Gary Soto

Books by This Author

A Fire in My Hands

"These simple, free-verse selections skillfully capture that which is commonplace and transforms it into something mesmerizing and lovely. A first date, the embarrassment of belching root beer out of one's nose, the joy and the intricacies of the proper way to eat Mexican food, and a lost dog are just a few of the topics that Soto addresses. The 31 poems are delightful in themselves, but the poet also adds the brief reminiscence of the event or feeling that prompted him to write each one." — School Library Journal

A Summer Life

Product Description: Gary Soto writes that when he was five "what I knew best was at ground level." In this lively collection of short essays, Soto takes his reader to a ground-level perspective, recreating in vivid detail the sights, sounds, smells, and textures he knew growing up in his Fresno, California, neighborhood. The "things" of his boyhood tie it all together: his Buddha "splotched with gold" and his worn tennies smelling of "summer grass, asphalt, the moist sock breathing the defeat of baseball."

Accidental Love

Product Description: It all starts when Marisa picks up the wrong cell phone. When she returns it to Rene, she feels curiously drawn to him. But Marisa and Rene aren't exactly a match made in heaven. For one thing, Marisa is a chola; she's a lot of girl, and she's not ashamed of it. Skinny Rene gangles like a sackful of elbows and wears a calculator on his belt. In other words, he's a geek. So why can't Marisa stay away from him?

Buried Onions

Product Description: Eddie's father, two uncles, and best friend are all dead, and it's a struggle for him not to end up the same way. Violence makes Fresno wallow in tears, as if a huge onion were buried beneath the city. Making an effort to walk a straight line despite constant temptations and frustrations, Eddie searches for answers — and discovers that his closest friends may actually be his worst enemies.

Chato and the Party Animals

By: Gary Soto
Illustrated by: Susan Guevara
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Chato, the coolest cat in el barrio, loves to party — but not his best buddy, Novio Boy. Birthday parties always make him blue. "I'm from the pound," he tells Chato. "I don't know when I was born." So Chato plans the coolest surprise party for Novio Boy, inviting all of el barrio, and cooking up a storm. But he forgets the most important thing — inviting Novio Boy! An entertaining sequel to Chato's Kitchen.

Chato Goes Cruisin'

By: Gary Soto
Illustrated by: Susan Guevara
Age Level: 6-9

"After winning a sweepstakes cruise for two, Chato invites his best friend, Novio Boy, along. The two "home cats" find themselves the only felines on a dog-oriented cruise, and the partying canines keep the cats up all night. Then all the pooches become ill, the radio breaks, and the captain sends Chato and Novio Boy out in a small boat to find help… Most noteworthy are Guevara's brilliantly colored paintings, as winsome as ever, and the humorous black-and-white comic-strip insets that extend the fun." — Booklist

Chato's Kitchen

By: Gary Soto
Illustrated by: Susan Guevara
Age Level: 3-6

Chato and Novio Boy are the coolest cats in their East Los Angeles barrio. When a family of mice moves next door to Chato, he invites them to dinner. He's going to eat them for dinner, but the mice bring a friend along to surprise Chato and foil his plans. The text and pictures show the funny situation and the satisfying solution. In English sprinkled with Spanish.

Facts of Life: Stories

"Pivotal moments in the lives of California Latino teens and tweens provide the starting points for Soto's collection of 10 new stories. For Letty, it's the realization that her boyfriend loves her money more than he does her; for Hector, it's the announcement of his parents' plan to divorce; for Laurita, a Chicana, it's the discovery that she's illegal; and for Lisa, it's the experience of a moment of beauty in her otherwise drab life." — Booklist

Help Wanted: Stories

"Working-class Latino teenagers cope with their families, hang out with offbeat friends and obnoxious acquaintances, yearn for dates, and deal with stray kisses in these 10 stories. The teens struggle to prove themselves, establish their own identities, and maintain self-respect in the midst of dilapidated schools, grimy neighborhoods, and hard-pressed single-parent households. The stories are sometimes funny, often poignant, and occasionally provocative." — Booklist

If the Shoe Fits

By: Gary Soto
Illustrated by: Terry Widener
Age Level: 6-9

"Rigo lives in a crowded house with his four siblings, his parents, and his uncle. Accustomed to hand-me-downs, he is thrilled when he gets new shoes for his ninth birthday. He loves them until a neighborhood kid makes fun of them and takes the nickels from the slots in the loafers. The shoes are stashed away until Rigo needs them for a party but finds they no longer fit. Fortunately, he realizes that his uncle could use them for his new job as a waiter. This is a gentle and honest story about a close-knit Mexican-American family." — School Library Journal