The First Review: Kirkus Reviews!

April 15, 2009

Saldaña Jr., René
A Mickey Rangel Mystery, P.I./Colección Mickey Rangel, Detective Privado
Illus. by Giovanni Mora
Carolina Villarroel

Mickey Rangel, a sweet, intuitive and smart fifth-grade student, faces the challenges of his first case as an amateur detective: the theft of an elegant pen, engraved with the White House logo and the President’s signature, a gift to classmate Eddy from his senator father. The pen has gone missing from Miss Garza’s classroom. The prime suspect: the gorgeous and distant Toots Rodríguez, Mickey’s secret love and his enemy’s girlfriend, who appeals to Mickey to clear her name. As it often happens in the best mystery stories, Mickey comes to the unexpected solution of the enigma with the help of a mysterious “angel,” who leaves him an anonymous message. This bilingual chapter-book edition, the first in a series of Mickey Rangel Mysteries, will engage intermediate readers in both languages, English and Spanish, and offers multiple possibilities for school projects, group discussions and read-aloud sessions. Villarroel’s well-crafted translation into Spanish maintains the suspense and humor of the original English version, narrated by Mickey in fine, hard-boiled style. Mora’s illustrations add a refreshing touch, effectively breaking up the text in this appealing introduction. (Mystery. 8-12)


Slaps on the Backs of Cool People

Special thanks to Katie M., Delia, and Maria for volunteering yesterday, Saturday morning and all day actually, at the Mother/Daughter function in the College of Education. I had a great time doing my part, and I hope they did as well. I hope the best for the moms and daughters who showed up as well. Maybe we can start a book club involving some of these families. Fingers crossed.

The Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery

So, here is the cover for sure this time. It looks awesome. The bilingual chapter book will be out in May of 2009. Soon. Ya merito.

I'm also working on a revision of a novel my editor's looked at and sent five pages worth of notes on.

And on getting a collection of stories, selected and new, to a really cool indie publisher in Texas.

And researching conjunto music to keep working on another novel I've got going.

And another publisher in Texas is looking at a novel too.

So it's a busy time.

Oh, and this Tuesday evening, my students at Texas Tech are meeting with graphic novelist Dwight MacPherson in a chatroom sponsored by ALAN. It's open to whoever wants to show up for the hour-long event, but try to read his KID HOUDINI & THE SILVER DOLLAR MISFITS so you can participate fully. Check out his blog as well, posted below in another entry to check out all he's up to. To join the chat, follow the links posted on ALAN's website, also posted below. 9-10PM EST/8-9PM CST.


Can't Wait to Read, Etc.

You've got to know I'm a big fan of Matt de la Peña in the writing world and without. He's a very cool and hep cat (and obviously I'm not for using such language in public, but whatever, it's my blog and not yours--he he he), and soon, he promises me, I'll be getting an advanced copy of his next novel for teen readers: We Were Here (Delacorte). I'd also like to watch the movie based on his first book, Ball Don't Lie (Delacorte). If for no other reason than to catch his stretching what should've been a few seconds into several. I understand from reviews of it that it's a solid flick. To read an interview with Matt, find a copy of MultiCultural Review (Vol. 18, No. 1; Winter 2009). I'll see if I can get permission to post it on here.


Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits, a graphic novel

by Dwight MacPherson

First, check out Dwight's blog at http://dwightmacpherson.wordpress.com/. He's the author of one of the coolest graphic novels aimed at the young struggling reader, though I'd also have high school-aged struggling readers pick it up, it's that good. As a matter of fact, I like the book so much that I've asked him to do an author book chat with my students, and he's agreed. Another cool thing is that C.J. Bott, through ALAN (that is, Assembly on Literature for Adolescents/NCTE) is setting up the chat, and will likely open up the chat to folks interested in Adolescent literature, graphic novels/comic books, or MacPherson himself. Check out ALAN's site for updates: http://www.alan-ya.org/. Also check out C.J.'s very informative book on bullying in YA literature titled The Bully in the Book and in the Classroom (Scarecrow Press, 2004) and its more recent follow-up, More Bullies in More Books (Scarecrow Press, (forthcoming) June 2009).