Monday, October 15, 2018

“A Powerful Debut.”

A river runs through young Manny Maldonado Jr.’s life, heart and imagination. Sometimes at night it even shoots through his brain like a bullet. But this river isn’t water, it’s iron—the tracks and trains of the Southern Pacific railroad that pass along his tight-knit neighborhood in the San Gabriel valley just ten miles east of L.A. The iron river is everything to Man-on-Fire, Man for short to his friends, Little Man to his uncles and cousins. He watches it, he waits for it, he plays nears its tracks, he listens for the weight of its currents (strong currents flowing east pulling two hundred boxcars, light current going west with less than fifty cars), he whiles away long summer days throwing rocks and bricks at it with his friends Danny, Marco and Little. They line up cans and bottles in mock battles to try to throw it off track. But nothing derails the iron river, and nothing stops the vicious stinking cop Turk from trying to pin a man's murder on the four young boys.

Starred Reviews

“A dense story with rich associative leaps, the novel will prompt discussions about race, class, sexuality, and gender.” —Kirkus Reviews

"An essential title for any library." —School Library Journal 

Available October 19th
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Margarita Engle, 
Our Young People's Poet Laureate
and School Library Journal
With Accolades 
and Stars

Young People's Poet Laureate Margarita Engle selects They Call Me Güero as the perfect book for this second half of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.

About They Call Me Güero, Margarita says:

In this lively Spanglish verse novel, David Bowles introduces readers to middle school life in a border town. It’s a story about everything from bullying to belonging, family, and friendship. It’s also about poetry:

     My mind and heart swell with all the things
     I need to say, and one day it just happens:
     I put pen to paper, and my soul
     comes rushing out in line after line.

Rich in storytelling, culture, and immigration issues, the book has enough humor and romance to keep the plot moving quickly. One of my favorite stanzas is about Spanglish:

     I hear the echo of their calls
     when I speak.
     My own tongue
                                                                  is an aviary.

―Margarita Engle, YPPL, The Poetry Foundation

Margarita Engle is the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate, serving from 2017 to 2019. Awarded by the Poetry Foundation for a two-year term, the Young People’s Poet Laureate aims to raise awareness that young people have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them.


Star on WhatsApp 2.17

September 26, 2018    

David Bowles. They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems. 160p. glossary. Cinco Puntos. Sept. 2018. Tr ISBN 9781947627062.

"Vibrant and unforgettable, this is a must-have for all middle grade collections." 

Gr 5-8–Güero is a Mexican American border kid with nerdy tastes, pale skin, and red hair. Wishing he had been born with a darker complexion so no one would question his Mexican American heritage, Güero’s family tell him to be grateful for the advantages his lighter hair and skin afford him and to use it to open doors for the rest of his family. Güero’s voice carries this novel through a playful array of poetic forms, from sonnets to raps, free verse to haiku. VERDICT Vibrant and unforgettable, this is a must-have for all middle grade collections. Pair with both fiction and nonfiction books on immigration, forced cultural assimilation, and stories about contemporary Mexican American life.–Melissa Williams, Berwick Academy, ME