Books by Gary Soto

Gary Soto was awarded a Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 1999. He lives in California


LUCKY LUIS by Gary Soto
Released: March 1, 2012

"The great illustrations would have benefited from simpler text. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A young Latino rabbit must overcome a snack-based superstition in this baseball-centered picture book. Read full book review >
HEY, 13! by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

Soto's latest short-story collection offers readers glimpses into the daily lives of young teens.

An inexperienced middle-school honor student's eye-opening visit to a liberal-arts college starts the collection, and a far less naïve young girl has an equally revealing visit to a friend's house in the 13th and final tale. Read full book review >

POETRY
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

Soto's volume of tender and truthful love poetry for teens is divided into two sections, the first titled "A Girl's Tears, Her Songs" and the second called "A Boy's Body, His Words." Read full book review >

FACTS OF LIFE by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2008

A young man who unwittingly helps a punk steal an elderly couple's television in the first story sets the somewhat uneasy tone for this collection. Read full book review >

MERCY ON THESE TEENAGE CHIMPS by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

This lighthearted, off-beat slice of life focuses on two (barely) teenaged boys. Read full book review >

MY LITTLE CAR by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2006

Mexican-American first-grader Teresa feels too old for her tricycle, and she's overjoyed when her Grandpa Benny sends her a pedal-powered low-rider with personalized plates and flame decals. Read full book review >

ACCIDENTAL LOVE by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

Marisa is in her first year of high school, a little overweight and always ready to pick a fight. Read full book review >

HELP WANTED by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2005

Ten perceptive short stories give glimpses of everyday life and emotions among a variety of adolescent Latinos. Read full book review >

CHATO GOES CRUISIN’ by Gary Soto
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2005

The Cheech and Chong of the cat world are back. Read full book review >

WORLDS APART by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: March 17, 2005

The unnamed boy narrator and his best friend Fernie travel all over the world—in their wildest dreams—in Soto's winning follow-up to Fearless Fernie (2002). Read full book review >

THE AFTERLIFE by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

Seventeen-year-old Chuy dies in the opening scene of this view from beyond; thereafter the story is told by his ghost, "invisible and touchable as light." Read full book review >

FEARLESS FERNIE by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2001

Capable as ever of making common childhood experiences marvelous, Soto (Baseball in April, 2000, etc.) poetically delineates a fast friendship between a never-named observer and his irrepressible buddy Fernie. Read full book review >

IF THE SHOE FITS by Gary Soto
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

            Soto (Fearless Fernie, p. 52, etc.) offers a complex take on the "giving is better than receiving" sentiment in this gentle lesson on what really matters.  Eight-year-old Rigo's resentment builds over the preponderance of hand-me-down clothes he inherits from his three older brothers until he can't take it anymore and he throws the latest worn-out batch into the garbage can and pleads for something brand new.  Sure enough, new loafers are in the works, but even they turn out to be a problem.  Finally he gives them to his Uncle Celso, and this act signals a distinct and empowering shift in Rigo.  For the first time, Rigo sees himself as part of the giving community, an important contributor to the family's well being.  He also learns about pride, and how having pride in who you are can be a useful tool in confronting fear.  When his Uncle Celso, overjoyed at Rigo's generosity, gives Rigo a couple of Mexican pennies and notes the coins are even older than he is, Rigo plans to save them for the slots of new loafers if he ever gets any.  But the pennies also provide him a new source of strength and courage when it comes to his dealings with the world outside his family.  Sprinkled throughout the text are italicized words in Spanish, accompanied by a back-page glossary, a subtle reinforcement of the story's setting.  Widener's (The Christmas Cobwebs, 2001, etc.) lively illustrations of Rigo and his family establish a warm, inviting tone, exuding friendliness without being cliché-ridden or saccharine-coated.  (Picture book.  5-8)

Read full book review >
IF THE SHOE FITS by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

Soto (Fearless Fernie, p. 52, etc.) offers a complex take on the "giving is better than receiving" sentiment in this gentle lesson on what really matters. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2000

"Sweet but not saccharine, these reminiscent pieces invite the reader on a journey to the streets of Fresno, where the mundane details of existence shine."
The noted poet, essayist, and fiction writer (Petty Crimes, 1998, etc.) here offers a series of quick sketches, each a thumbnail miniature of the hustle, bustle, dreams, confusion, and beauty of life. Read full book review >
CHATO AND THE PARTY ANIMALS by Gary Soto
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2000

Chato, Novio Boy, Chorizo, and the mouse family next door in the animal barrio of Chato's Kitchen (1995) are back. Read full book review >

PETTY CRIMES by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1998

In ten short stories, Soto (Buried Onions, 1997, etc.) presents a kaleidoscope of Mexican-American adolescents and the bullies they confront—bullies ranging from tough, menacing teens to life's unavoidable truths. Read full book review >

BURIED ONIONS by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

Eddie, a young Mexican-American scraping by in the mean streets of Fresno, California, counts four dead relatives and one dead friend in the opening, in-your-face lines of this new novel from Soto (Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 228, etc.). In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs. Read full book review >

SNAPSHOTS FROM THE WEDDING by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 17, 1997

From Soto (Off and Running, 1996, etc.), a celebratory, child's-eye look at a wedding that captures the traditional mingling of the surreal and the sublime. Read full book review >

OFF AND RUNNING by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Miata (The Skirt, 1992) is running for class president against Rudy and Alex (Boys at Work, 1995), but her campaign to beautify the school has less natural appeal than the boys' endearingly goofy promises of more recess and ice cream. Read full book review >

THE OLD MAN AND HIS DOOR by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 16, 1996

Soto (The Cat's Meow, 1995, etc.) has a lighthearted approach to the perils of miscommunication. Read full book review >

THE CAT'S MEOW by Gary Soto
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

Mexican-American third-grader Graciela has more reason than most to complain that her parents don't understand her. Read full book review >

CANTO FAMILIAR by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

This humorous, tender collection of 25 poems and full-color linocuts about the daily life of Mexican-American children is a companion book to Soto's Neighborhood Odes (1992). Read full book review >

BOYS AT WORK by Gary Soto
ADVENTURE
Released: June 1, 1995

Two Latino fourth-graders scramble to raise money when one accidently breaks a local punk's portable CD player. Readers who met Rudy and Alex in Soto's Pool Party (1993) will find that they still charge off to find out the hard way whether their schemes are practical or not, loyally helping each other out of jams, and elevating the conversation like true 10-year-olds (``Rudy, you ever notice that when you drink milk, you sweat water?''). Read full book review >

CHATO'S KITCHEN by Gary Soto
ANIMALS
Released: March 22, 1995

Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. Read full book review >

JESSE by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Nov. 28, 1994

Jesse is a 17-year-old Chicano, struggling through the complexities of adolescence in the 1960s. Read full book review >

CRAZY WEEKEND by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1994

Seventh-graders Hector and Mando are spending a weekend with Hector's uncle in Fresno, California. Read full book review >

TOO MANY TAMALES by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

The whole family is coming for Christmas, so Maria and her parents are busy making tamales—Maria helps Mom knead the masa, and her father puts them in the pot to boil. Read full book review >

THE POOL PARTY by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 1993

The Herreras are living in a Fresno, California, barrio when Tiffany Perez, one of the richest kids in school, invites Rudy Herrera to a pool party. Read full book review >

PIECES OF THE HEART by Gary Soto
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1993

Poet and YA author Soto rounds up the usual suspects—along with some impressive new voices—in what may be the best Chicano short fiction anthology to date. Sandra Cisneros is represented with ``One Holy Night'' from her widely read collection Woman Hollering Creek (1991); Alberto Alvaro R°os's ``The Waltz of the Fat Man'' was anthologized in last year's Mirrors Beneath the Earth (ed. Read full book review >

LOCAL NEWS by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1993

The author of Baseball in April (1990) offers 13 more domestic reversals of fortune. Read full book review >

PACIFIC CROSSING by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Lincoln Mendoza makes new friends when he flies to Japan as part of a summer exchange program. Read full book review >

THE SKIRT by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Again, fourth-grader Miata Ramirez has lost something. Read full book review >

NEIGHBORHOOD ODES by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1992

The memories and experiences of Hispanic children are celebrated in a collection of short-lined poems from the author of Baseball in April (1990). Read full book review >

TAKING SIDES by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Lincoln Mendoza, 12, has felt in limbo ever since moving from San Francisco's Mission District barrio to neat, tree-lined Sycamore—a feeling exacerbated by a game his basketball team is going to play against his former team. Read full book review >