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
Gary Soto is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in the interview series Poets in Person. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Film Excellence. In 1997, because of his advocacy for reading, he was featured as NBC’s Person-of-the-Week. 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 divides his time between Berkeley, California and his hometown of Fresno.
I think that this book is about that this book would be good to read because it describes the steps that the boy took to accomplish the goal of trying to play baseball.Other people should read the book and them they will understand the concept of the steps that was took to have the boy Gary play baseball.
Baseball in April-Gary Soto #14 The book Baseball in April by Gary Soto is quick fun book to read. The book does not really have a plot, but is rather twelve different stories put into one book. The famous Mexican American author Gary Soto tells about his childhood in California through stories. The stories portray memories and daily life of kids living in California. Such as poverty, friendship, annoying brothers and finally baseball. I liked this book it was super easy to read. All the stories were fun and taught you a lesson. For an example in one story a boy is convinced he is a karate ninja but after getting beat up he decides to not be too prideful around bullies. Some of the stories were sad some wore happy, funny, dramatic they all taught valuable lessons. To say their is only one meaning to this book is simply inadequate they all wore short and to the point. One of my favorite lessons was about a boy who wanted to be a star when he grew up but he was very shy finally he decides to be in the schools talent show. His hard work and perseverance pays off in the end, the whole school loves his act! This lesson taught mainly about following are dreams even when things aren't going are way. Although complications made it hard for him to have enough courage he still sung and tried his best. If we follow our dreams and believe in ourselves we can do anything.
Baseball in April is a collection of eleven short stories by Gary Soto. These stories deal with a variety of situations by young kids living in Fresno, California. All the protagonist from the short stories deal with the same theme of becoming mature. My favorite is Seventh Grade where Victor tries to impress a girl named Victoria with funny results. Or The Karate Kid where Gilbert is inspired by the movie of the same name to stand up to the school bully named Pete. Each story has great characters and memorable moments. I recommend this book because you will find a story and a character that you will connect with.
The novel, Baseball in April by Gary Soto is a story about these two brothers Michael and Jesse with Michael being the older brother and Jesse being the younger brother. They both try out for a baseball team and while Jesse struggles in the tryouts Michael lights them up. He did just about everything right and performed well. When the team was decided it turns out that neither Michael nor Jesse made it and they were both disappointed until their friend told them about this travel team that he was trying out for. It was a little lower ranked but the brothers just wanted to play some baseball so they tried out and both made the team. My favorite character in this book was Jesse because it is from his point of view and I could relate to him as a struggling athlete when you want nothing more than to be good and do everything right but when the time comes you just flop down and don't make a team. I also enjoyed this story because it was a baseball book and I personally enjoy reading those the most because they have high suspense moments that can be stretched into a slow motion period. Something I did not like about this story was that it did not continue for very long. I would have liked it to carry into the team that they made and maybe even have them face the team that they did not make originally in a game. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys to read about baseball books and people overcoming adversity.
Baseball in April and Other Stories – Gary Soto Grade: 5-8 Pages: 128 Theme: Growing up, Family, Friendship, Hardships Awards: ALA Best book for Young Adults, Beatty Award, Booklist Editors Choice, Horn Book Fanfare Selection, Judy Lopez Memorial Award, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, Parenting Reading Magic Award Genre: Realistic Fiction Response: After reading this books, I believe many middle schoolers could easily relate to at least 1 story. Some are funny, some give that deep, realistic message that you know you should know, but need maybe 1 more reminder. I think I enjoyed “Growing Up” the most because Maria got what she wanted, which was to stay home while her family went on vacation, but worries the whole time after she hears there is an accident on the highway her family would be traveling on, and doesn’t hear from them for a whole week. When they eventually come back, they brag about how much fun they had, and she’s mad at them, and really at herself, for missing out on all the fun. She got what she deserved. ☺ Class Activitiy: Throughout the book, there are many first for the different characters. Their first kiss, their first date, and so on. Students will list some of their favorite and memorable “first”’s (first day of Kindergarten, school, camping, playing a sport, etc), and choose one to write about, and use as much detail as possible. After peer review and editing, final drafts will be typed and displayed in the classroom for others to read.
This book is a novel recommended for children ages 9-12 and is A Booklist Editors Choice, A Hornbook Fanfare Selection, A Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book, A Parenting Reading Magic Award Book, A Beatty Award Winner, A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. It is a unique collection short stories that display the themes of love, friendship, growing up, success, and failure. Through this book, readers get to see and feel the joy and pain poor Latino Mexican Americans living in California’s Central Valley feel everyday.
The short stories represented in this book are moving, humorous, and entertaining, while the themes represented are quite subtle. The stories tell about the joy of receiving a new doll, anxiety over little league tryouts, and the desire to be better and stand out above the crowd, among others. They demonstrate the themes of love, friendship, growing up, success, and failure. The stories represented are honest and moving, yet simple. It is clear through his writing that the author has sensitivity to teens’ concerns and does a nice job of portraying these concerns through the eyes of teenagers. This book is a must read for any teenager, as I believe they will be able to greatly relate to the stories represented throughout the book.
These stories made me smile. They filled me with nostalgia for my own childhood (or at least the parts of it where I wasn't being beat up for being a fag) and reminded me of the resilience of children, who manage to rise up through the cracks of pavement meant to choke out community, isolate and alienate us as immigrants, people of color, and exploited workers. In relative ignorance of what it feels like to know that no matter how hard you try, the finish line for you is this tenement, project, plantation camp, barrio, or hood, kids still dream and play, making the most of what may be the only time in their lives when they will not work, not wonder and struggle over bills, and worry about the futures of their own children in a society that only makes room for them as exploited workers.
I loved it, though not as much as it's almost twin, The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. It made me that much more sure that young people hold promise those of us who have to rely on books to remember childhood have lost.
I would be using the story “Mother and Daughter.” This work is a snapshot of the everyday, ordinary life of the mother and daughter relationship between Yollie and Mrs. Moreno. It explores the ups and downs of their bond, their idiosyncrasies and how they rely on each other. I would pair this with Disney’s Brave. After watching both of the clips from the movie, students would compare and contrast the two examples of the mother/daughter relationship. How do each develop throughout the work? How does each mother view their daughter and vice versa? What do the bonds have in common? How do they differ? Students would then connect this information to their own lives and use this source to reflect upon their own relationship with a parent or guardian. They would use Kelly Gallagher’s “Tweet Memoir” to write about the bond and how it has made an impact on their life.
I would be using the story "Seventh Grade." This story is extremely applicable to middle school because it features the point of view of someone that is their same age who shares with his readers a few awkward encounters that he has over the course of his first day of seventh grade. I would have students do an ABC chart considering their first day of seventh grade vs. the main characters, which would lead into a writeup in which the students write a letter to the narrator explaining how they relate and differ to his experiences.
Baseball in April and others stories by Gary Soto is a fantastic book. Because I love every sport existing. But my opinion, is that it was made only for baseball players. Thats basically what the story is all about. Jesse practices and practices with his brother Michael to make the team. But what’s funny, is that Michael has never made the team. And he’s good. However, I might recommend this book to any reader, but mostly to baseball players. Otherwise I do love this book.
In the book The Marble Champ Lupe learns to never give up even when things get hard. I know this because it said that she did some thumb push-ups and she was out of breath but she never gave up. She Kept on doing your thumb push-ups, when she had beat the neighbor kid that I happen to be very good at marbles. She was excited for herself and she thought “ I might be good enough for a tournament”,. She never gave up when she was practicing no matter how hard her thumb hurted or how hard it was hard to beat her brother or the neighbor kid she never gave up. And she never gave up when she saw that the girl in the baseball cap with a dead straight face on and Lupe said to her dad. “ I don't know Dad, she looks pretty tough.” but she did it and she won.
My first reason that Lupe never gives up is when she is doing her thumb push-ups and she runs out of breath. She doesn't say oh well I give up on being The Marble Champ she keeps going. I know this because when she was in her room on a rainy day and she decided she wanted to be good at something besides school like a sport. So she decided to play marbles she took some marbles out of her dresser (her brothers old marbles) and started practicing she knew she wasn't going to be good unless she practiced so she practiced her marbles against her bedspread and then her legs and then she started putting them in her hand. That's when she found out she had to exercise her thumb for hitting the marble because you have to use your thumb to flick the marble.
My second reason that Lupe never gives up is when she beats the neighbor kid and her brother at marbles. I know this because when Lupe was testing how good she was on her neighbor kid he said ” she can beat the other girls for sure I think” . So Lupe was good enough to go to the tournament. She didn't give up because she practiced and practiced to get better. I know it's because in the text it said “practice, practice, practice, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze she got better by doing some thumb push-ups and squeezing an eraser. An effect to her working hard was that she got a huge muscle in her thumb. Her mom even though her thumb was swollen but Lupe said '' it's a muscle”.
My third reason that Lupe never gives up is when she was in the tournament and she saw the girl with the baseball cap and a dead serious face and she didn't know if she could beat her. I know this because when she was at the tournament and she was in the last competition because she beat all the other girls. She said to her dad “ I don't know Dad she looks pretty tough” and her friend Rachel said “Go get her”. (Rachel is one of the girls who competed against Lupe and Lupe asked her to join the team to cheer her on).
In conclusion in the book The Marble Champ Lupe learns to never give up even when things get hard. I know this because it said that she did some thumb push-ups and she was out of breath but she never gave up she Kept on doing thumb push ups, when she had beat the neighbor kid that I happen to be very good at marbles.And she never gave up when she saw that the girl in the baseball cap with a dead straight face on and she said to her dad “ I don't know Dad she looks pretty tough.” but she did it and she won.
The world is tough for some people like Lupe, a lot of the world likes sports. Lupe tries so hard but she is not any good at any sport until she finds out about marbles. In the book Marble Champ by Gary Soto Lupe is not good at sports she finds out about marbles on one rainy day. The text teaches that practice makes perfect. This goes for Lupe and everyone that is trying to do something you have to practice then you will be good. The reasons I had where she did push ups on her finger tips, squeezed a rubber eraser and she won the championship.
One reason is she squeezed erasers. To support my reason, the main character is having a lot of trouble with sports that she can think of. That is until one rainy day she saw some marbles in her closet. She tried to roll the marble but she wasn't doing any good until she decided to work out. The text teaches practice makes perfect for example it said “ she squeezed a rubber eraser 100 times hoping to strengthen her thumb”. This shows that practice makes perfect one reason is she squeezed erasers.
Another reason is she did push ups on her finger tips. For example in the middle of the story in the book marble champ Lupe is not good at sports but there is one sport she is good at and guess what it is MARBLES! That is the one sport that she is good at that is if you consider marbles a sport. This shows practice makes perfect one reason is she did “push ups on her finger tips”.
The last reason is she won the championship. At the end of marble champ I saw my theory come true that practice makes perfect and my reason was right to go. She was in a hard match of marbles but it went out well for Lupe since she has been practicing really hard. See practice is the way to go . The text teaches practice makes perfect for example the text said ”she was the winner “I did it “ Lupe said under her breath”. The author used multiple points of view to show there are multiple people talking for example her father and her mom and herself. This shows the reader there are multiple points of view. This shows practice makes perfect for example “she won the championship”.
As you can see the text teaches that practice makes perfect and the reasons where that she sqseed erasers 100 times she did push ups on her finger tips and she won the marble championship. Next time I do something I will practice so I can do it better like soccer. I will practice before I start so I can be the best I can . They can over grow not being good at something to be good by practicing you are not good if you don’t practice you are not the best in the world right away for example the best soccer player, he practiced every day every hour of the day just to be as good as he is and let me tell you, he is good when I say good I mean the best in the world.
This collection of short stories captures a slice of life. I don't have any other words to describe how charming this book is. I feel like Soto writes about childhood and captures all of our childhood quirks, our childhood growth spurts, our unrealistic expectations, our childhood hopes, dreams, shortcomings, silliness, innocence, and our beauty. There wasn't a single story that didn't resonate from my own childhood experiences. And I simply love these stories.
As a reader, I feel like the short story I need to tease apart a bit more is "Barbie." In this short story, Veronica gets a doll that is more of a reflection of who she is as a Mexican girl - a dark haired doll. She is disgusted with this "ugly" doll and longs for a "good" doll - a blonde, blue-eyed Barbie. Soto never hits the reader over the head with a moralistic lesson cautioning readers to not fall into the trap of self-loathing. He simply puts forward the ways in which we did so as children. Brown kids all over the world want blonde haired, blue-eyed Barbies.
At the ISD Library, my student population is predominantly African. Little African girls want to be princesses as well, but when I pull out the Black Rapunzel, or the Black princess, they balk. When I offer Munch's Paper Bag Princess, they scrunch their noses. When I put Princess Justina Albertina in front of them, she's too fat. As soon I pull the picture books that have pink covers with blonde haired princesses, they frantically grab for the "real" princesses. Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, blonde Cinderellas and blonde Sleeping Beauties are the real deal. As a reader of Soto's work, I can see what he's teasing out, and sadly, this same frantic stretch for the "good" princess or the "good" doll compels my African students to behave like Veronica from "Barbie."
I continue to offer alternative princesses though. The self-sufficient princess. The can-do princess. The princess who can save herself. It crushes my heart when my students reach for the Disney princess instead.
In life it is difficult to accomplish anything if you don't believe in yourself and give up. In the book “The Marble Champ''by Gary Soto Lupe is a very smart person but not in the least bit athletic but ended up winning 2 championships if you want to find out how keep reading. The book ”The Marble Champ” teaches to never give up & believe in yourself because Lupe is not athletic,Lupe practices & she won twice. So next time you find yourself in a tough situation remember never give up & believe in yourself so go be a champ.
One reason the book “The Marble Champ” teaches to never give up and believe in yourself is, Lupe was not athletic. For example at the beginning of the book on paragraph 2 on page 1 it said “though Lupe had a razor sharp mind she could not make her body no matter how hard she tried to run as fast as the other girls. She begged her body to move faster but could never beat anyone in the 40 yard dash”. This shows that Lupe was not very athletic.
Another reason the book “The Marble Champ” teaches to never give up and believe in yourself is, Lupe practices. For example in the middle of the book Lupe disieds to start playing a sport called marble racing on page 2 paragraph 2 it said “to strengthen her wrists she decided to do twenty push ups on her fingertips”. Also on page 2 paragraph 3 it said “she squeezed a rubber eraser one hundred times.”this shows she practiced. This shows that Lupe practiced
Another reason the book “The Marble Champ” teaches to never give up and believe in yourself is, she won twice. For example at the end of the book Lupe wins on page 6 paragraph 1 it said”Lupe did what she did best-win”. Also one more example is on page 6 paragraph 3 “and set the two trophies on the table”. This shows that Lupe won not once but twice.
As you can see, the book “The Marble Champ” teaches to never give up & believe in yourself because Lupe is not athletic,Lupe practices & she won twice. So next time you find yourself in a tough situation remember never give up & believe in yourself so go be a champ.
Over the break, I read Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto and I liked it. I decided to read this book because the overall summary sounded very interesting and my sister requested it saying that “it was a very good book”. This book was great because since it was a book that contained mini stories, there were a lot of different settings, plots, characters, conflicts, and resolutions. One of my favorite mini stories from the book was when a character, Maria, was being left home alone while her family was going on a trip. This plot took place in her home. Well the family knew they were gonna take long but didn't bother telling Maria which led to a consequence. After the family had left and days had passed by, MAria was worried because they didn't expect her family to take really long. In the news, Maria had heard that a family got into a car crash and she panicked because she thought it was her family which made her answer her question of why they were taking so long. A few days later after being panicked, her family had come home from their trip and Maria was relieved that they came back and got very angry at her family for making her panic about nothing. This book could be better if it showed what happened on the family’s trip, not just Maria’s side of the story. It could've been interesting with both parts of the story. I think people who panic about their family should definitely read this part of the story, it can help you realize that your family will be okay, there's nothing to panic about.
I realy liked baseball in April because its not a traditional chapter book Gary Soto was realy smart in writing a completion of short story's what was so great about it was it was trying to relate to every one and is about more than one genre some storys include comedy,Drama,action and trys to relate to people by there favorite genre or their age or favorite hobby's and the author is start for it
what i dont like about it is that some story's may be hard to relate one story is about a musician it may be harder to relate or if your not a musician Latino you might not under stand the culture.for example one of the story's is about a base ball game and i did not understand because i dont play base ball.
but in the end i liked it because even if i cant understand the base ball story i can realate to the other stories and that is what is great about the book and i recommend this book to any one because sooner or later you will like it.
Baseball in April is about kids playing baseball and trying to learn the game and this to brother trying to get on the team they been practicing for a long time they tried out last year but did not make the team this was different the made the the play gray and had lot of fun.In ways this book is about family and hard work i would tell people about this book because it is a life example about family and hard work.my favorite characters in the book are probably the two brother why because the work hard to do something the love and there family so they don´t give up on ech other.My favorite part in the book the winning and the losing because it's a life example and everybody wins and losses at one in there life.why you should read this book because it's a good book not to long and if you like baseball or just sports book you should read baseball in April and there are life examples in there.
this book is about a lot of different stuff. At first he likes a girl but then his friend steals her from him. He tired out for a base ball team and he made it so he played base ball for a while. then baseball season ended and he didn't have much to do. But one thing he enjoyed doing was riding and fixing hid bike he rides his bike a lot he when he broke it he would fix it up so he can ride it again.
This was a really good book. I wish it would have stayed on some topic for longer then it did but over all it was good. The part i liked the most in this book is the parts when he would ride his bike and fix it but the reason i like part so much is because that what i do a lot too. He was a young and active kid and did a lot of stuff. And he like to play baseball when baseball season comes around.
This book is about different peoples live that live in California particularly in Fresno. There is Alfonso, Lupe, Jesse and Micheal. These are all stories about mexican origins. Lupe wins a marble championship by training her thumb because she was no good at sports and wanted to do something athletic. There was jesse whos brother quit because of a girlfriend and his team started to fall apart.
This book is for people who like Perseverance and a good story. But the part I didnt like was how some stories would end without a conclusion. It was really annoying but for the most part it was a good book. By the end of the book I fell like there were many themes for the book like perseverance, honesty, and many others. I thought this book would be more for baseball but it was a story of people growing to be better.
This book is a wonderful collection of stories, and it’s also a good introduction to the genre of short stories. For each tale you may find yourself faced with questions of “but what happens next?” as the listeners get pulled in.
Much more importantly (to me) is that I found a story I’ve been half-remembering since grade school! In one of those large literature books and in one of those numbered grades, I read a story about a young girl who wanted to be the best at marbles. She worked out so hard, squeezing an eraser with her thumb, that her family grew concerned and other kids thought she’d broken her finger. Lo and behold, that’s “The Marble Champ” by Gary Soto, part of this collection. I feel vindicated that my memory was accurate. And the story is just as good this second time around, some 20+ years later.
This book is made up of a collection of short stories about Latino kids in California. The kids are mainly early teenagers which makes this book a hard one to figure out what is the appropriate age for the reader. The reading level is not too complex but the characters are mature so I would recommend this book for junior high age kids. None of the stories really grabbed me but as I've mentioned in other reviews, I'm not a fan of short stories. The characters and language seemed a little dated which makes sense as this book is copyrighted in 1990. I'm not sure that kids today would relate to the stories. Some books are written in a way that make the book timeless but this one was not.
I liked how this book had several short stories that have a life lessons in each story. Being Mexican American myself It reminded me of my childhood . I was never from California but similarity in our childhood were there. I enjoyed the Spanish words that reminded me of Spanlish, my mother uses half English half Spanish words when talking to us. I cant say any of the stories stood out or that any of the main characters did, but it was a quick read.. I would maybe recommend this book to a 12/13 year old that may have something similar going on, or in need of a quick read. It is however funny and I caught myself laughing a bit.
The short story "The School Play" by Gary Soto is about fear of the main character, the boy Robert, who was desperately afraid of forgetting his lines in the school play. The author describes phobias which some people face.
Robert had only two phrases to say during the play “Nothing's wrong. I can see,”. He repeated it for many days answering the questions of other people, he said it even his dog when the dog asked for something to eat and to drink.
What was the denouement of the story? ... Readers can know at the end of the story.
I really enjoyed reading the unique, but similar stories from multiple boys' perspectives while reading Baseball in April and Other Stories. It was interesting to hear about their everyday life while growing up in a Mexican-American neighborhood in California. This book touched me on a deeper level because I'm a person of Mexican descent, so some of the hardships and experiences mentioned throughout the different stories in the book related to past generations of my family. I also enjoyed hearing about how the hardships helped the different characters grow up and mature later on in life as well.
This book is a collection of short stories by Gary Soto. For the most part, the short stories focus on Hispanic middle schoolers in the city of Fresno in the early 90s.
The stories were cute, but it wasn't anything special. I personally liked the 90s references because I was a child of the 90s. The stories were short and sweet which made it a quick read. If I had to pick a favorite of the collection, it would be the last one Growing Up. I think the moral of this story was the strongest. It also featured the oldest of the main characters.
Teacher Rating- Late Elementary to Early Middle. Nothing inappropriate happens in this book.
I did not like it very much because there were spanish words in it and there were no definitions until the very end in the glossary so it got a little confusing at times, and there were endings to the stories that just left you with nothing but it seemed like something was going to happen but the story ends. there were 2 stories that seemed like they could have been tied together but there was no ties togther with eachother but there could have been.
It got off to a slow start for me, but then it got better. At first it seemed kind of whatever - not really insightful. I was expecting a meditation on how it is like growing up Mexican-American. As the stories continued it started to improve. I wonder if these stories were compiled in chronological order of when the author wrote them. Because they seem to get a lot better. Or maybe its me getting used to his stye and becoming more appreciative.
I was really into Gary Soto stories in middle school, and these hold up well. They’re mostly about growing up, but they’re also about growing up in a specific place and within a specific cultural milieu and at a specific time (my time; my kids called this “historical”), and the subject/tone/pacing is a good bridge from little-kid lit to big-kid lit, full of complex emotions and situational ambiguity. The audio is great and, if you have a choice, I recommend it over paper.
This is a mentor text for 4th grade read-aloud stories that I received from a literacy coach. The stories are indeed short…about 7-10 pages each, but they’re all pretty much beating the same drum. And that 🥁 is that it’s tough growing up as a Latino in Fresno, California, no matter if you’re a girl or a boy. The Marble Champ and La Bamba stand out to me…they’re about kids who took chances outside of their comfort zone, and found happiness doing so. The rest of the stories….eh.