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Taking sides /

Fourteen-year-old Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white suburban neighborhood. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Harcourt, Inc., 1992
Edition: First Harcourt paperback edition.
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Lincoln is in a jam when his basketball team at his new school--where the students are rich and mostly white--faces his old team from the barrio on the boards. How can he play his best against his friends? No matter who wins, it looks like it will be lose-lose for Lincoln.

Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. Moving from his inner-city San Francisco neighborhood to a middle-class suburb 10 miles away, Lincoln Mendoza finds conflict without and conflict within. He has a lot to put up with: basketball injuries, an unsympathetic (and slightly crazed) coach, and misunderstandings with his old buddy from Franklin Junior High and his new girlfriend at Columbus Junior High. However, Lincoln does find an unexpected ally in his mother's boyfriend. When Franklin plays Columbus in basketball, Linc becomes his own man at last and resolves in some measure the problems that have troubled him. Linc's cool appraisal of the differences and similarities between his two communities makes for interesting reading, but the book's universality springs from the essential realism of the boy's hopes, fears, and disquieting moments. While the use of Spanish words within the text (some translated in context, others requiring a flip back to the glossary) is a mixed blessing, the novel itself is well constructed, well written, and believable. ~--Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This touchingly realistic story explores the divided loyalties of a Hispanic basketball player who has recently moved from a poor neighborhood to a more affluent one. Initially, eighth grader Lincoln feels like a traitor when he plays ball for the predominantly white school he now attends. To make matters worse, his new coach seems to hold a grudge against both Lincoln and his former school, Franklin Junior High. As a game against Franklin approaches, tension mounts and Lincoln experiences clashes with several people, including some teammates. But he manages to have fun on the night of the big game and eventually makes peace with his friends. Once again, Soto ( Baseball in April ) masterfully conveys the Hispanic-American experience, and readers will respect Lincoln's values and good sportsmanship. Ultimately, the boy learns to adjust to a new situation and accept new challenges without compromising his individuality. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-When Linc Mendoza moves from a barrio of San Francisco to a nice suburb and a new school, he finds that he is a minority in his school. Besides the difficulties of being a Mexican-American in a mostly white school, he encounters problems and obstacles common to most teens. His basketball coach is tough on him, classes are harder than they were in his old school, and he has trouble with past friendships from his old neighborhood. As if things weren't already tough enough, he has to face playing his old school on the basketball court. This story by Gary Soto (Harcourt, 1991) takes on important issues that most teenagers face at some point in their lives. Listeners will identify with Linc and the problems that he encounters. While the printed version of the story is excellent, this spoken version is even better. Soto interweaves Spanish words into the text, giving listeners/readers a real flavor for the language. Narrator Robert Ramirez uses his voice to provide an in-depth feel for the characters. His accurate Mexican-American dialect helps listeners become part of the story.-John Clexton, Detroit Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gary Soto was born April 12, 1952, and raised in Fresno California. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and attended Fresno City College, graduating in 1974 with an English degree. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review, Ontario Review and Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in Poets in Person. He is one of the youngest poets to appear in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.

Soto has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize, the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award twice, a Recogniton of Merit from the Claremont Graduate School for Baseball in April, the Silver Medal from The Commonwealth Club of California, and the Tomás Rivera Prize, in addition to fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts twice, and the California Arts Council.

For ITVS, he produced the film The Pool Party, which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. Soto wrote the libretto for an opera titled Nerd-landia for the The Los Angeles Opera. In 1999 he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes. He serves as Young People's Ambassador for the California Rural Legal Assistance and the United Farm Workers of America.

Soto is the author of ten poetry collections for adults, with New and Selected Poems a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His recollections Living Up the Street received a Before Columbus Foundation 1985 American Book Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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