Parrot in the oven: mi vida : a novel /

Author Martinez, Victor,
Language English
Publisher
New York: HarperTrophy, 2005




Annotation:

Janet Allen 2003-04 List of Independent High School Reading-Fiction.



Subjects :

  • Mexican Americans
  • Fiction
  • Family life
  • Fiction.
  • Alcoholism

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Best Books :

  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Books to Read Aloud to Children of All Ages, 2003 Bank Street College of Education
  • Capitol Choices, 1996 The Capitol Choices Committee
  • Children's Literature Choice List, 1997 Children's Literature
  • Eureka! California in Children's Literature, 2003 Book Wholesalers, Inc.
  • Horn Book Fanfare, 1996 Horn Book
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 1996 Cahners
  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 1996 Cahners
  • Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 California Department of Education
  • Senior High Core Collection, Seventeenth Edition, 2007 The H. W. Wilson Co.
  • Senior High School Library Catalog, Fifteenth Edition, 1997 H.W. Wilson
  • Senior High School Library Catalog, Sixteenth Edition, 2002 H.W. Wilson

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, 1996 Winner United States
  • Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, 1996 Winner United States
  • National Book Award, 1996 Winner United States
  • Pura Belpre Award, 1998 Winner United States
  • Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, 1997 Nominee Texas

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Tayshas High School Reading List, 1999-2000; Texas

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Curriculum Tools :

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Reading Measurement Programs:


0060267046, 0060267062
HarperCollins Publishers (New York:) 1996.

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level High School
Reading Level 7
Accelerated Reader Points 10


0064471861, 9780064471862
HarperTrophy (New York:) 2005.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Upper Grade
Book Level 6.1
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level High School
Reading Level 7
Accelerated Reader Points 10


0590187082
Scholastic (New York:) 1996.

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 1000
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level High School
Reading Level 7
Accelerated Reader Points 10

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Reviews :

Laura Tillotson (Booklist, October 15, 1996 (Vol. 93, No. 4))
For Mexican American teen Manuel, the main challenge in life, whether he always realizes it or not, is to find a reason to survive amid the negativity and emptiness that pervade his growing up in a city project. His father, unemployed and often drunk, is a source of tension for the whole family, especially Manuel's mother, whose determination to keep them all together is at times superhuman. The novel, written in a fluid, poetic language, resembles a series of vignettes more than one connected story; and this structure not only leaves the character development of Manuel and his family uneven but also generates a disjointedness that is occasionally confusing. There is also a general lack of basic information, such as the exact setting of the story and the ages of Manuel and his siblings, that may make the characters and their environment difficult for readers to visualize. However, the stories themselves, from Manuel's sister's miscarriage to his initiation into a gang to his grandmother's death, are not easily forgotten, and the book is worth purchasing for its authentic portrayal of a Hispanic teen's experiences. Category: Older Readers. 1996, HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, $14.95 and $14.89. Gr. 7-10.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Sherri Byrand (Children's Literature)
Miracles don't wait for doubters," says Manny Hernandez, this book's main character and a youth worthy of our attention. This account of his life is a miracle of its own--powerful and poignant, stunning in its simplicity. Although it introduces some very heavy issues, including Manny's sister who miscarries her child at home and his father's alcoholism and abusiveness, its approach makes this book appropriate for even the youngest members of its intended audience. It never slips into the callous tones of a cynical adult; every page resonates with Manny's voice. Given the book's subject matters, it is an excellent resource for classroom discussion on the topics of spousal abuse, gangs, and racism. 1996, HarperCollins, $14.95 and $14.89. Ages 12 up.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1996)
Manny is smart; sometimes he thinks he might be smart enough to make it out of his struggling neighborhood to a life beyond poverty, beyond the threat of apathy and violence. In his emotionally torn family, the tension of racism and economic oppression plays itself out: his father drinks to combat frustration, his brother can't keep a job, his sisters are experiencing too much too soon, and his mother strives to hold them all together even as she sometimes seems close to unraveling herself. But despite the strain in his family, Manny finds home is a place of refuge compared to the uncertainty of the outside world. The Mexican-American teenager's observations of a life filled with tension and fragile possibility are not without humor or hope, but it is his honesty in describing the experiences that unfold that gives powerful shape to his narrative voice. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers. 1996, Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 216 pages, $14.95. Ages 16-adult.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1996)
A whirlwind of surprising similes and inventive turns of phrase colorfully frame this grim, ultimately tender story, subtitled "Mi Vida," about a young Chicano getting his priorities straight. It's a tough year for the Hernandez family: Manny's father is jailed after threatening his mother with a rifle, his older sister, Magda, is seeing someone on the sly, and his brother, Nardo, has taken to coming home drunk. Manny accidentally shoots at his little sister while fooling around with his father's gun and later watches as Magda miscarries on the bathroom floor. Still, he regards his family with affection and relates the disasters, along with other incidents away from home--not so much to deliver indictments as to open a window on the values, dreams, and tribulations that shape his life. Martinez's language is so lively it sometimes barrels beyond his control, calling attention to itself with a steady barrage of extravagant images ("blocks of fat sagged on her hips like a belt of thick Bibles") and challenging metaphors ("Mom's shrieks chased away the panicked air; Dad's voice was coarse paper shredding to pieces"). There are also occasional (deliberate?) misuses, as when Nardo makes "hairline escapes." The picture Manny paints of his world is not a pretty one, but it is unusually vibrant. 1996, HarperCollins, $14.95; PLB $14.89. © 1996 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
In his debut novel, set in a dusty California town, Martinez employs a series of compelling, frequently troubling vignettes to illuminate a Mexican American boy's coming of age. It's not easy for Manuel Hernandez to discover his place in the world, especially when he is constantly bombarded with the hardships of his poor and woefully dysfunctional family. Their tiny sheetrock house in the projects is the scene of angry arguments-even of threats at rifle point. Manny steps onto a battlefield at every turn, whether he is collecting his alcoholic and violent father from the local pool hall, withstanding the ethnic slurs of white school mates, or seeking initiation into a neighborhood gang. But as the months pass and some of his wounds heal, Manny slowly begins to understand the sense of self that he can derive from his role within this difficult household. The tense prose and often biting dialogue bring into razor-sharp focus the frustration and bitterness of a struggling family; at the same time, Manny's first-person narrative is tinged with compassion and, indeed, love for the unstable people around him. Martinez's honest voice, and descriptions sprinkled with elegant imagery, offer a rare and consummately believable portrait of barrio life. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Rob Linné (The ALAN Review, Fall 1997 (Vol. 25, No. 1))
Manny Hernandez endures a lot during the year that leads up to his initiation into a California gang. He learns about hard work out in the sweltering vegetable fields and experiences class stratification at a high school party where he is not welcomed. Manny helps his older sister through a life-threatening miscarriage but almost takes his younger brother's life when he accidentally fires his father's shotgun. The young protagonist narrates all of these events with a future writer's eye for detail and a unique take on human character. Martinez's coming-of-age story reads like true adolescence -- absurd and funny from a distance, yet painful when you're stuck in the middle of it all. I already lost one afternoon to this bitter-sweet book and now I've picked it up again. I think many reluctant readers would also have a hard time turning away once Manny started talking straight to them about what growing up is really all about. 1996, HarperCollins, 216 pp., $14.95. Ages 12 up.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Jennifer Norris (The ALAN Review, Spring 1999 (Vol. 26, No. 3))
Filled with enough metaphors to impress any English teacher, Parrot in the Oven: mi vida is a story told by a teenage Mexican American boy, Manny, who is attempting to find his place in a society full of disappointment. Set in the projects, Manny gives a very realistic account of what it is like to grow up as a minority in a poor, dysfunctional home. Receiving no real direction from his family, Manny battles with what type of man he should and will become. He is tempted by gang life (in his attempt to be accepted somewhere), but at the same time, he seems to have a pure heart that prohibits him from falling too far. The coming of age plot is further complicated by Manny's family life. His father is an out of work alcoholic who is incapable of giving guidance to his floundering son. His mother is the peace-keeper, mainly concerned with damage control. His older brother (who has a steady stream of jobs that don't ever seem to work out) seems to be on the same path as his alcoholic father. His teen-age sister deals with sexual issues including the miscarriage of her baby. With themes such as honor, abuse, and alcoholism, this coming of age novel is very readable for upper middle/high school students; however, teachers should be aware of the controversial issues within the novel: drugs, alcohol, language, and the graphic miscarriage. Because of the novel's extremely realistic teenage voice, this novel is reminiscent of S. E. Hinton's Tex or The Outsiders and therefore would definitely gain the interest of the high school reader. 1996, HarperTrophy, 216 pages, $5.95. Ages 12 up.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 1996 (Vol. 50, No. 4))
Manny, a Latino high school student, narrates a few months' worth of events affecting his family and his future. His father has lost his job because of alcoholism, his older brother Nardo won't work, his sister Magda is seeing a boy on the side, and his mother is trying to hold it all together. Manny's responses and reactions unite a series of related vignettes, from his father going after his mother with a rifle, to a truly horrific scene where Manny thinks he has shot his baby sister Pida, to Manny's initiation into a half-baked gang. Reading this book is so intimately revelatory it's like moving into someone's house. Martinez' deceptively straightforward prose is rich with poetic turns of phrase, and his ability to communicate the environment and dynamics of this family-their struggles with poverty, racism, and violence-makes his writing startlingly visceral. Manny's close call with the police and his realization that chance and small choices decide our lives is an epiphanic conclusion. R--Recommended. (c) Copyright 1996, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1996, Cotler/HarperCollins, 216p, $14.89 and $14.95. Grades 9-12.
(PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, May 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 3))
The winner of the 1996 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Martinez's novel tells of growing up in a Mexican-American family in California, sometime in the recent past: e.g., Magda, Manny's sister listens to Elvis Presley and Smokey Robinson records; and boxing is a high school sport. The chapters are episodic, revolving around a variety of incidents in Manny's family, most of which are traumatic. Manny's parents fight a lot, with his father frequently drunk and out of work. One terrible night, the father gets his rifle, loads it and chases his wife through the neighborhood threatening to kill her until the police come and confiscate the gun. Another time, Magda has a miscarriage in the bathroom, the mother flushes the fetus down the toilet, and when they get into the emergency room, they are all treated as though they are worthless. Surviving these dramatic events, Manny seems at the end to realize how much he belongs to his family and to his home. Martinez uses figurative language throughout, more than we are used to reading in a YA novel. This makes for good literature, but it also sometimes puts an emotional distance between writer and reader. Here is an example: "I imagined her love would be a terrible howl of loneliness. But I would have adored her forever if, just once, she'd have tapped me with a shy finger of love." It can be used wittily, as in, "...the guys I hung with thought that if they even flicked through the pages of a book, ink would rub off on their hands and mark them sissies for life." I know why adults working with YAs have honored this novel; but I don't think many YAs would choose it as their favorite reading. KLIATT Codes: JSA*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1996, HarperTrophy, 216p. 18cm. 96-2119, $5.95. Ages 13 to adult.
(PUBLISHER: HarperTrophy (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005 c1996.)

Melissa Ann Becerra and Lisa Marie Ochoa (World of Words Review, October 2013 (Vol. 6, No. 1))
You could be a thousand-dollar person or a hundred-dollar person-even a ten-five-, or one-dollar person. Below that, everybody was just nickels and dimes. To my dad, we were pennies. (p. 25-26)An award-winning, realistic novel that takes place in the Valley Central Projects, Parrot in the Oven addresses how a young fourteen-year-old Mexican-American boy struggles to find himself. This book focuses on the difficulties of being part of culture that is often plagued with stereotypes, such as unemployment, laziness, alcoholism, poverty stricken, gang members, sexually active teenagers, teen marriage and criminals. This novel follows Mexican-American teenager Manuel “Manny” Hernandez who lives in poverty with his unemployed, alcoholic father, his overworked, stressed out mother, his lazy older brother, Bernando, his sexually active older sister, Madga, and his baby sister Pedi. Manny struggles when faced with his family’s financial situations since his jobless dad spends all their money on alcohol. He is fearful of the neighborhood. Manny’s mother wants him to attend a different school where the “white” children go so that he can obtain a brighter future. Although Manny is hesitant to go to a new school, he doesn’t disagree with his mother. He goes to obtain his transcript at his current school when he finds his old teacher. The teacher, seeing his poor dress attire, offers him a ride home and gives him twenty dollars for “school supplies.” Unfortunately, his dad finds the money and he goes on a drinking spree for two days. He ends the spree infuriated with his wife’s behavior as she drags him out of a bar. He then goes on a rampage and chases her with a rifle only to end up in jail. Manny’s life is anything but dull. His struggles only continue and he realizes all he really wants is to be respected--a vato firme. Will Manny fall into temptation? Will he pull away from gangs and rise above his family or will he be lured in by the promise of feeling like a family and plenty of pollitas willing to make out?The Hernandez family members are real characters whose experiences are ones that many readers can relate to. Manny’s experiences in particular speak to kids who feel that they don’t belong, whether they have to put up with others looking down on them because of their ethnic background or their social economic status or whether they simply just long to be someone else- someone smarter, richer, whiter or someone stronger that other people would respect. Readers may find themselves questioning why some people are faced with cultural discrimination.Parrot in the Oven brings to life the opportunity for some to see their lives in print and for others to develop an understanding of the difficulties of growing up with cultural discrimination. Residents of the border town Rio Grande Valley, where the majority of the population is Hispanic, commonly see families going through issues such as the ones in Parrot in the Oven. Through our own experiences, we can relate to having families that work in the fields, living paycheck to paycheck, sisters who are pregnant at 16, and experiencing peer pressure while wanting more for our personal lives and working to overcome the stereotypes. Author Victor Martinez was born as the fourth child in a migrant family of twelve in Fresno, California on February 21, 1954. He attended California State University at Fresno and Stanford University. He worked as a field laborer, welder, teacher, and office clerk. He wrote culture reviews for El Tecolote and published a magazine called Dinton. His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in several journals and anthologies. Later, in life he became a full-time author. His books include Caring for a House and Parrot in the Oven. He died of cancer on February 18, 2011 at the age of 56.The winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 1996 and the Pura Belpré Award, Parrot in the Oven could be used in a high school classroom to discuss the stereotypes that have been imposed on Mexican culture. While some of the stereotyping may be considered brutal and offensive it successfully demonstrates the struggles faced by some Mexican-American children.Readers who are interested in reading a coming of age story in which a Mexican American boy struggles to follow his dream despite distractions might enjoy Living Up the Street (Gary Soto, 2012). Another book on this theme is Buried Onions (Gary Soto, 2012), the story of a 19- year-old Mexican-American boy living in a violent barrio in Fresno, who is trying to walk a straight line despite the temptations. HarperCollins Publishers, 216 pp..
(PUBLISHER: HarperTrophy (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005 c1996.)

Paul E. Ferrari (Audiofile, December/January 1999)
Fourteen-year-old Manny Hernandez, a Mexican-American from the housing projects of southern California, is perplexed. He's trying to work through the racism that surrounds him, as well as the poverty and unemployment, poor schools and local gangs, towards a sense of who he is and where he belongs in the world. His father says he's like a parrot who, trusting everyone, lands in the oven. Robert Ramirez's narration is clean, evenly paced and direct. A certain lively, yet trusting, innocence in his voice matches Manny's first-person narration. It doesn't, however, prevent him from powerfully voicing Manny's bullish father or his harried mother. Martinez's sympathetic humanity and Ramirez's narration combine to produce an excellent school text for teaching multicultural awareness. P.E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 1998 (orig. 1996), Recorded Books, Four cassettes, 5 hrs., Book pak, $34.00. Ages 13 up.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1998.)

Melody A. Moxley (KLIATT Review, November 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 6))
Ramirez' narration of this first-person story of Manny Hernandez, a teenager living in a project in L.A., captures throughout the anxiety, joy, and frustration of Manny's life. Ramirez' cadence is always perfect even as he constantly shifts between the slight Spanish inflections of Manny, his friends, and his siblings and the more prominent accents of his parents. The vibrant images brought forth by Manny's descriptions of his surroundings ("already...the corn tortillas were warping like records in the sun") shine throughout the novel. Manny's father drinks too much, and his mother always forgives him -- even after he goes to jail for threatening her with a rifle. His sister has a miscarriage on the bathroom floor, and Manny's friends almost lead him into severe trouble. His difficult life is steadied by the love of his family, for even his father shows his love for them on occasion. The time period is not always clear: it seems to be contemporary, and then pop stars from the past are mentioned, making the listener wonder when this is taking place. But the vibrancy of the author's language and the perfection of the narrator's interpretation make this a terrific, compelling production that would be a welcome addition to any fiction collection. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: SA*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998 (orig. 1996), Recorded Books, 4 tapes, 5 hrs. #95434.; Sturdy vinyl binder; plot notes., $34.00. Ages 15 to adult.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1998.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
Fourteen-year-old Manny Hernandez lives in a housing project in southern California. He and his other Mexican-American neighbors sleep in houses made of sheetrock and tin. They sit in yards worn down to dust, and hope that somehow luck will come their way. Poverty isn’t the only problem in Manny’s life. His father thinks Manny is as worthless as a penny. His crazy mother thinks she can scrub away or slap away his worries. Each day Manny hopes that Bobby and Stinky, the sadistic brothers across the parking lot, won’t beat him up. Manny could join a neighborhood gang, but he’s determined to make his own life worth something more. Manny’s story is one filled with hardship. Yet, through Robert Ramirez’s narration, it also shines with the resilient spirit of a teenager who refuses to lose his hope for the future. Victor Martinez’s gritty, realistic novel was chosen for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Fanfare Honor List and by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book. n.d., Recorded Books, Unabridged Cassette - Library Edition; 95434, $41.75. Ages 13 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1998.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: HarperTrophy, 2005

Media Type: Language Material
216 12 p. ;
9780064471862
0064471861
Includes reader's guide.
"Joanna Cotler books."
National Book Award winner. Winner of the Pura Belprâe Award.
Prince Frederick MD: Recorded Books, 1998

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
4 sound cassettes (5 hr.):
PZ7.M36718 ([Fic])
0788720813
9780788720819
In container (22 cm.).
An unabridged recording of the book.
"Fiction on Cassette."-Cover.
New York: Scholastic, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
216 p. ;
PZ7.M36718 ([Fic])
0590187082
9780590187084
"Joanna Cotler books."
New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
216 p. ;
PZ7.M36718 ([Fic])
0060267046
0060267062
9780060267049
9780060267063
"Joanna Cotler books."

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