An autobiographical picture story book by an Aboriginal artist who recreates his experiences as a child growing up on the banks of the Murray River and surviving, with his family, through traditional skills.
Esmeralda Santiago’s story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity.
When fourteen-year-old Nicholas Dane’s mother dies, social services sends him to a home for boys where intimidation and violence keep order. After a number of fights and brutal punishments, Nick thinks that life can’t possibly get any worse . . . until he realizes that the home’s respected deputy head, who has been grooming him with sweets and solace, has something more frightening in mind. Acclaimed writer and truth-teller Melvin Burgess brings us, with Dickensian scope and compelling narrative drive, his most ambitious book yet.
Acclaimed by educators and unavailable since 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.
Includes an introduction and an interview with the author.