Stories by Gary Soto

Beloved author Gary Soto's prolific work includes novels, plays, poetry, and essays. These are just a sample of some of his best-known titles, in which he brings the experiences of contemporary young Latinos to life with humor, honesty, and empathy. Recommended for grades 7-12.

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

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?

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


Product Description: In this new edition of his first young adult novel, Gary Soto paints a moving portrait of seventeen-year-old Jesse, who has left his parents' home to live with his older brother. These Mexican American brothers hope junior college will help them escape their heritage of tedious physical labor. Their struggles are humorous, true to life, and deeply affecting. Young adults will sympathize with the brothers as they come to terms with what is possible for each of them in an imperfect world.

Living Up The Street

Product Description: A collection of short essays in which the author describes his experiences growing up as a Mexican-American in the Fresno, California — including life in the barrio, parochial school, attending church, and trying to fall out of love so he can join in a Little League baseball team.

Local News: Stories

Product Description: In thirteen stories full of wit and energy, Gary Soto illuminates the ordinary lives of young people. Meet Angel, who would rather fork over twenty bucks than have photos of his naked body plastered all over school; Philip, who discovers he has a "mechanical mind," whatever that means; Estela, known as Stinger, who rules José's heart and the racquetball court; and many other kids, all of them with problems as big as only a preteen can make them.

Novio Boy: A Play

Product Description: Ninth grader Rudy has a date with eleventh grader Patricia. Now he has to come up with the money, the poise, and the conversation to carry it off. This one-act play, by turns heartwarming and heart-wrenching, follows Rudy from his desperate search for guidance through the hilarious date itself — all the way to its happy conclusion.

Petty Crimes

"In this sharply honed collection of stories, Mexican American children on the brink of adolescence are testing the waters, trying to find their place in a world ruled by gangs and "marked with graffiti, boom boxes, lean dogs behind fences…" Some characters (La Güera, a shoplifter, and Mario, a scam artist) are already on their way to becoming juvenile delinquents. Others have chosen a straighter path.