The Mexican American author Gary Soto draws on his own experience of growing up in California’s Central Valley in this finely crafted collection of eleven short stories that reveal big themes in the small events of daily life. Crooked teeth, ponytailed girls, embarrassing grandfathers, imposter Barbies, annoying brothers, Little League tryouts, and karate lessons weave the colorful fabric of Soto’s world. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us. Glossary of Spanish terms included.
Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Horn Book Fanfare Selection, Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book, Parenting Magazine’s Reading Magic Award, John and Patricia Beatty Award
"Gary Soto is an astute observer of the desires, fears, and foibles of children and teenagers going about the business of daily living. In these eleven vignettes featuring Mexican American families, the character portrayals are gentle; the tone is quiet and somewhat bittersweet; and respect for family is a consistent value. This illumination of the everyday will strike chords of recognition in readers of all ages." -- The Horn Book
"[Soto's] sensitivity to young people's concerns and his ability to portray the world as it is perceived by children is nothing less than remarkable." — Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A fine collection of stories that offers a different cultural perspective about feelings common to all teenagers. Soto writes well and with tremendous insight into the process of growing up." — The Boston Globe
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