Riding Low on Streets of Gold share button
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.58 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.61 (d)
Pages 192
Publisher Arte Publico Press
Publication Date November 2003
ISBN 9781558853805
Book ISBN 10 1558853804
About Book

Fiction. Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Young Adult. RIDING LOW ON THE STREETS OF GOLD is an essential collection of stories and poems for young people that introduces U.S. Latino Literature. "There seemed to be no way out of the custom. Her arguments were always the same and always turned into pleas ... 'But, Ama', it's embarrassing. I'm too old for that. I'm an adult,'" Naomi says in Helena Maria Viramontes' story "Growing." Ever since Naomi hit high school and puberty, she began to notice that "there were too many expectations, and no one instructed her on how to fulfill them..." In her tradition-bound family and under the thundering gaze of her father, Naomi struggles to stretch the limitations imposed on her by her family, even as her mind expands along with her changing body. Like "Growing," the pieces in this anthology for young adults reveal the struggles of discovering a new self and the trials of leaving behind an old one. This extraordinary collection gathers a wealth of stories and poems that explore the challenges of negotiating identity and relationships with others, struggling with authority, learning to love oneself and challenging the roles society demands of teenagers and adults. Edited by well-known poet and prose-writer Judith Ortiz Cofer, the collection includes work by such leading Latino writers as Pat Mora, Jesus Salvador Trevino, Tomas Rivera, Virgil Suarez, Jose Marti, Viramontes and Ortiz Cofer herself. Included as well are new voices that represent the freshness and vigor of youth: Mike Padilla, Daniel Chacon, and Sarah Cortez. For many students across the United States, this text will serve as their first rewarding introduction to diverse writers of Latino/Latina literature.

An essential collection of stories and poems for young people that introduces U.S. Latino Literature.


Publishers Weekly

Riding Low on the Streets of Gold, edited by Judith Ortiz Cofer, gathers stories and poems from contemporary Hispanic literature. The themes run from the magical-such as "The Fabulous Sinkhole" by Jesus Salvador Trevi o, in which life in a small border town is changed by the mysterious appearance of a hole in a resident's yard that yields gifts-to the realistically human-as with "Carrying Sergei" by Mike Padilla in which a 14-year-old girl impulsively harms a classmate, then attempts to set things right. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Children's Literature

This book is an outstanding collection of Latino literature that features broad historical scope and high quality writing. The collection, edited by Judith Ortiz Cofer, a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia, includes Latino and Latina writers from Cuba, Mexico, and the U.S. (Texas, Illinois, and California). Through poems and short stories the reader is exposed to many aspects of Latino culture and history over the last one hundred years. The editor includes a brief essay about each author's life, providing a rich backdrop to the stories. In many cases, the writer has overcome much adversity to become college professors and career writers. The entire book provides works of fiction and non-fiction that are full of humor, truth, hopefulness and vitality. This book is a perfect choice for the high school classroom as an introduction to various Latina and Latino writers, past and present. It is also inspiring for anyone wanting to know more about Latin daily life and history. International audiences (such as international schools around the world and Spanish-speakers immigrating to the U.S.) will appreciate the translation for José Martí's poem, which is beautiful and moving. These audiences will also enjoy the pertinence of these well-chosen writers and their work. 2003, Piñata Books/Arte Público Press, Ages 12 up.
—Michelle Negron Bueno


The stories and poems in this anthology explore in vivid images and easy language the unique experiences, both joyful and stressful, of growing up in a bilingual, bicultural environment. Many contributors are literary award-winners, and others have attained success in other fields such as education, law enforcement, law, art, and more. Among those featured are Chicano writer Tomás Rivera, who eloquently tells of migrant workers' struggles; and Mexican Americans Jesus Salvador Trevino, with an absorbing tale of a magical occurrence that brings a neighborhood together; and Pat Mora with her moving poems of youthful yearning. Puerto Rican Jesus Colon feelingly writes of encountering discrimination even in Coney Island. Puerto Rican/Dominican/African American Sandra María Estevez contributes an inspiring piece about empowerment. Even nineteenth-century Cuban national hero and renowned poet, Jose Martí, provides his powerful "Versos Sencillos" ("Simple Verses"). Others are emerging writers with fresh, vigorous voices and far-reaching vision. Issues such as personal identity and moral values, self-esteem, pressures from parents and society in general, relations with peers, and the most intimate and perhaps most difficult of all, simply learning to deal with and make sense of the physical changes and emotional turmoil brought on by new, often fluctuating hormonal levels are all covered. This fine anthology deserves a prominent place in any young adult collection. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined asgrades 10 to 12). 2003, Piñata Books/Arte Público, 208p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18.
—Delia A. Culberson

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-These 11 poems and 12 stories explore growing up, recognizing one's place in the world, and living the bilingual immigrant experience. The collection blends works of familiar authors, including Jos Mart', Tom s Rivera, Victor Villase-or, and Pat Mora, with the writings of newcomers. Mike Padilla's "Carrying Sergei" relates the story of a Mexican girl who befriends a Russian immigrant boy after pushing him down a flight of stairs and breaking his leg. Through visits to his home, she discovers much about him and even more about herself. Friendship is also the theme of Daniel Chac-n's "Too White," in which the protagonist faces the decision of admitting his friendship with a white boy or choosing to be part of the local Mexican gang. In Jes s Salvador Trevi-o's "The Fabulous Sinkhole," the personalities of an entire neighborhood are revealed as various individuals react to the emergence of a giant hole in Mrs. Romero's front yard. The poems are well chosen and blend well with the prose. The stories could be a starting point for interesting discussion topics, but the gritty language in a few of them may keep the book from being an assigned text. A photograph and brief biography of the author precede each work. Several poems in Spanish are accompanied by the English translation. Unfortunately, there are a handful of Spanish terms that are not defined within the text and there is no glossary. However, this is a minor detraction from this solid introduction to Latino literature.-Linda L. Plevak, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.