Meet the Author

Gary Soto

Portrait of Gary Soto

Unlike many authors, Gary Soto never thought about becoming a writer when he was a kid. Instead, he wanted to be a priest or a paleontologist — a scientist who studies fossils and bones. But when he was in college, he came across a book of poetry, liked it, and started writing his own poems. He's been a writer ever since!

Soto writes a lot about his Mexican American background. But not everything that happens in his books happened to him — he likes to mix up fact and fiction in his stories.

Soto lives with his wife and daughter in Berkeley, California.

Gary Soto's favorite food is frijoles (beans). Here's a recipe for your family to try!


  • 2 1/3 cups dried black beans
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Rinse beans. In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, cover beans with cold water and soak for one day.
  2. Bring soaked beans to a boil in water, adding more water, if necessary, to cover beans by about 1 1/2 inches. Simmer beans, partly covered, over low heat for 1 hour, or until beans just start getting tender but are not falling apart.
  3. Chop onion and bell pepper and stir into beans along with vinegar, bay leaves, and salt. Simmer beans, partly covered, for 2 to 3 hours, until they are very tender. Remove bay leaves. You can eat the beans hot, but they're even better if you let them cool and then refrigerate them for a day or so before eating.

Photography Credit


Other Books Written by Gary Soto

  • My Little Car
    (illustrated by Linda Dalal Sawaya)
  • The Skirt
    (illustrated by Eric Velasquez)
  • Pacific Crossing
  • Chato and the Party Animals
    (illustrated by Susan Guevara)
  • Baseball in April and Other Stories
  • Neighborhood Odes
    (illustrated by David Diaz)
  • Chato's Kitchen
    (illustrated by Susan Guevara)
  • Taking Sides
  • Off and Running
    (illustrated by Eric Velasquez)
  • Cat's Meow
    (illustrated by Joe Cepeda)
  • Local News