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The Jumping Tree

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  33 reviews
These lively stories follow Rey Castaneda from sixth through eighth grade in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. One side of Rey's family lives nearby in Mexico, the other half in Texas, and Rey fits in on both sides of the border. In Nuevo Penitas, he enjoys fooling around with his pals in the barrio; at school, he's one of the "A list" kids.

As Rey begins to cross the border from child
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 10th 2002 by Laurel Leaf (first published May 8th 2001)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Ariatna Garza
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Jumping Tree, Rene Saldana Jr.
Rating *****
Bookshelves ENGL 420
Status Read in May 6-7, 2014

In The Jumping Tree, Reynaldo, named after his father, tells his own story of growing up in Penitas, Texas, a town right across the border of Mexico. He writes of what it was like growing up in a Mexican home in the United States. In a series of short stories, Reynaldo invites the reader into his life. He writes of his family, whom he loves very much. He writes of his mother and father, of their example
Brittany Sweeney
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
In his typical short story format, Rene Saldana spins the tale of Rey Castaneda from his sixth grade to his eighth grade years in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. One side of Rey's family lives nearby in Mexico, the other half in Texas, and Rey is a perfect fit in both worlds, playing the role of the goof-off in the first and enjoying his status as an "A-lister" in Texas. As Rey grows up, he begins to learn the difficulties of becoming a man and in following the footsteps his father expects him to emulate. ...more
I liked this.
I have spent several years w/Latino's, Hispanic's and those from Central and South America.
I would compare this book to the Movie, "McFarland, USA."
Jane Gomez

Oh how I wanted to be able to rate this book a 5 star but I can’t. I am very familiar with the setting of the story having taught myself at Nellie Schunior Middle Schooling’s La Joya, TX which I thought would make me love the story. However, nostalgic as it was to envision the world of Penitas, the plot was ambling at best. The story doesn’t seem to have a point, a lesson, a takeaway. Beautiful for me but underwhelming as a novel.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara Pearce
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
While reading this coming-of-age novel that explores identity and family, among many other things, I found myself reading with a little bit of an accent, which was kind of fun. I really loved how Saldana used so many words in Spanish, but did it in a way that you could figure out what the English word was. Or he would give sentences in Spanish and then have characters repeat the sentences or answer in English in such a way that you could understand the gist of the Spanish phrases. That was a ver ...more
Maria Garza
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Jumping Tree
I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s about a boy named Rey and his experiences while being in the sixth grade through eighth grade. Rey lives in Texas really close to Mexico. So in the book it goes on by showing us how the two cultures mix. I can really relate since I am a Mexican American. Rey had to distinguish how to be in school with the “American” culture and then at home to keep up with his demands of “Mexican” culture. I also loved how Rene Saldana added the Spanish (M
English Education
***spoiler alert***The jumping Tree tells the coming-of-age story of the twelve year old Reynaldo Castaneda, who lives in La Joya in Texas, really close to Mexico. As he has family in both countries, the teenager is used to cross the border. His main concern is how to become a good man, just like his dad. The story shows how Reynold’s understanding of being Chicano or Mexican-American changes throughout the years, and it emphasizes the importance of persevering one’s native language and culture. ...more
Christina Getrost
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: multicultural classrooms, anyone interested in Chicano heritage modern day life
Shelves: realisticfiction
This is a nice book about growing up Chicano in south Texas. Rey is a U.S. citizen, as his father came over the border from Mexico years earlier, and these are stories of his 6th and 7th grade years. Roughhousing with his best friend Chuy, who works migrant labor in the fields; collecting cigarette butts to sneak smokes; accidentally locking his baby brother alone in the house! Boy stuff. He looks up to his hardworking father and uncles, and learns to be proud to be Chicano. I liked the mixing i ...more
James Gordon
Dec 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Through a collection of life stories, Saldaña portrays young Rey’s life through his own eyes. Rey is not a boy any more, but he is far from being a man. He wants so much to be like his father, yet he yearns to fit in with the kids at school. Readers are taken through these few years of his life and given an insight to his decision-making, which mostly reflects his desire to please his family. Readers learn who Rey is as he figures out who he is as a Chicano boy living in Texas. Saldaña combines ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
COming of Age/Latino Lit/YA

The Jumping Tree is the tale of a young Latino boy growing up in Southern Texas. It is arranged as a series of short stories, through which we come to learn who Rey is, and what it means for him to be Latino. We follow him as he learns what it is to be a man, to be Latino in America, to stand up for the things that you know are true. The plot meanders a bit, as each story has it's own theme, but throughout the whole we see Rey piecing together his self-image. Short but
Lauren Hopkins
Dec 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Genre: Race/Culture/Coming of Age

Reynaldo lives in a town on the border between Texas and Mexico. Through the novel, he learns to deal with his place as a Mexican-American, having both cultures. Reynaldo must balance the demands of his Mexican friends and his friends at school. His biggest desire is to be like his father. In the end, he learns to have pride in his culture. Saldana voice is excellent as he weaves Spanish and English together. Ultimately, this book is most suited for those in simi
Lj bunker
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book shows the struggle of growing up and having to chose between being a man and making responsible decisions or having fun with your friends. In this book the main character Rey must make this very difficult decision. He hangs out with his friends and they put him in very bad situations that can get him in trouble. Luckily he finds his way back on the the best path of life.
This is definitely a book geared to older readers in 8th or 9th grade. It can be used to show how important choosing
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books that I imagine stumbling across in a few years and being completely incapable of remembering what it was about despite being sure that I'd read it.

I understand the value of the coming-of-age novel . . . but then, this doesn't seem to work as a novel. If anything, it's structured more like a literary essay. A fictitious biography, if you will, with some culture added to it to keep it interesting.

Unfortunately, none of that lured me in.
Charla Aranda
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Rey is a Mexican boy who grows up in South Texas. This coming of age novel depicts his struggle with identity. He learns to embrace his heritage and feel pride for who he is, despite of the struggles he and his friends go through due to said culture.

I especially enjoyed reading this book since it's laden with Spanish phrases left and right. I love Spanish. The writing was pretty good, and I'd recommend this book to kids in junior high and up.

Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Randomly picked this one off the shelf when visiting our new library. It was a nice story. It appealed to me because it deals with a culture I know very little about (Chicano). My brother and his wife are hoping to adopt 3 very adorable Tex-Mex kids, though, and so I wondered if it would give me some perspective. Mostly, though, it was the story of a boy that I felt could be any boy, anywhere. Very sweet.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Again, a book my students can relate to. I find that the book could have been better if there was more of a flow to the stories, makig them more connected (not the actual writing itself). The images the stories bring up are familiar and welcome. Great sense of culture without being preachy about it. Love that the author was my professor too!
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Even though the main character Rey wants everyone to think he’s becoming a man, he is also testing his limits to find out what it means to be a man. Sometimes he takes the risk his brain tells him not to and other times, his conscience wins. In the end, Rey learns that being a man means being your OWN man; one you can live with and be proud.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author, Rene Saldana, who used to teach with me at Mission High School, wrote this delightful book on a child's life in the Rio Grande Valley. I could relate to so many of his stories -- playing in the canal, shopping across the border and jumping in the piles of clothes at Johnson's Ropa Usada. His dialog is authentically Tex-Mex -- "Nombre miss!" This book really cracked me up! ...more
Jennifer Peterson
This book is a coming of age story about a young boy, Reynaldo, who grows up on the boarders of South Texas. His role model is his father. It is a collection of short stories about Reynaldo and gives a lot of information about the life of in Southern Texas.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good story, quick read. Features an 11 year old boy and the adventures he experiences in life living on both sides of the Mexican-USA border. Humorous at times, intriguing, and some good, solid life lessons.

Here is a booktalk I did featuring this title:
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: authors-i-met
Read this one to Justin. He loved it. So good for children and young adults.
Oct 09, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is about a Mexican-Amarican boy and how he saw life.
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really funny but poignant vignettes written by a local author. Full of great messages about courage, integrity, and growing up. My students couldn't get enough. ...more
Gabriela Martinez
i think it is good book
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was assigned by Dr. Newman at UTPA.

The main character illustrates what it is like to grow up in Penitas, Texas.
Oct 06, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: americas-award
2001 Americas Commended Title
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mexican American Culture and a great message. There's no way I couldn't love this book. ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of stories from a young man growing up near Mexico in Texas.
Edgar Sandoval
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
No jumping trees were killed in the making of this book 😒
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René Saldaña Jr. graduated from Georgia State University (Ph.D.) with degrees in English and creative writing. He and his family live in south Texas, where he teaches English and writing at the university level. He is the author of "The Jumping Tree "and "Finding Our Way." ...more

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