It all starts with a fifth grader named Manuel. He was the fourth of seven kids that looked like each other: black hair, brown face, scuffed skinny legs from playing that summer. He was on his way to school thinking about tomorrow's talent show.
Once he got to school he realized he forgot his math book. In the talent show he was going to pretend to sing "La Bamba" by Richie Valens before the entire school. He was hoping to impress the second prettiest girl in the school, Petra Lopez, because the prettiest girl was already taken by his friend Ernie.
I promise I am NOT dead
The talent show had started and he was up singing when all of a sudden his record had froze in the middle of the words "para bailar la bamba." He ended up singing those words again and again because of that bad luck he had. After that he left the stage on the verge of tears.
Gary Soto has Mexican-American parents named Manuel (1910-1957) and Angie Soto (1924-). In high school he became interested with poetry. He taught at the University of California where he was a distinguished professor.