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For Manuel Hernandez, the year leading up to his test of courage, his initiation into a gang, is a time filled with the pain and tension, awkwardness and excitement of growing up in a crazy world. His dad spend most of his time and money at the local pool hall; his brother flips through jobs like a thumb through a deck of cards; and his mom never stops cleaning the house, as though one day the rooms will be so spotless they'll disappear into a sparkle, and she'll be free.
Manny's dad is always saying that people are like money'there are million-and thousands-and hundred-dollar people out there, and to him, Manny is just a penny. But Manny wants to be more than a penny, smarter than the parrot in the oven. He wants to find out what it means to be a "vato firme," a guy to respect.
In this beautifully written novel, Victor Martinez gives readers a vivid portrait of one Mexican-American boy's life. Manny's story is like a full -color home movie'sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always intensely original.For Manuel Hernandez, the year leading up to his test of courage, his initiation into a gang, is a time filled with the pain and tension, awkwardness and excitement of growing up in a mixed-up, crazy world.Manny' s dad is always calling him el perico, or parrot. It' s from a Mexican saying about a parrot that complains how hot it is in the shade while all along he' s sitting inside the oven and doesn' t know it. But Manny wants to be smarter than theparrot in the oven--he wants to find out what it means to be a vato firme, a guy to respect. From an exciting new voice in Chicano literature, this is a beautifully written, vivid portrait of one Mexican-American boy' s life.
1998 Pura Belpre Author Award1996 Americas Award for Children' s and Young Adult Literature1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)1996 National Book Award for Young People' s Literature
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