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Buried Onions by Gary Soto
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Jul 13, 10

Read in July, 2010

Buried Onions: Gary Soto
Date Finished: July 2010

Snapshot: Eddie is a young man living—surviving—in Fresno California. The book starts off at a difficult point in the narrator’s life—he just dropped out of community college and his cousin Jesus was recently stabbed in the heart. Angel, Jesus’ friend, is pressuring Eddie to kill the person who stabbed Jesus. Eddie tries to stay on the straight path, but his boss’s car gets stolen in his neighborhood, and he loses his job, the only positive thing he has going for him. As the story unfolds, the reader sees how easy it is for a good person to get swallowed up when he/she is around the wrong crowd and in the wrong conditions.

“Hook”: The book touches on poverty, gang violence, the expectations and dangers of being a Latino boy/man. It may appeal to a teen who is struggling with staying out of trouble or who is or has been involved in gangs/violence.

Challenges: Though the book is short, some of the vocabulary is difficult. Also, it includes Spanish phrases without also including the translation (though they are in the glossary).

Student in Mind: Male Latino struggling with peers/violence

Conference Notes: Discussion about prejudice toward and beliefs about Latinos by other people in the community; discussion about the opportunity gap

Level: medium 8th/9th

Other: Violence, gangs, staying out of trouble, prejudice


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