Fourteen-year-old Manny Hernandez lives in a housing project in southern California. He and his other Mexican-American neighbors sleep in houses made of sheetrock and tin. They sit in yards worn down to dust, and hope that somehow luck will come their way. Poverty isn't the only problem in Manny's life. His father thinks Manny is as worthless as a penny. His crazy mother thinks she can scrub away or slap away his worries. Each day Manny hopes that Bobby and Stinky, the sadistic brothers across the parking lot, won't beat him up. Manny could join a neighborhood gang, but he's determined to make his own life worth something more. Manny's story is one filled with hardship. Yet, through Robert Ramirez's narration, it also shines with the resilient spirit of a teenager who refuses to lose his hope for the future. Victor Martinez's gritty, realistic novel was chosen for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Fanfare Honor List and by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book.
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by Gary Soto
by Claudia Mills
by Joseph Bruchac
by Judith Byron Schachner
by Cinda Williams Chima
by Gary Paulsen
by John Ritter
"Fourteen-year-old Manny Hernandez, a Mexican-American from the housing projects of southern California, is perplexed. He's trying to work through the racism that surrounds him, as well as the poverty and unemployment, poor schools and local gangs, towards a sense of who he is and where he belongs in the world. His father says he's like a parrot who, trusting everyone, lands in the oven. Robert Ramirez's narration is clean, evenly paced and direct. A certain lively, yet trusting, innocence in his voice matches Manny's first-person narration. It dusn't, however, prevent him from powerfully voicing Manny's bullish father or his harried mother. Martinez's sympathetic humanity and Ramirez's narration combine to produce an excellent school text for teaching multicultural awareness. P.E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine"
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