Author on the Airwaves: René Saldaña, Jr.

Saldaña, Jr. chosen as August 2016’s “Author of the Month” on Houston Public Media

Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Saldaña, Jr. for its website’s “Arte Público Press Author of the Month” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.

Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.

About the Author:

RENÉ SALDAÑA, JR. is the author of the acclaimed Mickey Rangel Series of bilingual mysteries for intermediate readers: A Mystery Bigger than Big / Un misterio más grande que grandísimo (2016), The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker / El misterio del malvado marcador (2013), The Lemon Tree Caper / La intriga del limonero (2011) and The Case of the Pen Gone Missing / El caso de la pluma perdida (2009). He is also the author of a bilingual picture book, Dale, dale, dale: Una fiesta de números / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers (Piñata Books, 2014), which was named to the 2015-2016 Tejas Star Reading List. He lives in Lubbock, Texas, where he teaches in the College of Education at Texas Tech University.

About his latest book, A Mystery Bigger than Big / Un misterio más grande que grandísimo

Rumors are flying about Natalia, the new girl in school. She’s so quiet that everyone is sure she’s hiding something. Was her father a drug lord in Mexico, killed by rival gangs? Or were her parents Russian spies, caught doing what spies do? Maybe she’s the sole survivor of a plane crash?!?

Mickey Rangel, detective extraordinaire, knows all of the stories going around are bogus. But when his arch-rival, Bucho, challenges him for the answer, Mickey vows to crack the case of the new girl. He’ll prove once and for all that he’s the real deal, a private detective!

Natalia is peculiar. She’s very skinny, and eats her lunch so quickly that Mickey wonders if she got something more appetizing than he did. She never talks, and her shoes and clothing are worn and shabby. But his efforts to discover the girl’s secret come up empty, until he overhears a conversation. Is Natalia really one of those undocumented children he has heard about on the news? Did she really travel all the way from Guatemala by herself? Why would she leave her family? And why would her parents let her go?

In this fourth installment of the bilingual Mickey Rangel Mystery series, acclaimed author and educator René Saldaña, Jr. writes a thought-provoking novel for intermediate readers that explores the contemporary issue of immigration from the perspective of young people. And in this case, Mickey learns some hard truths about being a detective and a good person, ultimately realizing that some mysteries are best left unsolved.