Soto, Gary 1952–
SOTO, Gary 1952–
Born April 12, 1952, in Fresno, CA; son of Manuel and Angie Soto; married Carolyn Sadako Oda, May 24, 1975; children: Mariko Heidi. Education: California State University, Fresno, B.A., 1974; University of California, Irvine, M.F.A., 1976.
University of California, Berkeley, assistant professor 1979-85, associate professor of English and ethnic studies, 1985-91, part-time senior lecturer in English department, 1991-93; full-time writer, 1992—; University of California, Riverside, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, Elliston Poet, 1988; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Martin Luther King/Cesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Visiting Professor of English, 1990. Young People's Ambassador for California Rural Legal Assistance and United Farm Workers of America.
Discovery-Nation prize, 1975; United States Award, International Poetry Forum, 1976, for The Elements of San Joaquin; Bess Hokin Prize, Poetry, 1978; Guggenheim fellowship, 1979-80; National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, 1981, 1991; Levinson Award, Poetry, 1984; American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1985, for Living up the Street; California Arts Council fellowship, 1989; Beatty Award, California Library Association, 1991, Reading Magic Award, Parenting magazine, and George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit, Claremont Graduate School, 1993, all for Baseball in April, and Other Stories; Carnegie Medal, 1993, for The Pool Party; National Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, both 1995, both for New and Selected Poems; Literature Award, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, 1999; Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award, National Education Association, 1999; PEN American Center West Book Award, 1999, for Petty Crimes; Silver Medal, Commonwealth Club of California/Tomás Rivera Prize.
(With Michael Peich) Heaven, Aralia Press, 1970.
The Level at Which the Sky Begins, University of California (Irvine, CA), 1976.
The Elements of San Joaquin (poems), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1977.
The Tale of Sunlight (poems), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1978.
(With Ernesto Trejo) Como arbustos de Niebla, Editorial Latitudes (Mexico City, Mexico), 1980.
Father Is a Pillow Tied to a Broom, (Pittsburgh, PA), 1980.
Where Sparrows Work Hard (poems), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1981.
Black Hair (poems), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1985.
Living up the Street: Narrative Recollections (prose memoirs), Strawberry Hill (San Francisco, CA), 1985.
Small Faces (prose memoirs), Arté Público (Houston, TX), 1986.
The Cat's Meow, illustrated by wife, Carolyn Soto, Strawberry Hill (San Francisco, CA), 1987.
Lesser Evils: Ten Quartets (memoirs and essays), Arté Público (Houston, TX), 1988.
(Editor) California Childhood: Recollections and Stories of the Golden State, Creative Arts Book Company (Berkeley, CA), 1988.
A Fire in My Hands (poems), Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990, revised edition, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
A Summer Life (autobiography), University Presses of New England (Hanover, NH), 1990.
Baseball in April, and Other Stories, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1990.
Who Will Know Us? (poems), Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1990.
Home Course in Religion (poems), Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1991.
Taking Sides, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1991.
Neighborhood Odes, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1992.
Pacific Crossing, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1992.
The Skirt, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1992.
Too Many Tamales (picture book), Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor) Pieces of the Heart: New Chicano Fiction, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1993.
Local News (short stories), Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1993.
The Pool Party (also see below), Delacorte (New York, NY), 1993.
Crazy Weekend, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.
Jesse, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1994.
Afternoon Memory, Lagniappe Press, 1994.
Boys at Work, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1995.
Canto Familiar/Familiar Song (poetry), Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1995.
The Cat's Meow, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
Chato's Kitchen, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.
(Editor) Everyday Seductions, Ploughshare Press (Sea Bright, NJ), 1995.
New and Selected Poems, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1995.
Summer on Wheels, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
The Sparrows Move South: Early Poems, Bancroft Library Press, 1995.
(With Celina Hinojosa) The Mustache, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.
The Old Man and His Door, Putnam (New York, NY), 1996.
Snapshots of the Wedding, Putnam (New York, NY), 1996.
Tomando partido, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1996.
(With John Digby) Super-Eight Movies: Poems, Lagniappe Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 1996.
Off and Running (juvenile), illustrated by Eric Velasquez, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1996.
Buried Onions, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1997.
Novio Boy (play; also see below), Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1997.
Junior College: Poems, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1997.
Petty Crimes, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1998.
Big Bushy Mustache, Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.
Chato and the Party Animals, illustrated by Susan Guevara, Putnam (New York, NY), 1999.
Nerdlandia (play), Putnam (New York, NY), 1999.
A Natural Man, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
Nickel and Dime, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2000.
The Effects of Knut Hamsun on a Fresno Boy: Recollections and Short Essays, Persea (New York, NY), 2000.
Jessie de la Cruz: Profile of a United Farm Worker, Persea (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Molly Fisk) 100 Parades, California Poets in the Schools, 2000.
Poetry Lover, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2001.
If the Shoe Fits, illustrated by Terry Widener, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Shadow of the Plum: Poems, Cedar Hill Publications (San Diego, CA), 2002.
Fearless Fernie: Hanging out with Fernie and Me (poems), illustrated by Regan Dunnick, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
One Kind of Faith, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2003.
Cesar Chavez: A Hero for Everyone, illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.
Amnesia in a Republican County (novel), University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2003.
The Afterlife (young-adult novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2003.
Marisol, Pleasant Company (Middleton, WI), 2005.
Worlds Apart: Traveling with Fernie and Me (poems), illustrated by Greg Clarke, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.
Help Wanted: Stories, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Chato Goes Cruisin', illustrated by Susan Guevara, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.
My Little Car/Mi carrito, illustrated by Pam Paparone, Putnam (New York, NY), 2006.
Jesse (young-adult novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Accidental Love (young-adult novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Mercy on These Teenage Chimps (young-adult novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.
Contributor of poems to Nation, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Ontario Review, and Poetry. Contributor to textbooks, including Scholastic Read XL, Grade 7, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.
The Bike, Gary Soto Productions, 1991.
The Pool Party, Gary Soto Productions, 1993.
Novio Boy (based on Soto's play), Gary Soto Productions, 1994.
Soto's works have been adapted to audiocassette and videocassette.
Gary Soto, born in Fresno, California, is an American writer who is influenced by his working-class Mexican-American background. An award-winning author, he is best known for his poetry, short stories, and novels for young adults. Soto brings the sights and sounds of the barrio, the urban, Spanish-speaking neighborhood where he was raised, vividly to life within the pages of his books. In his writing, as Raymund Paredes noted in the Rocky Mountain Review: "Soto establishes his acute sense of ethnicity and, simultaneously, his belief that certain emotions, values, and experiences transcend ethnic boundaries and allegiances."
In his first volume of poetry, The Elements of San Joaquin, Soto offers a grim portrait of Mexican-American life. His poems depict the violence of urban life, the exhausting labor of rural life, and the futility of trying to recapture the innocence of childhood. In Chicano Poetry, Juan Bruce-Novoa likened Soto's poetic vision to early twentieth-century British writer T.S. Eliot's bleak portrait of the modern world in The Waste Land. Soto uses wind-swept dust as a dominant image, and he also introduces such elements as rape, unflushed toilets, a drowned baby and, as Bruce-Novoa quoted him, "men/Whose arms/Were bracelets/Of burns."
Soto's skill with the figurative language of poetry has been noted by reviewers throughout his career, and in Western American Literature Jerry Bradley praised the metaphors in The Elements of San Joaquin as "evocative, enlightening, and haunting." Though unsettled by the negativism of the collection, Bruce-Novoa noted that the work nonetheless "convinces because of its well-wrought structure, the craft, the coherence of its totality." Moreover, he thought, because it brings such a vivid portrait of poverty to the reading public, The Elements of San Joaquin is "a social as well as a literary achievement."
In the poems in Black Hair Soto focuses on his friends and family. He portrays fondly the times he shared with his friends as an adolescent and the more recent moments he has spent with his young daughter. Ellen Lesser, writing in Voice Literary Supplement, was charmed by Soto's poetic tone, "the quality of the voice, the immediate, human presence that breathes through the lines." The critic claimed that Soto's celebration of innocence and sentiment is shaded with a knowledge of "the larger, often threatening world." In the Christian Science Monitor, Tom D'Evelyn hailed Soto's ability to go beyond the circumstances of his own life and write of "something higher," concluding that, "somehow Gary Soto has become not an important Chicano poet but an important American poet. More power to him."
When Soto discusses American racial tensions in the prose collections Living up the Street: Narrative Recollections and Small Faces, he uses vignettes drawn from his own childhood. One vignette shows the anger the author felt upon realizing that his brown-skinned brother would never be considered an attractive child by conventional American standards. Another shows Soto's surprise at discovering that, contrary to his family's advice to marry a Mexican, he was falling in love with a woman of Japanese ancestry. In these deliberately small-scale recollections, as Paredes noted, "it is a measure of Soto's skill that he so effectively invigorates and sharpens our understanding of the commonplace." With these volumes Soto acquired a solid reputation as a prose writer as well as a poet; Living up the Street earned him an American Book award.
Soto's autobiographical prose continued with Lesser Evils: Ten Quartets and A Summer Life, the first of which reflects the poet's experience with Catholicism—in the same interview Soto declared himself a reconciled Catholic. A Summer Life consists of thirty-nine short essays. According to Ernesto Trejo in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, these pieces "make up a compelling biography" of Soto's youth. As he had done in previous works, Soto here "holds the past up to memory's probing flashlight, turns it around ever so carefully, and finds in the smallest of incidents the occasion for literature." Writing in the Americas Review, Hector Torres compared A Summer Life with Soto's earlier autobiographical texts and asserted that the later book "moves with greater stylistic elegance and richer thematic coherence."
During the early 1990s Soto turned his attentions in a new direction: children's literature. A first volume of short stories for young readers, Baseball in April, and Other Stories, was published in 1990. The eleven tales depict Mexican-American boys and girls as they enter adolescence in Hispanic California neighborhoods. In the New York Times Book Review, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria called the stories "sensitive and economical," then praised Soto: "Because he stays within the teenagers' universe … he manages to convey all the social change and stress without bathos or didacticism. In fact, his stories are moving, yet humorous and entertaining." In the Americas Review, Torres suggested that Baseball in April, and Other Stories is "the kind of work that could be used to teach high school and junior high school English classes."
One of Soto's juvenile characters, a boy named Lincoln Mendoza, appears as a protagonist in two works: Taking Sides and Pacific Crossing. As a Mexican-American eighth-grader in Taking Sides, Lincoln is confronted with challenges and insecurities when he and his mother move from San Francisco's Mission District to a predominantly Anglo suburb, and he must work to keep his heritage intact in his new environment. Pacific Crossing finds Lincoln and one of his friends facing cultural challenges in another context: they embark on a voyage to Japan as exchange students. Writing in the Multicultural Review, Osbelia Juarez Rocha called Pacific Crossing "cleverly crafted" and "entertaining."
Soto has also written poetry for younger readers, most notably the volumes A Fire in My Hands and Neighborhood Odes, both of which focus on growing up in the Mexican neighborhoods of California's Central Valley. Maeve Visser Knoth described Soto's verse as "simple poems of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood … about ordinary events and emotions made remarkable by Soto's skilled use of words and images," in her review for Horn Book. In A Fire in My Hands, the poet prefaces each selection with a brief paragraph providing background information on both the events described in the poem and the process by which the work was written, thus aiding younger readers' comprehension of his work. Neighborhood Odes glorifies the small celebrations in a child's life. While Soto's setting remains the barrios of Fresno, as a Horn Book reviewer noted, "other than the small details of daily life—peoples' names or the foods they eat—these poems could be about any neighborhood." Fearless Fernie: Hanging out with Fernie and Me and its companion volume Worlds Apart: Traveling with Fernie and Me are told in verse. The works feature the misadventures of two middle school boys, best friends since they could crawl. In the former work, the pair navigate such familiar adolescent situations as learning to dance and trying to impress a teacher, and in the latter they take an imaginary trip around the globe. According to Hazel Rochman, reviewing Worlds Apart in Booklist: "It's the friendship story, both silly and affectionate, that is the real subject."
Soto has ventured as well into the arena of children's picture books. Too Many Tamales depicts the story of Maria, a young girl who misplaces her mother's wedding ring in tamale dough while helping to prepare a Christmastime feast. Maria—with her cousins' help—embarks on a futile effort to recover the ring by consuming vast quantities of tamales. A little girl gets a shiny new lowrider pedal car for her birthday in My Little Car/Mi carrito, "an enjoyable foray into Mexican-American culture," wrote School Library Journal contributor Maria Otero-Boisvert. Teresa loves her new present, but when she neglects the toy and it falls into disrepair, her grandfather helps her restore it to mint condition. "Soto's pithy text uses a mix of Spanish and English to great effect," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, and a critic in Kirkus Reviews deemed the work "a multicultural lesson with lots of zip."
Chato's Kitchen introduces a cat whose efforts to entice the local "ratoncitos"—little mice—lead him to prepare abundant portions of fajitas, frijoles, enchiladas, and other foods. Soto continued the adventures of the indomitable feline in Chato's Surprise Pachanga and Chato and the Party Animals. In the latter work, Chato learns that his pal Novio Boy has never had his own birthday party. The fellow feline doesn't even know when he was born, because he came from the pound. Chato decides to throw him a party—but then forgets to invite the guest of honor. The assembled party becomes a search operation, and when they cannot find Novio Boy, the guests turn mournful. The missing Novio Boy turns up with new adventures to tell, and the party becomes celebratory once again. "Rollicking language—a completely integrated and poetic combination of barrio slang, Spanish, and colloquial English—carries the story along," remarked School Library Journal reviewer Ann Welton, while Booklist's Gillian Engberg praised the book's "startlingly expressive animals, symbols of Latino culture, and winged-cat angels [that] form dynamic, wild compositions." In Chato Goes Cruisin', Chato wins a sweepstakes cruise for two and invites Novio Boy to join him. Once on the ship, however, the pair discover that the other guests are all dogs, and the food and festivities are geared to a canine clientele. When the dogs fall ill and require medical assistance, Chato and Novio Boy come to their rescue. According to School Library Journal Angela J. Reynolds, "the 'homecats' endear themselves to readers with charm and humor."
In the young-adult novel Buried Onions, Eddie is trying to escape the poverty and gang violence of the Fresno barrio by taking vocational classes. When his cousin Chuy is stabbed to death, he is urged by his aunt to find the killer and avenge the death of his relative, but Eddie just wants to find a way out of this claustrophobic world. Meanwhile, a job in an affluent suburb goes awry when his boss's truck is stolen while in his care. Finally, with a gang member looking for him and with his money gone, Eddie opts to join the military in hopes that he can find a better life. "In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs," remarked a critic for Kirkus Reviews. The same reviewer noted that this "unrelenting portrait is unsparing in squalid details," concluding that the book is a "valuable tale" and "one that makes no concessions."
The Afterlife, a sequel of sorts to Buried Onions, looks at many of the same events from a different perspective: that of Chuy's ghost. After the stabbing incident, Chuy's spirit rises from his body and visits the people and places that were most important to him. "Chuy's death has placed him in a position to view life philosophically, especially his own lost life," wrote James Blasingame in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Chuy then meets Crystal, a girl who has just committed suicide; according to Booklist critic Ilene Cooper, "their relationship is beautifully evoked, with Chuy grasping every thread of love he can as he slowly disappears." "Soto sends the couple floating toward the afterlife with poetic metaphors of autumn," stated Horn Book reviewer Lauren Adams, "defining the book not as tragic reality but ghostly romance."
Soto's fictional exploration of Latino-American culture continues in Nickel and Dime. The work recounts the lives of three adult men: Roberto and Gus, both security guards at a local bank, and Silver, a poet. One of the guards loses his job and finds himself plummeting into an economic free fall; another character also becomes homeless. Silver reminds his audience at an open-mike poetry night that poetry should not concern itself with mundane, self-absorbed matters; it should be about "people who suffer," he rails. Through the plight of the men, Soto attempts to show that even the best intentions cannot help those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder make it past "working poor" status, even in good times. A Publishers Weekly review of Nickel and Dime called its author "a versatile, unsentimental and clear storyteller, and his range of talents converge to illuminate the lives of these three Chicano men living in the shadows."
An angry, indifferent high school girl finds romance with a loveable nerd in Accidental Love, a "warmhearted, humorous novel," wrote Miranda Doyle in School Library Journal. After a scuffle in an elevator, Marisa realizes she has grabbed the wrong cell phone. When she returns the phone to its rightful owner, Rene, a geeky chess player, Marisa is captivated. She transfers to Rene's magnet school, loses weight, and even lands a role in the school play. Marisa and Rene's "efforts to changes themselves and each other are touching and funny," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Not everyone is happy with the situation, however; Marisa's former classmates, as well as Rene's mother, disapprove of the relationship. "Soto deepens this gentle romance between opposites with subtle, authentic glimpses of an uncertain world," remarked Booklist critic Gillian Engberg.
Soto has also published a collection, The Effects of Knut Hamsun on a Fresno Boy: Recollections and Short Essays. Some of the selections had been previously published, but are now out of print; there were five new essays from Soto about his life as a writer. Booklist critic Hazel Rochman stated that Soto's lyrical style emerges even when recounting incidents from his childhood. "The poet is always here, not portentous, but in the cadences of how we talk," Rochman wrote. She also commended Soto's biography of a well-known Latina union activist in California, Jessie de la Cruz: Profile of a United Farm Worker. Rochman termed it as "stirring American history," and predicted that "teens will be caught by the facts of her hardship and struggle." As Soto noted on his Web site, he met de la Cruz and felt immediately drawn to tell her story. The longtime union activist had become an agricultural laborer as a very young child, and was intensely involved in the industry's struggles in California during the 1950s and 1960s. Soto himself once worked in the San Joaquin Valley as a fruit picker when he was younger, and was familiar with the backbreaking nature of the work. He interviewed those who knew de la Cruz and sought to infuse her story with a certain sense of drama. He examined the life of another famous activist in Cesar Chavez: A Hero for Everyone. Chavez, a Mexican-American laborer, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. In the biography, "Soto clearly shows how Chavez's outlook and determination were rooted in his boyhood experiences with poverty, injustice, and prejudice," observed Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan.
Soto's ability to tell a story, to recreate moments of his own past in a manner that transcends the boundaries of race or age, to transport his reader to the world of his own childhood is felt within each of his written works. "Soto's remembrances are as sharply defined and appealing as bright new coins," wrote Alicia Fields in the Bloomsbury Review. "His language is spare and simple yet vivid." But it is his joyful outlook, strong enough to transcend the poverty of the barrio, that makes his work so popular. The optimism with which he views his own life radiates from each of his young characters—Soto views life as a gift and his talent for expression is his gift to his readers. As he told Hector Avalos Torres in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, writing "is my one talent. There are a lot of people who never discover what their talent is … I am very lucky to have found mine."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bruce-Novoa, Juan, Chicano Poetry: A Response to Chaos, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1982.
Children's Literature Review, Volume 38, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 32, 1985, Volume 80, 1994.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 82: Chicano Writers, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.
Hispanic Literature Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.
American Book Review, July-August, 1982.
Americas Review, spring, 1991, Hector Torres, review of A Summer Life, pp. 111-115.
Bloomsbury Review, January-February, 1987, Alicia Fields, "Small but Telling Moments," p. 10.
Booklist, April 1, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of A Fire in My Hands, pp. 1437-1438; September 15, 1993, Hazel Rochman, review of Too Many Tamales, p. 151; June 1, 1995, review of Boys at Work, p. 1773; October 1, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of Canto Familiar, p. 312; March 15, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of Petty Crimes, p. 1245; October 1, 1999, Annie Ayres, review of Nerdlandia: A Play, p. 349; November 1, 1999, Karen Harris, review of Pacific Crossing, p. 549; February 15, 2000, James O'Laughlin, review of Nickel and Dime, p. 1085; August, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Chato and the Party Animals, p. 2150; November 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of The Effects of Knut Hamsun on a Fresno Boy: Recollections and Short Essays, p. 512; November 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Jessie de la Cruz: Profile of a United Farm Worker, p. 633; August, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The Afterlife, p. 1981; December 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Cesar Chavez: A Hero for Everyone, p. 748; March 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Worlds Apart: Traveling with Fernie and Me, p. 129; May 1, 2005, Linda Perkins, review of Help Wanted, p. 1581, and Gillian Engberg, review of Chato Goes Cruisin', p. 1593; January 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Accidental Love, p. 86; March 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of My Little Car/Mi cerrito, p. 99; April 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of A Fire in My Hands, p. 31.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 1990, Roger Sutton, review of Baseball in April and Other Stories, p. 199.
Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 1985, Tom D'Evelyn, review of Black Hair.
Denver Quarterly, summer, 1982.
Horn Book, March, 1992, review of A Fire in My Hands, p. 216; May, 1992, review of Neighborhood Odes, p. 352; November-December, 1992, Ellen Fader, review of Pacific Crossing, pp. 725-726; July-August, 2002, Nell D. Beram, review of If the Shoe Fits, p. 451, and Roger Sutton, review of Fearless Fernie: Hanging out with Fernie and Me, p. 480; November-December, 2003, Lauren Adams, review of The Afterlife, p. 755; May-June, 2005, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Help Wanted, p. 333, and Roger Sutton, review of Worlds Apart, p. 344; July-August, 2005, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Chato Goes Cruisin', p. 459.
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, November, 2003, James Blasingame, review of The Afterlife, p. 269.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1993, review of Local News, p. 464; June 15, 1993, review of The Pool Party, p. 792; April 1, 1997, review of Buried Onions, p. 1229; March 1, 1998, review of Petty Crimes, p. 345; October 15, 2000, review of The Effects of Knut Hamsun on a Fresno Boy, pp. 1469-1470; April 15, 2005, review of Chato Goes Cruisin', p. 482; May 1, 2005, review of Help Wanted, p. 547; December 15, 2005, review of Accidental Love, p. 1327; March 1, 2006, review of My Little Car, p. 240.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Michele Winship, review of The Afterlife, p. 13.
Library Journal, December, 1999, Harold Augenbraum, review of Nickel and Dime, p. 190.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 5, 1990, Ernesto Trejo, "Memories of a Fresno Boyhood," pp. 1, 9; August 15, 1993, Suzanne Curley, "A Better Place to Live," p. 8.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May, 2004, Michelle West, review of The Afterlife, p. 32.
Multicultural Review, June, 1993, Osbelia Juarez Rocha, review of Pacific Crossing, pp. 76, 78.
Nation, June 7, 1993, pp. 772-774.
NEA Today, November, 1992, p. 9.
New York Times Book Review, October 11, 1981, Alan Cheuse, "The Voices of Chicano," pp. 15, 36-37; August 20, 1990, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, "Growing up North of the Border," p. 45.
Parnassus, fall-winter, 1979, Peter Cooley, review of The Tale of Sunlight.
Poetry, March, 1980, Alan Williamson, "In a Middle Style," pp. 348-354; June, 1985.
Publishers Weekly, March 4, 1988, review of Lesser Evils, p. 102; March 23, 1992, review of Neighborhood Odes, p. 74; August 24, 1992, review of The Skirt, p. 80; April 12, 1993, review of Local News, p. 64; August 16, 1993, p. 103; January 31, 1994, review of Crazy Weekend, p. 90; February 6, 1995, review of Chato's Kitchen, pp. 84-85; January 20, 1997, review of Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 401; December 8, 1997, review of Off and Running, p. 74; April 26, 1999, Joanne M. Hammond, review of Pacific Crossing, p. 55; February 14, 2000, review of Nickel and Dime, p. 175; April 24, 2006, review of My Little Car, p. 60.
Revista Chicano-Riqueña, summer, 1983.
Rocky Mountain Review, Volume 41, numbers 1-2, 1987, Raymund Paredes, "Recent Chicano Fiction," pp. 126-128.
San Francisco Review of Books, summer, 1986, Geoffrey Dunn, review of Living up the Street, p. 11.
School Library Journal, November, 1991, Bruce Anne Shook, review of Taking Sides, p. 124; March, 1992, Barbara Chatton, review of A Fire in My Hands, p. 264; May, 1992, Renee Steinberg, review of Neighborhood Odes, p. 128; June, 1995, Rosie Peasley, review of Boys at Work, p. 113; July, 1995, review of Chato's Kitchen, p. 69; July, 2000, Ann Welton, review of Chato and the Party Animals, p. 88; November, 2003, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Afterlife, p. 148; January, 2004, John Sigwald, review of Cesar Chavez, p. 123; March, 2005, Nina Lindsay, review of Worlds Apart, p. 234; May, 2005, Diane P. Tuccillo, review of Help Wanted: Stories, p. 139; June, 2005, Angela J. Reynolds, review of Chato Goes Cruisin', p. 128; July, 2005, Coop Renner, review of Taking Sides, p. 45; January, 2006, Miranda Doyle, review of Accidental Love, p. 143; June, 2006, Maria Otero-Boisvert, review of My Little Car, p. 145.
Voice Literary Supplement, September, 1985, Ellen Lesser, review of Black Hair.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1995, Maura Bresnahan, review of Summer on Wheels, pp. 27-28.
Western American Literature, spring, 1979, Jerry Bradley, review of The Elements of San Joaquin; May, 1989, Gerald Haslam, review of Lesser Evils, pp. 92-93.
Official Gary Soto Home Page,http://www.garysoto.com (October 15, 2006).*