Issues of race, religion and machismo are movingly depicted in this groundbreaking coming-of-age novel that was one of the first by a Latina author to be hailed by the mainstream media. It's the summer of 1941, and all ten-year-old Nilda wants to do is enjoy the cool water from an open fire hydrant with her friends. But policemen lash out at the Puerto Rican residents, ending their fun. The cops' animosity is played out over and over again in Nilda's life as she is repeatedly treated with contempt by adults in positions of authority. At home, though, Nilda is surrounded by a loving but eccentric family that - while experiencing financial hardship - supports and encourages her artistic abilities. This new edition contains a preface by the author and a foreword by children's literature expert and author Alma Flor Ada.