Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Popular Music, Stuff for the Teen Age

Como La Flor: 5 Ways to Celebrate the Life of Selena Quintanilla


Selena Quintanilla was born April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. At the age of 9, she began performing music known as Tejano, the name given to a genre that is popular in the Texas/Mexico region, joining her older brother and sister in the band her father started, Selena y Los Dinos. Although Tejano music was a heavily male-dominated genre, Selena broke through the barrier and established herself as an artist, winning the 1987 Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Selena's popularity grew exponentially after the release of hits like “Como La Flor” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”. In 1994, she became the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy award, for her album Selena Live!  That same year, she released her album Amor Prohibido, which became one of the best-selling Latin albums in the United States.

Right when she was on the verge of crossing over into the mainstream English lanugage market, Selena was shot and killed by a former friend and business associate. She was only 23 at the time of her death, but had already earned the titles, La Reina de Tejano (The Queen of Tejano), The Queen of Cumbia, and the "Tejano Madonna." A fashion icon, designer, spokeswoman, and an overall inspiration for young women everywhere, Selena may be gone, but she will never be forgotten!

Selena Quintanilla's birthday, April 16, is known as Selena Day in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas—but if you can't make it to see her statue, don't worry! Here are five ways you can celebrate the life of one of the most influential Latin American artists of all time.

Selena movie cover

Watch the film Selena

Released two years after her death, Selena (1997) was made with the support of the Quintanilla family, who served as advisors on the film to ensure that this was an accurate portrayal of La Reina. A cult classic, the film also became the breakout hit for Jennifer Lopez, who played Selena with the approval of the Quintanilla family. Grab some tissues, order some pizza, and bask in the glory that is Selena .




To Selena, with Love book cover

Read the memoir To Selena, with Love by Chris Perez

Almost 20 years after her passing, Selena’s husband, Chris Perez, delivers an emotional and poignant glimpse into the life they shared. Perez joined Selena y Los Dinos as a guitarist in 1989, and he and Selena soon fell in love despite the disapproval of her manager father. Their instant connection, the forbidden love that eventually lead to a secret elopement, and their tragically brief marriage is reminiscent of a Shakespearean romance. Reading about how he fell in love with Selena will remind fans why they fell in love with her too.



The Life of/La Vida de Selena book cover

Share the picture book The Life of /La Vida De Selena: A Lil' Libros Bilingual Biography by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein

This bilingual board book about Selena earned a place on Amazon's Top 5 Best Sellers list within the first week of its release! It's part of the Lil’ Libros Bilingual Biography series, which  highlights Latin American and Hispanic culture through child-friendly picture books. This presents the life of the singer using both English and Spanish text ,as well as colorful illustrations that will help ensure that any little one who reads it will become a fan.

Lo Mejor de Selena CD cover

Check out Selena's albums

Selena released five studio albums during her lifetime, so there are plenty of hits for you to blast, aside from classics like "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "Como La Flor", and "Amor Prohibido" (but make sure to blast those too!). Selena was a fan of female artists such as Donna Summer, Paula Abdul, and Madonna, who all influenced her music and style. Checking out and supporting her music, and the music of other Latin American artists, will fill your day with good vibes and even better music!​

DIY Fashion book cover

​Celebrate your own Selena style with DIY Fashion by Selena (not that one) Francis-Bryden

Selena was a fashion icon who designed her own costumes and clothing line, and some of her most iconic looks were often the result of her own dedication to a glue gun and bedazzler! Why not rock your own Selena-inspired creations! Visit the DIY section of your local library and craft store and give your clothes some extra flavor. Whatever you do, don’t forget the red lipstick!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Post new comment