a little girl, how the country felt when she became the lead singer of their favorite band, and with whom she eventually found love. Even as a young girl, her amazing voice stood out and captured the attention of her family and friends. Did you know that her neighbors used to gather outside her home and beg her father to leave the door open so that they could hear her singing lullabies to the younger children? This book also contains a selected discography in the back.
2. "My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz" by Monica Brown
This award-winning bilingual picture book presents Celia's life through a first-person account. Despite the hardships she faced, such as her exile from her beloved Cuba, Celia maintained her positive outlook and enthusiasm for music. Rafael Lopez's extraordinary illustrations add rich details to bring Celia's story to life. It's a must-have for any Latino family's home library!
Get your nenes dancing by watching some videos of Celia Cruz singing for children. The cantante made several guest appearances on "Sesame Street," singing to her toe-tapping salsa and wearing fun, colorful costumes. Your kids can learn to count from 1 to 10, or watch Big Bird singing along with Celia in Spanish!
4. Historical Hero Worksheets
Education.com has a series of worksheets dedicated to historical figures who have made an impact on American and world history. You can download one for Celia Cruz for free from their site to share with your child.
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has an incredible online exhibit dedicated to Celia. See pictures of her as a child, learn about her music, and take a peek into her dressing room to see some of the remarkably flamboyant costumes she was known to wear.