" Si, Se Puede / Yes, We Can " is a bilingual fictional story set against the backdrop of the successful janitors strike in Los Angeles in 2000. It tells about Carlitos, whose mother is a janitor. Every night, he sleeps while his mother cleans in one of the skyscrapers in downtown L.A. When she comes home, she waves Carlitos off to school before she goes to sleep. One night, his mama explains that she can t make enough money to support him and his abuelita the way they need unless she makes more money as a janitor. She and the other janitors have decided to go on strike.
How will Carlitos support his mother? Carlitos wants to help but he cannot think of a way until his teacher, Miss Lopez, explains in class how her own grandfather had fought for better wages for farmworkers when he first came to the United States. He and the other children in his class join the marchers with a very special sign for his mom
" Si, Se Puede " is a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book, a Skipping Stones Honor Book, as well as a selection for The Best of Beyond Difference, a recommended list of the top 10 diversity books published in 2002.
Diana Cohn, the author, is a social activist. As an elementary teacher, she discovered there were few books for children that discussed social issues, so she began to write as an avocation. She now works as Program Director for the Solidago Foundation, a foundation that supports communities working for economic and environmental justice. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California.
Francisco Delgado, the illustrator, grew up in Juarez, Chihuahua, but completed high school in El Paso, Texas. He will -receive his MFA at Yale in Painting, Drawing, and Printmaking in May 2002. Francisco is becoming known nationally for his political paintings that satirize U.S. icons blind to the mestizo and immigrant communities of Mexico. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Luis J. Rodriguez ("Always Running") adds the afterword and a poem.