IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY by Luis J. Rodriguez

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY

A Barrio Story
Age Range: 8 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Rodriguez’s bilingual story of just how easy it is to drift into gang life is snappily delivered in a tempo that makes it real. Monchi, ten, lives in an LA barrio with his mother, has friends and family nearby, and has a good head on his shoulders. When a gang member mentions he ought to be joining the local gang, Monchi relents, happy not to have been beaten to a pulp by the tough guy. His teacher and cousin, Dreamer, soon learn of Monchi’s gang activities; they try to give him some advice, and Dreamer gets shot in the course of her efforts. That wises Monchi up fast, as do the words of his uncle: “I know you want to be a man, but you have to decide what kind of man you want to be.” It helps, of course, that his uncle is willing to be his mentor (no father is in evidence here), and that his cousin survives, but that doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of this story. Rodr°guez offers an alternative vision that doesn’t preach, but observes. Galvez’s realistic artwork makes the story, and its point, plain and accessible. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-89239-161-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Children's Book Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999




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