They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles
This slim poetry collection becomes more relevant with each passing day. They Call Me Güero chronicles the life of twelve-year-old Güero, a Mexican American boy living on the swath of land near the Rio Grande. Although he lives on the American side of the river, his heritage and identity are deeply rooted in Mexico.
He frequently traverses the bridge connecting the two countries. In Mexico he and his father eat breakfast and purchase fresh groceries. Güero's imagination inhabits his grandmother's world filled with chilling tales of mythical monsters.
He possesses distinctive physical characteristics which distinguish him from other members in his community: a light complexion with freckles and a head of bright red hair.
Bowles handles sensitive topics with a light touch. Racism, stereotypes, immigration are part of Güero's life and are subtly revealed throughout the narrative. This is a boy discovering a world closely connected to his heritage, family, and friends.
Spanish is clearly an important feature in the text. Bowles liberally peppers these verses with Spanish phrases and references to Mexican and Mexican-American culture. A glossary for most of the phrases with pronunciation and the English equivalent enriches the reading experience. This is especially helpful when reading aloud.
The poems can be read as a collective narrative. They also work well as standalone vignettes. Read. Enjoy. Discuss. Share. Repeat.