Manuel Cruz is a native of East Los Angeles born on August 2, 1931. His mother, originally from Culiacan, Mexico and his father from Jalisco, Mexico met in Los Angeles, and had six children; Henry, Connie, Frank, Terry, Manuel, and Rosie. Manuel Cruz grew up in the racially segregated and ethnticaly diverse communities of Los Angeles and Rosemead. He attended a segregated elementary school, Amelia Elementary School, in Little Tokyo. Among other things, his family picked grapes in Bakersfield alongside dustbowl refugees from Oklahoma. Manuel grew up witnessing and participating in many of the defining historic moments were the Chicano movement was taking place. While living in Los Angeles, he lived through the Mexican Repatriation Act, Zoot Zoot Riots, Chavez Ravine crisis, police violence, gang violence and legal racial exclusions of Mexicans and minorities.
Back in print, Cruz’s iconic children’s book details a Chicana/o Christmas story. This book is suitable for all ages and available in a bilingual translation so all can enjoy! A Chicano Christmas Story is beautifully illustrated and lovingly handcrafted by both Manuel Cruz and the team at SPARC. Help to support artists and SPARC by purchasing A Chicano Christmas Story for your family today.