Cover image for Baseball in April : and other stories
Baseball in April : and other stories
Soto, Gary.
Personal Author:
Tenth anniversary edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, [1990]

Physical Description:
111 pages ; 22 cm
A collection of eleven short stories focusing on the everyday adventures of Hispanic young people growing up in Fresno, California.
Broken chain -- Baseball in April -- Two dreamers -- Barbie -- The no-guitar blues -- Seventh grade -- Mother and daughter -- The karate kid -- La bamba -- The marble champ -- Growing up.
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.1 4.0 5931.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.8 6 Quiz: 00927 Guided reading level: U.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Mexican American author Gary Soto draws on his own experience of growing up in California's Central Valley in this finely crafted collection of eleven short stories that reveal big themes in the small events of daily life. Crooked teeth, ponytailed girls, embarrassing grandfathers, imposter Barbies, annoying brothers, Little League tryouts, and karate lessons weave the colorful fabric of Soto's world. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us. Glossary of Spanish terms included.

Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors' Choice, Horn Book Fanfare Selection, Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book, Parenting Magazine's Reading Magic Award, John and Patricia Beatty Award

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. 5-9. Like the Latino young people in these 11 short stories, poet Soto grew up in Fresno, California, and he writes with affectionate ease about a world too seldom represented in children's books. He captures the vitality of language and culture and the closeness of community. He's also open about the conflicts of immigration--among generations and within the individual. Several stories will make funny read-alouds: in "Seventh Grade" Victor pretends he can speak French and then tries to bluff his way out by making appropriate French noises ("Frenchie oh wewe gee in September"). "La Bamba" finds Manuel covering his confusion by spouting the latest scientific jargon from magazines, while Gilbert (a polite fifth-grader who does his homework) dreams of being the Karate Kid. Soto's message isn't always upbeat, and he doesn't ignore the sadness of prejudice and self-rejection; for example, Veronica thinks her dark Barbie doll is false and wants the blond, blue-eyed version. Not all the stories are as resonant as these, but the characters are warmly individualized, and they will make young people everywhere smile with wry recognition. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Diaz and Gongora give Soto's heartfelt collection just the right spark of Latino flavor in this sharp audio production. From Jesse, a nine-year-old struggling to improve his baseball skills in "Baseball in April" to Veronica, who is crushed when her new, much cherished Barbie doll is ruined, Soto introduces vivid characters who struggle with the longing, hope and acceptance that are part of everyday life. Soto's accessible writing voice and poetic language permeate these 11 tales of first dates, worries about one's looks and the difficulties of dealing with idiosyncratic family members. With the help of solid performances (and crisp pronunciation of the smattering of Spanish words and phrases) by Diaz and Gongora, listeners will take away a real sense of what it was like for many Mexican-American kids growing up in California's Central Valley (including Fresno, Soto's hometown) not so many years ago. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up- Gary Soto writes about the universal concerns of children and teens in the context of his Latino background in this recording of Baseball in April and Other Stories (Harcourt 1990). With uncomplicated vocabulary but nuanced meaning, these stories cover sports, music, family life and boy-girl relationships with humor and sensitivity. The title story looks at one boy's desire to be part of a team that later disappoints him. Other stories in this award-winning book tell about a boy trying to help his grandfather buy a dream house, a timid boy who takes karate lessons, and a girl who is woebegone when her precious Barbie doll is damaged. The 11 contemporary stories are set in California's Central Valley. The brief selections are ideal for classroom use as well as for listeners with short attention spans. The enthusiastic narration by Stephanie Diaz and Miguel Gongora is done with just the right tempo. They also enhance the tales by singing and sobbing as the story demands. Story titles are marked directly on the cassettes but not on the case. Focused on issues such as acceptance and self worth, this recording could be coupled with longer novels on similar subjects. These short stories are well suited to the audio format and will be an enriching addition to audio collections.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.