Mystery Bigger than Big Review on Beverly Slapin's blog!

Beverly Slapin reviews Mystery Bigger than Big (MBTB) on her blog.


Take a listen to my interview with Houston Public Media's Eric Ladau on the subject of Unaccompanied Minor Children and my latest book, the 4th installment of my bilingual Mickey Rangel mystery series, A Mystery Bigger than Big.

Click here to listen to the Interview.


Goalie work: Mikah wearing the mitts.

Sandia Cup 2015
Bernalillo NM


A pivotal game for LBK FC 06, the boys are tied and have to go to Penalty Kicks (PKs). Mikah's at the goal and for all intents and purposes, he does a great job. He stopped all but two shots. There is a question about one of the shots our boys took: does it go in or does it not?


The ref didn't score it as a goal, and so the boys lost this game that would've given them a shot at the championship; they are actually the team that scored the most goals, and except for this one PK or the missed call, they would've played for 1st on Monday AM. They came in a respectable 3rd place, though. Congrats to them and Coach Adams!


Sonia Nieto and Nikki Grimes Read My Latin@s In Kid Lit Post! And More!

So yeah, I got news from the folks over at Latin@s in Kid Lit that after two days my blog post "Forgive Me My Bluntness" had got 1,400 views (of which, I must admit, a bunch belong to me, but still).

Among all the 1,400 were a few notables: noted multiculturalist Sonia Nieto emailed me her response, and then I got a Tweet from Cindy Rodriguez in which she linked to Nikki Grimes' personal blog in which she posted the following: Grimes' "Mr. Cellophane," an essay on diversity in kids lit.

Do I have to say, I'm thrown for a loop, and am super honored that they read my piece, but how cool that another several hundred read it too.


Don Tate: Book People's "Modern First Library" selection

Yeah! Elated that Don Tate, a master illustrator and author, selected Dale, dale, dale for his list of diverse books to read: http://www.bookpeople.com/don-tate-modern-first-library-recommendations. I've got to get reading.

SLJ: Every Child Ready to Read by Tim Wadham

Hey, so Tim Wadham in his most recent piece for the School Library Journal added my and Carolyn's book to his bilingual/song titles in speaking up for Every Child Ready to Read program: http://www.slj.com/2014/07/collection-development/libro-por-libro/storytime-fiesta-incorporating-every-child-ready-to-read-in-bilingual-programs/.


My Piece on "Reflections" for Latinas 4 Latino Literature

For a second year in a row, I've had the honor and the pleasure to write a short essay for Latinas 4 Latino Literature. When Monica Olivera (follow her at MommyMaestra.com, Latinas4LatinLit.org, and on twitter @LatinMami and @Latinas4LatLit) calls, I answer. This year she invited me to submit a piece on "Reflections." Click on the link, to read My "Reflections" essay on Eva Smith's blog, TechFoodLife.com.


1st Review of Dale, dale, dale: una fiesta de numeros/Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers

Follow this link to read the first review of my upcoming picture book, Dale, dale, dale: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rene-saldana-jr/dale-dale-dale-hit-it-hit-it-hit-it/. It is a story of a boy's 12th birthday and all the day's goings-on. It is a bilingual format. And check it out, I got to do both the Spanish and the English.

I don't yet have the official cover, and so I'm not posting an image of it yet. But I will.

I'm excited to publish this alongside picture book writer and illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores (Canta, Rana, Canta--Piñata Books).

The book is out May 31st.


Freire and Writing

In the "First Letter" in his short book Teachers as Cultural Workers, Paulo Freire states, "Nobody can write who never writes."

I got my start with open mics at a place called The High Dive in McAllen, TX, run by a huge supporter of the arts and who put his money where his mouth is, Noe Hinojosa. Noe used to help the regional visual artists by displaying their work on every wall of his coffee joint (floor to ceiling, literally), making it available for purchase. He also held weekly readings, normally open mics on a Friday night. This is where I heard Jan Seale (former Texas poet Laureate) and Carmen Tafolla (San Antonio's poet laureate). He also used to sell a bottomless cup of pretty good coffee. Which I always took advantage of.

I recall a few of the regulars who shared their work with the audiences. One of them came and read the same poems every Friday, accompanied by the same set ups for each of the pieces. This guy was a great performer, and self-depricating, too, which made it easier to like his on-stage persona.

I recall that at some point in our friendship he asked me to look over his poetry, to offer critique, which I was happy to do. After all, this is one of the ways writers get better at the craft: we read one another's work, tell one another what's working and what's not, let the critique stew in our heads for a while, then get to my favorite part of writing--the revision, or the re-envisioning of a piece of writing. Sometimes a dramatic experience. Other times traumatic. On a few occasions, both.

So despite knowing his work intimately from hearing it time and time again at the readings, I read the work off the page and came up with some suggestions. I forget what I offered him in terms of advice, but one thing I do remember suggesting that he read the work of other poets, those writing in a similar vein (and I remember it solely based on his response, which I wasn't expecting).

This was his answer (and I paraphrase): I'd rather not read the work of others. I don't want to be influenced by their work.

I come from a wholly different school of writing, I guess, but this struck me as the response of a guy who wasn't serious about the craft. I feel very strongly that in order for my craft to improve I've got to read and read and read. Find out from what's been and what's being published what I can be doing with my poems and stories and essays. It's a worthwhile endeavor, and humbling. To take these folks on as mentors, as teachers, as primers. I mean, I'm a moron when it comes to writing--I know it about myself. I don't know it all. I get it. And I also get that for me to keep learning about my craft I've got to study it, and sometimes this learning--strike that--often, this learning takes the form of reading the work of others. I am not so advanced (even with 7-8 titles under my belt) that I cannot find tons of lessons in the books that I read. Whatever those lessons are.

Anyhow, back to Freire: nobody can write who doesn't write: yes, most certainly, he's correct. And if part of learning to write is reading (and it is), then I would suggest that nobody can write who doesn't read.