Tesoro by Yesika Salgado is Ackerman’s Community Book Club November book of the month. The author, a Salvadorian-American writer, is a two-time National Poetry Slam finalist and the recipient of the 2020 International Latino Book Award in Poetry. A self-described “fat, fly, and brown poet and activist,” Salgado writes about “her family, her culture, her city, and her fat brown body.” Each poem in Tesoro glimpses into the complexity and multidimensionality of forging an identity as a Latina growing up in the stigmatized and racialized US society.
In this, her second book, Salgado answers the questions that evaded her before:
“How did I learn to love? to forgive? how did I become the woman, the lover, and poet that I am? this book turned into a closer look at myself. all the women I have been, who I will be. my hunger for answers. the gray space between my languages. the balance of two countries. the city I was born into. the bitter and sweet of my life. Tesoro, is the unearthing of what is most sacred to me. my treasure; the women who raised me, the women who keep me, the woman that I am”—Yesika Salgado
When working with Latino, Latina, Latinx youth, research has identified therapists’ over-reliance on narrowly-understood cultural interpretations; these studies suggest that practitioners underestimate the complexity that diversity brings to the clinical encounter and frequently dismiss the salience of structural barriers. This treasure of a book carries the possibility for us, therapists and trainees, to re-examine how we construct and intervene in the worlds of young Latinas, Latinos, Latinx, and their families. Salgado’s poetry gives us access to the human dimension of growing up as a second-generation Latina in the US, grounding herself in her rich relational and structural contexts while unapologetically challenging our biases and preconceptions.
Book club selection and description written by Gloria Lopez-Henriquez, DSW, LCSW
Featured image of Yesika Salgado by Ruth In Truth Visuals
About Ackerman’s Community Book Club:
Ackerman’s Community Book Club is a monthly series of reading recommendations curated by our family therapy instructors. We invite you to read one book each month that explores diversity, equity, and inclusion and join us on a pathway to curiosity. The books on our list have been selected with the aim of increasing knowledge, empathy, willingness, and skill to confront xenophobia as therapists, educators, and lifelong learners, in the personal and professional spaces we occupy.