René Saldaña, Jr. is a poet and author who writes for children and young adults, as well as a professor of Language and Literacy at Texas Tech University. He is particularly interested in the use of diverse literature with middle and high school students.
Books by This Author
A Good Long Way
"At 2 a.m., Roelito wakes up to a furious quarrel between his older brother, Beto, 18, and Dad over a broken curfew. When Dad tells Beto to leave, he does, and his best friend, Jessy, helps him find shelter for the night. She knows about running away; she flees the house whenever her drunken father and her mother scream and fight. Can she wait out the two months to graduation and make it to college?
Dale, Dale, Dale: Una fiesta de números / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers
Mateo counts to twelve as he anticipates the fun he'll have at his birthday party. There will be family, friends and lots of goodies for the children: tops, marbles and even toy cars! But before the children can hit the piñata, they will sing the birthday boy a song and enjoy eating a delicious cake. And then Mateo will be "the happiest boy in the whole wide world," because he gets to swing at the piñata first with everyone cheering him on: Dale! Dale! Dale!
Finding Our Way
"Saldaña's collection of short stories and one brief novella offers snapshots of teens' lives. The outsider, or an unusual character, appears in a number of ways — as the new kid, as a drama teacher trying to instill in his students his own love of the theater, and as a boy making his way into the adult world. With a deft touch, the author creates a clear, concise picture of time and place (along the Texas border or Georgia) with characters who sound and think like today's teens." — School Library Journal
The Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery
"The Case of the Pen Gone Missing is a tricky one for a young sleuth. The hitherto unattainable Toots Rodriguez solicits Mickey's help when she is accused of stealing a classmate's special pen, the one actually touched by the President of the United States when he signed the bill sponsored by the classmate's father. Mickey's observational skills are blunted by his attraction to this deadly damsel in distress, but a timely tip from a mysterious 'Angel' puts him on the right track, and he not only finds the pen, but exposes the real culprit." — Mystery Scene Magazine
The Jumping Tree
Product Description: These lively stories follow Rey Castaneda from sixth through eighth grade in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. As Rey begins to cross the border from childhood into manhood, he turns from jokes and games to sense the meaning of work, love, poverty, and grief, and what it means to be a proud Chicano — moments that sometimes propel him to show feelings un hombre should never express. It's a new territory where Rey longs to follow the example his hardworking, loving father has set for him.
The Lemon Tree Caper: A Mickey Rangel Mystery
Product Description: Mickey Rangel, kid detective extraordinaire, has just exited the school bus one sweltering afternoon when he hears a blood-curdling shriek. It's coming from the creepy neighbor lady's house. "My lemons, Mickey, my prize-winning lemons. They're gone. They re all gone," Senorita Andrade cries. Who could have removed several sacks full of lemons? In this second bilingual book in The Mickey Rangel Mystery series for intermediate readers, author and educator René Saldaña, Jr.
The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker: A Mickey Rangel Mystery
It's Monday morning, and kid detective extraordinaire Mickey Rangel is on the hot seat. When his principal instead brings up the recent rash of graffiti on school grounds, Mickey is initially horrified that she might think he's involved. But he quickly realizes why she has called him in: she needs his help! Mrs. A. has heard that Mickey is a detective, and he confirms that he's the "real deal," with an online certificate to prove it. She wants him to unmask the Mischievous Marker, the person writing messages all over the school's walls.
The Whole Sky Full of Stars
Product Description: Barry can punch anyone hard enough to make them see a whole sky full of stars, though that's not really his style. Barry and Alby have been friends since the first grade. They've always protected one another. When Barry's pop dies, times are tough and the only thing Barry has of value is his dad's 1964 Ford Galaxie. Meanwhile Alby's got himself into big trouble with a cardshark. So he hatches a plan to make money for himself and Barry. The problem is, Barry could get hurt, and it just might cost Alby their friendship. How much can you ask of a friend?
Anthologies and Collections
Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America
In this mixed-media collection of short stories, personal essays, poetry, and comics, this celebrated group of authors share the borders they have crossed, the struggles they have pushed through, and the two cultures they continue to navigate as Mexican Americans. Living Beyond Borders is at once an eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and hopeful love letter from the Mexican American community to today's young readers.