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STORIES FROM THE BARRIO AND OTHER 'HOODS began as a collection of stories for Margarita Velez' children. She moved around the country with her husband and feared the children would miss the family hearth she experienced as a child. She wrote a permanent record of the people, customs and traditions that were integral in her life. Margarita Velez weaves her recollections of Abuelita, Mama, Papa and his exploits in the war and an assortment of relatives and other people who influenced her life. There's the man who sold bananas and painted his philosophy on cardboard signs nailed to the horsedrawn wagon. In charming, poignant stories, Velez tells about growing up in El Paso, Texas where the international flavor of the desert city blends like a good salsa, with enough spice to whet anybody's appetite. Readers will enjoy Margarita's stories because they are told in a way that makes everyone relate to them.