Gary Soto Author Report - andrea-thomas

About the author
Gary Soto is known for a body of work that deals with the realities of growing up in Mexican-American communities; in poems, novels, short stories, plays and
over a two dozen books for young people, Soto has recreated the world of the barrio, the urban, Spanish-speaking neighborhood where he was raised,
bringing the sights, sounds and smells vividly to life within the pages of his books.
Soto’s poetry and prose focus on everyday experiences drawn from his own childhood friends and family while evoking the harsh forces that often shape life
for Chicanos, including racism, poverty, and crime. including memoirs, short stories and novels
sense of ethnicity and, simultaneously, his belief that certain emotions, values, and experiences transcend ethnic boundaries and allegiances
He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adultsmost beloved as a writer for children and young adults. A producer
Exploring universal themes like alienation, family life, and choices
Several prizes and awards... a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award
Gary Soto was born in Fresno, California in 1952 to working-class parents who often struggled to find work. Soto worked in
both the fields of San Joaquin and the factories of Fresno as a young man; though he did not excel in school, by the time he
was an adolescent Soto admits to having discovered the work of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jules Verne, and Robert
Soto went on to college at Fresno City College and California State University-Fresno, where he earned a BA in English in
1974. now taught English to Spanish speakers as a volunteer
oto earned an MFA from the University of California-Irvine in 1974. His first book, The Elements of San Joaquin (1977)
The Tale of Sunlight (1978), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. childhood reminiscences
A Fire in my Hands (2006) includes one of Soto’s most popular poems, “Oranges
The Level at Which the Sky Begins, University of California (poems1976... Heaven, Aralia Press, 1970 (young adult/children).
Novio Boy, 1997. SHORT FILMS The Bike, Gary Soto Productions, 1991.
United Farm Workers
Picture book with illustrations by
Linda Dalal Sawaya
Soto, Gary. (2006). My Little Car. Illus. by Pam Paparone. New York: Penguin Young Readers
First grader Teresa thought she was too old for her tricycle so her grandfather bought her a little
car. She was proud and showed it off to everyone in the neighborhood. For a while, she took
good care of her car but then she started to neglect it and it became damaged. When her
Grandpa Benny came to visit her, she was embarrassed by the condition of her car. Her
grandpa was nice enough to help repair the car and also gave her a gift of chili pepper
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Picture Book
Suggested Age or Grade Level(s): K- 2nd Grade
Chapter book for young adults
Soto, Gary. (2003). The Afterlife. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.
Seventeen year old Chuy is stabbed in a club by a stranger. In Chuy’s “after-life”, he meets new friends one of which is a
new love interest. Chuy not only learns the ropes of being a ghost but he also helps others who are new to death. In the
afterlife, he visits and watches his friends and family he left behind, accomplishes some goals, and performs a few acts of
kindness. He comes to find that his family truly loved him. He also watches his killer.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Chapter Book
Suggested Age or Grade Level(s): 6th- 12th Grade
Chapter book for young adults
Soto, Gary. (2006). Jesse. New York: Harcourt, Inc.
set during the Vietnam War, Jesse is a teenage boy who was raised with his older brother Abel for most of his life by his mother and
stepfather. His father died when he was about two years old. His stepfather was an alcoholic. To avoid their step father alcoholic tendencies,
Jesse drops out of high school in his senior year and he and his brother moved out. Facing adulthood and the pressures that come with it, Jessie
and his brother now have to worry about what they were going to eat how they will pay rent. He and his brother enroll in community college in
hopes of finding a better jobs than picking cotton and fruit. While in college a friend of his convinces him to join a united farm workers
movement for better jobs. As his brother, his friend is drafted into the military, Jesse stills struggles with the thought of not achieving his dreams
and still becoming an unappreciated farm worker. ..poverty and prejudice
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Chapter Book
Suggested Age or Grade Level(s):
Picture Books by Gary Soto
The Old Man and His Door
Chato’s Kitchen
Chato and the Party Animals
Chato Goes Cruisin‘
Too Many Tamales
If the Shoe Fits
Other Books by Gary Soto
The Skirt
Help Wanted
Baseball in April
Other Books by Gary Soto
Neighborhood Odes
A Fire in My Hands
Mercy on these
Teenage Chimps
Accidental Love
A Simple
Buried Onions
Cesar Chavez: A Hero for
Jessie De La Cruz: A
Profile of a United
Farm Worker
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