2013-2014 South Texas Literature Reads
“The Jumping Tree” by René Saldaña 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. As Rey begins to cross the border from childhood into manhood, he turns from jokes and games to sense the meaning of work, love, poverty, and grief, and what it means to be a proud Chicano-moments that sometimes propel him to show feelings un hombre should never express.
“A Good Long Way” by René Saldaña When Beto Sr. tells his son to follow the rules or leave, the boy, a senior in high school, decides to leave. But, once he has walked away he has nowhere to go so turns to his best friend Jessy. Beto’s decision to leave is told from shifting perspectives in which the lives of Roel, Beto, and Jessy are revealed in scenes that reflect teen-age life. Each one has a long way to go in growing up. Roel is book smart and fights teachers’ assumptions that he’s like Beto. Jessy is smart too, but most teachers only see her tough-girl act. And Beto somehow quit caring about school.
“Stories That Must Not Die” by Juan Sauvageau
A collection of folktales intended to promote interest in bilingual-bicultural literature and to preserve the colorful folklore of the Southwest for future generations.
“Dancing With The Devil and Other Tales From Beyond” by René Saldaña In this collection of stories based on Mexican-American lore, author and educator Rene Saldana, Jr. spins age-old tales with a contemporary twist. Lauro and Miguel run for their lives with La Llorona's cold breath on their necks after being caught smoking cigarettes down by the river. Set in the author's native South Texas, these are the stories parents have told their children for generations to discourage bad behavior and encourage kids to stay close to home. But Saldana breathes new life into these traditional tales with contemporary settings, issues and conflicts that are sure to resonate with today's youth.
This is a literature thing.