cover image Baseball in April and Other Stories

Baseball in April and Other Stories

Gary Soto. Audio Bookshelf, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-883332-41-9

Diaz and Gongora give Soto's heartfelt collection just the right spark of Latino flavor in this sharp audio production. From Jesse, a nine-year-old struggling to improve his baseball skills in ""Baseball in April"" to Veronica, who is crushed when her new, much cherished Barbie doll is ruined, Soto introduces vivid characters who struggle with the longing, hope and acceptance that are part of everyday life. Soto's accessible writing voice and poetic language permeate these 11 tales of first dates, worries about one's looks and the difficulties of dealing with idiosyncratic family members. With the help of solid performances (and crisp pronunciation of the smattering of Spanish words and phrases) by Diaz and Gongora, listeners will take away a real sense of what it was like for many Mexican-American kids growing up in California's Central Valley (including Fresno, Soto's hometown) not so many years ago. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)