Cover image for Petty crimes
Title:
Petty crimes
Author:
Soto, Gary.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
157 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
A collection of short stories about Mexican American youth growing up in California's Central Valley.
Language:
English
Contents:
La güera -- Mother's clothes -- Try to remember -- The boxing lesson -- Your turn, Norma -- The funeral suits -- Little scams -- If the shoe fits -- Frankie the rooster -- Born worker.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 5.0 32052.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 10 Quiz: 39937 Guided reading level: S.
ISBN:
9780152016586
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Meet Manuel, a young man who wears hand-me-downs from his older brothers until he finally gets a brand-new pair of shoes. And Jos#65533; Luis, who watches the vet bills rise after he buys a sick rooster to save it from becoming someone's dinner. And Alma, a young woman who runs to every shop and flea market in town buying back the clothes of her dead mother that her father has given away. These Mexican American youths meet life's challenges head-on in this hard-hitting collection of short stories.


Author Notes

Gary Soto was born April 12, 1952, and raised in Fresno California. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and attended Fresno City College, graduating in 1974 with an English degree. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review, Ontario Review and Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in Poets in Person. He is one of the youngest poets to appear in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.

Soto has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize, the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award twice, a Recogniton of Merit from the Claremont Graduate School for Baseball in April, the Silver Medal from The Commonwealth Club of California, and the Tomás Rivera Prize, in addition to fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts twice, and the California Arts Council.

For ITVS, he produced the film The Pool Party, which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. Soto wrote the libretto for an opera titled Nerd-landia for the The Los Angeles Opera. In 1999 he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes. He serves as Young People's Ambassador for the California Rural Legal Assistance and the United Farm Workers of America.

Soto is the author of ten poetry collections for adults, with New and Selected Poems a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His recollections Living Up the Street received a Before Columbus Foundation 1985 American Book Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Both swaggering and lost, the young teenagers in these 10 affecting short stories have left behind the innocence of childhood for a world "hard and gray, like cement." For a younger audience than Soto's Buried Onions (1997), this collection about Mexican American kids in California's Central Valley has some of the farce and fun of Baseball in April and Other Stories (1990), but it also confronts the dailiness of poverty, the physicalness of gang violence, the drift to crime. The final story, "Born Worker," tries too hard to sanctify the honest working-class kid versus his rich, lazy, lying cousin; but most of the pieces are more realistic, including both the boy who enjoys the raucous fun of his crowded home and the girl who feels ashamed of her grandmother's loud clothes. A mother stitches at a machine all day; a widowed father does his best, though "life was bitter as a penny." Soto is a fine writer, and in the casual talk and school-yard confrontations, the simple words flash with poetry. --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

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 Gera, a shoplifter, and Mario, a scam artist) are already on their way to becoming juvenile delinquents. Others have chosen a straighter path. Most, however, are caught somewhere in the middle, swimming against a current of violence. Norma finds it much harder than she imagined to protect a doll put under her care for a social studies experiment. Rudy learns the meaning of defeat during a boxing match against a boy much smaller than himself. With a rare mix of compassion and irony, Soto (Buried Onions) crystallizes moments signifying the loss of innocence. His pithy last liners ("The vatos locos walked slowly away, their heads directed toward the future, and their bodies already half dressed for their funerals") will stop readers in their tracks, leaving them to digest the meaning of his words and ponder the fates of his protagonists. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Gary Soto's ten stories about Mexican-American youths (Harcourt, 1998) are read word for word by Robert Ramirez. Not all the stories deal with actual crimes, but they all tell of young people dealing with poverty, their Latino identity, and the usual problems of growing up. La Guera becomes shoplifter. When she is sent to her gringo relatives to reform, she soon has her cousins copying her. Alma, whose mother died of cancer, sets out to recover all her mother's possessions which her father had given to charity shops. Laura unsuccessfully tries to help her grandfather fight his failing memory. Rudy, a recurring Soto character, gets his comeuppance when he challenges a much smaller kid (but a better fighter) to a boxing match. Tomas and Miguel discover the backless funeral suits their fathers had stolen long ago and manage to use them to get themselves out of a tricky situation. Mario becomes a scam artist with ever more creative scams until he is scammed himself. Manuel finds that the new shoes he is so proud of no longer fit and gives them away. Jose Luis gets most of his family to care for a rooster named Frankie, although its eventual disappearance raises suspicion. Jose realizes that he is honest and will never be a conniver like his quick talking cousin Arnie. Ramirez is best at reading the characters' dialogue. His accent and cadence suit the characters well. In the narrative passages, his voice sometimes seems a little remote and has limited expression. Technical quality is very good. Often humorous, sometimes touching, and usually absorbing, these stories will appeal to young teens.-Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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