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

"If young males can get past the cover, this collection is good for all reluctant readers. (Short stories. 10-13)"
Soto's latest short-story collection offers readers glimpses into the daily lives of young teens. Read full book review >
PARTLY CLOUDLY by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

"A gentle, affecting collection. (Poetry. 12 & up)"
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

"Soto presents his characters with sometimes insurmountable challenges, but he limns their lives with such vivid descriptions and insights that readers will be left wondering how things work out—and wishing for the best. (Fiction. 11-14)"
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

"Breezy and entertaining. (Fiction. 11-14)"
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

"A multicultural lesson with lots of zip. (Picture book. 4-8)"
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

"Nothing terribly deep here, but it fills a gap in middle-school–age collections with something fresh and fun. (Fiction. 11-14)"
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

"Readers, Latino or not, have a good chance of seeing themselves and their feelings in these compelling stories. (Fiction. 11-14)"
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

"A glossary of Spanish words aids in the enjoyment of a just-silly-enough tale that still has sly lessons about being a friend, keeping your word and judging your fellows—even if they are dogs. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The Cheech and Chong of the cat world are back. Read full book review >
WORLDS APART by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: March 17, 2005

"Clarke's comical, cartoonish illustrations contribute to the sense of exuberance and discovery in this disarming tribute to boyhood friendship and sweet, goofy travelogue for the armchair explorer. (Poetry. 8-12)"
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

"Soto writes with a touch as light as Chuy's ghost and with humor, wonderment, and a generosity toward life. (Fiction. 12+)"
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

"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)"
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 >
IF THE SHOE FITS by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"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)"
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 >
THE EFFECTS OF KNUT HAMSON ON A FRESNO BOY by Gary Soto
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

"Here is a party that all will enjoy. (Picture book. 5-8)"
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

"He deftly brings to light relationships and their complications among family, peers, and elders in a well-crafted collection that's lively, absorbing, and meaningful. (Fiction. 12-15)"
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

"A valuable tale, it's one that makes no concessions. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14)"
 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.). Read full book review >
SNAPSHOTS FROM THE WEDDING by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 17, 1997

"This is a triumph of true-to-life storytelling, with all the good parts left in. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)"
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

"Lightweight. (Fiction. 8-12)"
 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

"It's a story children will want to retell themselves. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 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

"The Spanish dialogue in the main text appears in translation in footnotes. (b&w illustrations, not seen, glossary) (Fiction. 7-10)"
 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

"Nelson debuts with scenes—homey, comfortable, bright—that make the book even more accessible. (Poetry. 8-12)"
 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

"After a tense but nonviolent climax, this story comes to its comfortable close, an everyday sort of story punctuated by moments of high and low comedy. (Fiction. 9-11)"
 Two Latino fourth-graders scramble to raise money when one accidently breaks a local punk's portable CD player. Read full book review >
CHATO'S KITCHEN by Gary Soto
ANIMALS
Released: March 22, 1995

"Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 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

"A satisfying and enlightening story. (Fiction. 12+)"
 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

"Spanish-English glossary. (Fiction. 8-12)"
 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

"This one should become a staple on the holiday menu. (Picture book. 4- 8)"
 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

"Engaging, gently humorous—with plenty of realistic full-page drawings and a jacket that's sure to attract readers. (Fiction. 7-10)"
 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

"Soto contributes a graceful and affectionate introduction."
 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. Read full book review >
LOCAL NEWS by Gary Soto
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1993

"Also as usual, the narrative is sprinkled with Spanish words and idioms, defined at the back- -excellent flavoring but, for many, extra work. (Short Stories. 10-13)"
 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

"A pleasant, easygoing story about sharing cultures, like David Klass's Breakaway Run (1987) but without the complication of a stressful family situation. (Fiction. 10-13)"
 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

"A mixed showing from a talented author. (Fiction. 7-10)"
 Again, fourth-grader Miata Ramirez has lost something. Read full book review >
NEIGHBORHOOD ODES by Gary Soto
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1992

"Soto's language leans slightly toward the formal (as befits an ode) and is sprinkled with Spanish words, clear in context but also translated in a glossary. (Poetry. 10-12)"
 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

"Nonetheless, a fine, useful contribution. (Fiction. 8-12)"
 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 >