Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems” as Want to Read:
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Twelve-year-old Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He’s starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool.

In Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo Álvarez, the Mexican box
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published October 22nd 2018 by Cinco Puntos Press (first published 2018)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about They Call Me Güero, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about They Call Me Güero

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  326 ratings  ·  76 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think what I like most about They Call Me Güero is that it’s not a book about a young boy who’s too good or too bad, who’s trying to save the world or even find his place in it. He’s just a boy being a boy doing stupid stuff boys do, hanging with his friends, enjoying school and spending time with his family. Written actually as a collection of poems, the book provides glimpses into Güero’s life as he enters the 7th grade. If you looking for poverty, abuse, gangs and crime then, you’ll need to ...more
Adriana Martinez Figueroa
Güero lives in a town near the border between Mexico and the U.S. He’s constantly absorbing the way the border affects him and those around him. Describing himself as a border kid, Güero observes his family life, his friends, and has long accepted the way his identity is shaped by a culture divided by a border.
Though the book ( They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems ) is written in verse, David Bowles manages to pack narrative and emotion to each of the entries, all from Güero’s point of view
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I bought this for my 12 year old, but ended up reading it first. Güero's story is timely and engaging. His words are in turns funny, sweet, clever, and moving. I loved the palpable joy in Güero's family, his unabashed nerdiness, his three friends Bobby, his abiding awareness of his roots, and his fledgling forays into young adulthood. Güero's thoughts are adroitly rendered in verse by Bowles, and the whole story hangs together cohesively, despite the wide ranging topics and forms of the poems. I ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In David Bowles’ feisty verse novel, They Call Me Guero, he explores the life of
12-year-old Mexican-American narrator that everyone calls Güero, in his home of the borderlands. Bowles wonderfully shows how normal life is living near the border, a far cry from a “crisis area” that some of the country believes it to be. He does this through relatable and entertaining characters in the various blend of poetic forms. The book is humorous and witty with bits of slang, and a diverse mix of characters
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this, I find myself wishing I could have had a comparable book about a Japanese American kid when I was young. I really do think that it’s a great time for literature, especially children’s and middle-grade lit.
Ruben Degollado
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book! We cheer with Güero as he overcomes bullies and celebrates family traditions. Bowles weaves this tale of growing up in our beautiful RGV, expertly using different poetry forms. He gives such incredible detail about what it’s like growing up here. If I were a character in this book, I know I’d be traviesos with Güero and Los Bobbys. Well done!
Mary Thomas
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great collection of poetry that paints a portrait of life on the border (literally and metaphorically). I really loved the richness of the characters and places. I would definitely teach with this one if I were still in the classroom! Recommend for 4th grade & up.
Jenny G
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit, mc-literature
This book received the Pura Belpré Award in 2019. It is a very unique book in that the format is solely poems. The story follows the life of a 7th grade boy who grew up on the border. He talks of every day experiences such as going shopping with his mom, to starting to like a girl, to adventures with his friends. The language the author uses really allows you to make a connection with the character. With Spanish phrases sprinkled throughout, it provides an authentic view into the boy's life livi ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

This was SUCH a beautiful collection; there was joy, heartbreak, comfort, harsh realities, and laugh-out-loud silliness, but most of all, there was TRUTH. Bowles captures every nuance of life on this border - a place I love and where I've lived and worked and socialized and defended passionately for almost 45 years. While I am not Mexican-American myself (I am of Spanish/Italian/French descent), I have deeply absorbed the cultural texture of this area: i
Nicole M
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mc-literature, poetry
Inspired by his English teacher, a twelve-year-old Mexican-American boy, nickname Guero by his friends and family, writes a variety of poems reflecting on his life experiences growing up in the United States near the boarder of Mexico. These poems reflect on the anger him and his sister feel when their family gets stopped at checkpoints, the experiences of new friends, and considering his father a hero.

One of the most important features of this book is the use of Spanish words mixed into the mai
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles 111 pages. POETRY Cinco Puntos Press, 2018 $13 Content: G



12-year-old Güero is a light skinned Mexican American who lives on the border, literally and figuratively. He is as comfortable speaking Spanish as he is speaking English, and he has family on both sides of the river. This year he is starting 7th grade with some great friends, a wonderful teacher who gets his poetry, and maybe a girlfriend.

I e
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2019 Reading Challenge this my read it in a day book.

I loved that I could see my family and my cousins Ivan and Stacy reflected in it. The tamalada, cascarones and sense of home, family and friendships resonates. Seeing the words huerco and chamaco was a first for me. My favorite poem was Refuge on the Ranch reminds me of home and Uncle Joe’s History Lesson resonates a truth about my family’s lived experiences.

Highly recommend!! David Bowles ¡Bravo!
Alina Karapandzich
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
The poems seem to reflect the thoughts of a middle school boy pretty well. Sometimes the references to different youth games and apps seems a little forced though and might come across as awkward to an actual tween/teen. But overall, I loved the poems. I thought they were a good mix of giving the everyday perspective of a border kid with others addressing some pretty heavy topics like racism and immigration policy.
Romeo Jr.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by David Bowles. It had me feeling nostalgic about the days when I was a teen growing up in a border town in the Rio Grande Valley. I could relate to every poem written as if I were the one telling the story. While voices from the border have been historically marginalized, Bowles, and others of his stature, are shining light on a region that has been neglected far too long. This concise book is just what every kid from the border needs to read. I absolutely recommend it.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome!! A book you can read, during family time, or you will also enjoy it as an adult. I guess since we had so much in common, this makes it exceptional! I really enjoyed every poem, and got a little laugh of them. I can assume a lot of border kids can relate to this book, and many may enjoy reading it. Also, for the adults that lived through these stages, is a good book to remember the good times!!
Dede Fox
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this one. It was a quick read which will appeal to its intended audience of middle schoolers. Bowles understands how difficult it is for kids that age who see themselves as square pegs; he adeptly pulls the reader into the particular time and place. Guero and his friends are a likeable group of guys.
Deena Lipomi
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Guero hangs out with Los Bobbys, his best friends, while navigating middle school, a rude bully, Mexican stereotypes and south of the border love, a large and loving family, and his crush with the help of poetry. The narrator of this novel in verse has spunk, which carries a story that has very little action or tension and is more of a "slice of life" throughout his seventh grade year.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautifully-written book! My daughter and I both loved everything about this book: Güero himself, his relationship with his family, and the larger-than-life setting (and of course, the Spanish sprinkled throughout). Loved seeing the different poetry forms throughout too. Highly recommend!
Mariah Aivazis
I really loved reading this book! It is about Guero who overcomes the bullies around him about celebrates family tradition. Through harsh realities and comfort, Guero, a Mexican-American feels he fits in on both sides because he is fluent in Spanish and English.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An intense read about a young boy living on the border. His insight into family is both charming and funny. There are rocky points, but he is clear on the love of his parents and extended family. Use the entire book or just selected poems. Relevant to topics of today.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning.
Amanda Victoria
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
there is a handful of books i’d love to gift to my younger self if i could—this one is now on that list.

it was funny and lighthearted. i really enjoyed it.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this #ownvoice collection and can't wait to recommend it in my library. For my full review, please visit
Kären Marroquin
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved that this book not only celebrates Mexican/border culture, but also what it is like to be just a little different from everyone else.
Ernesto Cisneros
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book brought back so many fond memories for me. I'm sure it will do the same for many more.
Debbie Armbruster
Ok, but not what I had hoped for.

While I liked that the poems were snapshots of the life of a 12 year old boy, I found the end abrupt. 2.5 stars
Choose a character you'd like (or not like) to have as a
friend. Tell why?

I would like to be Güero’s friend because he seems like a respectful, responsible guy. He started reading at a young age and many people call him a “nerd” because of how smart he is. I feel like I missed out on having a “book smart” friend. If I could be his friend I would simply because he is a very family orientated fictional character. He visits his dad every Saturday and is always spending time with his whole family. H
Raul M
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The back cover of this book indicates that this is a novel in verse. Yet the poems within can be read in nearly any order. The one exception may be found in the poems that speak of the seventh-grade narrator's love interest -- a female peer who is atypically (and admirably) assertive. While the book may be geared toward a young-adult audience, late elementary-school readers might also easily be able to grasp the poetry.

The book is fictional, but I'd nearly deem it a memoir, as likely many deniz
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4th grade +

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems is a collection written by David Bowles. The words are both the memories of his own experiences growing up in south Texas and the experiences of past students. The poems come in all different formats.

In Spanish, “Guero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. In the book, Guero is both lighter skinned than his family and has freckles, a trait his family points out will open doors not available to them. He doesn’t necessarily str
I actually thought it was a collection, not a verse novel. It is a marvelous story told by a new, interesting seventh grader with his own issues, bullies and girls, but loving and smart, he knows how to navigate both sides of the border. Twelve-year-old Güero, Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and both sides of the border. His English teacher shows him how to make poetry cool!
I learned from a review that in Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Angl
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
David Bowles is a Mexican-American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written several titles, most notably THE SMOKING MIRROR (Pura Belpré Honor Book) and THEY CALL ME GÜERO (Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, Claudia Lewis Award for Excellence in Poetry, Pura Belpré Honor Book, Walter Dean Myers Honor Book).

His work ha