They Call Me Guero: A Border Kids Poems
They Call Me Guero: A Border Kids Poems
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Annotation: Twelve-year-old Guero, a red-headed, freckled Mexican American border kid, discovers the joy of writing poetry, thanks to his seventh grade English teacher.
Catalog Number: #169658
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 111 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-947627-06-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-947627-06-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018027137
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Redheaded, freckled-faced Güero lives near the border, regularly crossing over into Mexico to have breakfast with his dad and to visit his maternal grandparents. His family has worked hard to build their home, and he finds inspiration in his hardworking uncles; his papá, who helped to build so much of the border neighborhood where they live; and his abuela, who introduced him to the legends of their culture. As seventh grade begins, Güero is excited to join his friends to meet up in the library, exchange good books, play games, and read comics. As they begin the new school year, Güero discovers an English teacher who introduces them to the magic of poetry and of different cultures, and he begins to notice a tough girl named Joanna, who also loves superheroes and video games. Filled with Spanish dichos and terms, diverse cultures, and Mexican myths, this novel in poems is a clear lens into the life of a Mexican American boy with an identity tied to the struggles, legends, and rich heritage of his ancestors and family, who uses what he learns to move forward.
Horn Book
The dynamic complexity of the Rio Grande borderlands pulses in the poetry of twelve-year-old G|ero. His forty-nine poems in diverse forms explore family, friendship, young love, and racism, with the dexterously rich linguistic tradition of Mexican cuentos and dichos always central. Bowles confidently intersperses the voices of G|ero's many family members, using Texas Spanglish colloquialisms with specificity. A welcome contribution to the bildungsroman corpus of Chicana/o literature. Glos.
Kirkus Reviews
Explore the life of a border kid in Bowles' spirited verse novel.For the 12-year-old Mexican-American narrator that everyone calls Güero, the borderlands (that "strip of frontier, / home of hardy plants") means more than home. On Saturdays, he crosses the border into Mexico with his dad and chats with the locals. He goes marketing in the boisterous pulga with Mom and listens to his abuela Mimi's scary folktales. Seventh grade soon begins, and Güero reunites with los Bobbys (or, as his sister Teresa calls them, "los Derds—Diverse Nerds") for some reading, mischief, and girls (a new interest). His English teacher even gets Güero interested in poetry! In this slim verse novel, Bowles splendidly translates border life via loosely connected vignettes in an eclectic mix of poetic forms. Güero's voice brims with humor, wit, and bits of slang, and a diverse cast of characters offers hints of other cultures. The author, however, does inject some complex themes and topics for rich discussion, touching on immigration, prejudice, and even the narrator's nickname, "güero," a term used to refer to light-skinned men and boys. Güero occasionally faces flak from a few schoolmates on account of his pale, freckled skin and copper hair, resulting in a revealing exchange with his dad: "M'ijo, pale folks catch all the breaks / here and in Mexico, too. Not your fault. / Not fair. Just the way it's been for years."A valuable, too-brief look at the borderlands. (glossary) (Verse fiction. 10-14)
Publishers Weekly
Growing up as a Mexican-American -border kid, a foot on either bank,- the 12-year-old narrator of Bowles-s skillful, moving novel-in-poems details his seventh-grade year. Güero, so called for his rusty-colored hair and pale, freckled skin, enjoys life with his large family in a home that -glows warm with love,- but at school, he-s taunted about his complexion and bullied by enormous classmate Snake Barrera. With humor and sensitivity, Bowles (The Hidden City) mixes family scenes-such as Fourth of July celebrations and older relatives- frank, enraging accounts of discrimination-and junior high concerns, including Güero-s relief when he and his friends (-diverse nerds and geeks-) take refuge in the library and his astonishment when he learns that brave, tough Joanna likes him back. The selections employ an impressive range of poetic styles and rhythms to amplify meaning and emotion: Joanna gets an appropriately romantic sonnet; -Borderlands,- with its thin strip of lines, is almost a concrete poem; a marching beat and rhyming couplets in -Sundays- echo the repetitive sameness of a family-s weekend routine. An achievement of both artistic skill and emotional resonance, Bowles-s volume is both a richly rewarding tour through many borderlands, including adolescence itself, and a defiant celebration of identity: -no wall, no matter how tall, can stop your heritage.- Ages 10-14. (Sept.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 58 Güero is a Mexican American border kid with nerdy tastes, pale skin, and red hair. Wishing he had been born with a darker complexion so no one would question his Mexican American heritage, Güero's family tell him to be grateful for the advantages his lighter hair and skin afford him and to use it to open doors for the rest of his family. And what a family it is! While Güero's wise, resourceful, and often hilarious family provides a buoy through the turbulent waters of seventh grade, so too, do influential educators and "Los Bobbys," Güero's liked-minded, bookish friends. The tuned-in school librarian fuels Güero's passion for reading with his diverse literature collection, and his transformational English teacher helps him discover his voice through poetry. Güero's voice carries this novel through a playful array of poetic forms, from sonnets to raps, free verse to haiku. A Spanish-to-English glossary at the back of the book aids the non-Spanish reader's understanding of the text, while it simultaneously, and perhaps more significantly, communicates the beauty of the language and of Güero's heritage. Readers come away with two worthy takeaways: firstly, that life is challenging for a child of immigrants on the southern U.S. border, and, secondlytriumphantlya deep appreciation for the richness of Güero's culture. VERDICT Vibrant and unforgettable, this is a must-have for all middle grade collections. Pair with both fiction and nonfiction books on immigration, forced cultural assimilation, and stories about contemporary Mexican American life. Melissa Williams, Berwick Academy, ME
Word Count: 11,369
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 503683 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 850L

Pura Belpré Author Honor Book, 2019 ALSC Notable Children's Book, 2019 Walter Award Honor Book, 2019 Claudia Lewis Award for Excellence in Poetry, Bank Street 2019 NCTE 2019 Notable Verse Novels Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award TIL Jean Flynn Award for Best Middle Grade Book 2018 Skipping Stones Award Ámericas Award, Commended Title School Library Journal's 2018 Best Books Shelf Awareness 2018 Best Children's & Teen Books of the Year, Middle Grade Twelve-year-old Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He's starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool. In Spanish, "Güero" is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo Álvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd--reader, gamer, musician--who runs with a squad of misfits like him, Los Bobbys. Sure, they get in trouble like anybody else, and like other middle-school boys, they discover girls. Watch out for Joanna! She's tough as nails. But trusting in his family's traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart. Life is tough for a border kid, but Güero has figured out how to cope. He writes poetry. In Spanish, ""Güero"" is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo Álvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd--reader, gamer, musician--who runs with a squad of misfits like him, Los Bobbys. Sure, they get in trouble like anybody else, and like other middle-school boys, they discover girls. Watch out for Joanna! She's tough as nails. But trusting in his family's traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart. Life is tough for a border kid, but Güero has figured out how to cope. He writes poetry. "


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