According to the inside of the jacket of this book “Inspired by his youth in California’s Central Valley, Gary Soto’s poems are direct, vivid, and brimming with the emotions that make growing up so wondrous.”
Before you get to the poems, you are greeted with Gary Soto’s introduction explaining how he wanted to stay true to those things of his childhood – “I wanted to give these things life and to write so well that my poems would express their simple beauty.”
The cover is a pair of hands grasping an orange – a significant fruit grown in the area he grew up in (California’s Central Valley) but also for most of the state of California. The poems are not complicated, they are real – they can be funny to melancholy. There are even a few poems dedicated to the subject of having crushes on girls. Each poem has a small blurb explaining Soto’s poetic intentions and to give background information.
You can read some if not all the book on Google Books and explore this poetry too. It will resonate perfectly with many Mexican-Americans, but also provide poetic insight for those that may not be able to relate. My favorite poem is on page 22 of the book called Eating Mexican Food, which gives “rules” about eating these unique foods. For example
Marching on your tongue
It’s okay to scream into your napkin.
Note that this is not a picture book, but more suited for students in junior high and even high school. Poetry is for everyone.