Downtown Boy by Juan Felipe Herrera

This novel in verse (written all in poems) is about a Chicano boy, named Juanito, who always seems to be the new boy in town. This is because his family has been moving throughout California’s Central Valley working in the fields as migrant workers. At the beginning of the story, Juanito and his mom move to San Francisco’s Mission District to live with relatives, and his dad takes off to El Mulato, Chihuahua (his home town in Mexico). It’s hard for Juanito because he tries to stay out of trouble, but trouble seems to keep finding him. His cousin keeps urging him to do things that he fears are wrong, and his mom keeps pleading for him to stay “close to home.” The trouble is that Juanito doesn’t know where “home” is… Can Juanito resist temptation? Will he obey his mother or follow his cousin toward trouble? If you want to find out more about Juanito’s life on city streets, in boxing rings, and in his various homes, though, you have to read Downtown Boy.

Happy Reading!


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