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.
"[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
"Will strike chords of recognition in readers of all ages."—The Horn Book