A Fire in My Hands: Poems
A Fire in My Hands: Poems

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Annotation: Each of the contained 21 poems speak to the themes of life and are accompanied by the author's personal anecdotes.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #74132
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition Date: 2006
Pages: xiv, 74 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-544-10482-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-72436-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-544-10482-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-72436-5
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2005024610
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Gr. 6-9. Half the poems are new to this expanded edition of a collection first published 15 years ago, including some great ones from Soto's adult books that speak about feeling stuck at home and growing up poor, Catholic, and Mexican American. Soto's chatty introduction about writing poetry that celebrates small, common things will appeal to both readers and writers, as will the informal questions and answers at the back of the book and the brief autobiographical notes Soto includes with each poem. There are no illustrations this time, allowing the poetry to evoke the images--from Soto's unsentimental memory of his immigrant grandfather (Inheritance) to a search for adventure in Hitchhiking with a Friend. One of the best poems, Saturday at the Canal, captures the feelings of a teen sure that everything is happening somewhere else and dreaming of escape.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-These simple, free-verse selections skillfully capture that which is commonplace and transforms it into something mesmerizing and lovely. A first date, the embarrassment of belching root beer out of one's nose, the joy and the intricacies of the proper way to eat Mexican food, and a lost dog are just a few of the topics that Soto addresses. The 31 poems are delightful in themselves, but the poet also adds the brief reminiscence of the event or feeling that prompted him to write each one. Some are autobiographical, but more of them are only vaguely inspired by an actual event. Like Lori Carlson's Cool Salsa (Holt, 1994), these selections depict Latino characters but will resonate with readers of all ethnicities. This revised and expanded edition will delight creative-writing teachers who are looking for a book that demonstrates the genesis of a poem as well as the compelling universality of the human experience.-Heather M. Lisowski, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
This revised and expanded edition of Soto's original work features sixteen poems new to the collection, as well as sixteen others from the first edition that the poet has reworked and updated. In his introduction, Soto explains that he writes poetry to give life to the small details of the days, moments that add up to life itself. The poems collected here are fine examples and excellent teaching tools to encourage teens to write about the small but ultimately meaningful experiences of their lives. In the Chatting with Gary Soto section that concludes the book, Soto cites "Hitchhiking with a Friend" as his favorite of the collected poems, and it is clear to see why. Vivid and emotionally powerful-improved by the changes made since the 1990 edition-it illustrates exactly what Soto is aiming for in celebrating life through poetry. This slim volume is a must-have for school and public libraries.-Vikki Terrile.
Word Count: 8,867
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.4 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 106293 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:7.2 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q42252
Lexile: NP

Few writers capture the everyday moments of life like Gary Soto. In direct and vivid poems, he draws from his own youth in California's Central Valley to portray the joys and sorrows of young people. His writing focuses on Latino characters, yet speaks to readers of all ethnicities. Acclaimed by educators since its original publication in 1998, A Fire in My Hands has been revised and expanded in this new edition. Old and new fans of Soto's work will welcome the return of his compelling poems. One of the poems in this collection, Oranges, is a Common Core State Standards Exemplar (Grades 6-8, Poetry). Includes an introduction and an interview with the author.

Black hair
It all makes sense
That girl
Lost in a small town
Mating season
Learning to bargin
In August
All the luck
How you gave up root beer
Eating Mexican food
Saturday at the canal
Kearney Park
How to sell things
The function of two e-mail accounts
Mr. Meow
Hitchhiking with a friend
Knowing your limits
Morning on this street
Evening walk
How I learned to fly
Some words about time
Envying the children of San Francisco
Manuel and the football scrubs
Teaching numbers
How things work
Pepper tree
The boy's first flight
Brown girl, blonde okie.

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