Summary: Set in South King County, WA, Sam is reluctantly teamed up with “gangster” Luis to create a performance poetry/rap for Ms Cassidy’s 10th grade English Class. Filled with raw teen poetry, you can feel the rain in the book ( we don’t do snow, we love the H²O, baby!)
Gut Reaction: Give me more Patrick! Don’t move to Michigan!
Why: Slick poetry, set in Seattle Area, for the student you sit next to in class but hardly know anything about, Latino characters and author!
Luis J. Rodriguez is a prolific, controversial, and award-winning author. His background as a gang member and his Chicano heritage are the main subjects of his memoirs and children’s books. I had the opportunity to meet and introduce Rodriguez at an author event supported by The Seattle Public Library. This experience was amazing largely due to the role his work has played in my life.
Because Luis Rodriguez and I share Chican@ heritage, his experiences resonate deeply with me culturally, but also helps me to understand my father, a former gang member, on a deeper level. His speaking and the way he answered questions showed that he knew what he was talking about from experience, with topics that ranged from the Prison Industrial Complex to undiagnosed PTSD in gang communities and the role of media in the sexual exploitation of women in communities of color. Overall, this event was one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had.