About Gary SotoGary Soto is an American poet who was born on April 12, 1952 in Fresno to Manuel and Angie Soto, Mexican-American working class immigrants. During his youth he worked in the beet and cotton fields and in the vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley. He studied at Fresno City College and California State University where he earned a B.A. in 1974 and subsequently completed his studies at the University of California, Irvine where he obtained an M.F.A. in 1976.
He published his first work in 1977, the collection of lyrics The Elements of San Joaquin, about the difficult life of Mexicans in California and with his second collection of poems, The Tale of the Sunligh, he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for poetry.
Author of numerous children's novels, in 1995 he was a finalist for the National Book Award for poetry with New and Selected Poems and in 2014 he was awarded the Phoenix Award for the Chicano novel. In 1999 he was honored with the Human and Civil Rights Award from the American Education Association, the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the PEN Center West Book Award for his young-adult short story collection Petty Crimes.
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