Author on the Airwaves: René Saldaña, Jr.

Saldaña, Jr. chosen as December 2013’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 Lemon Tree Caper / La intriga del limonero (Piñata Books, 2011), A Good Long Way (Piñata Books, 2010), The Case of the Pen Gone Missing / El caso de la pluma perdida (Piñata Books, 2009), The Whole Sky Full of Stars (Random House, 2007), The Jumping Tree (Delacorte, 2001) and Finding Our Way: Stories (Random House, 2003). He lives in Lubbock, Texas, where he teaches in the College of Education at Texas Tech University.

About his latest book, The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker / El misterio del malvado marcador

It’s Monday morning, and kid detective extraordinaire Mickey Rangel is on the hot seat. “You must be wondering why I’ve called you to my office,” said Mrs. Abrego, the school principal. And in fact, Mickey has been racking his brain and sweating bullets, trying to figure out what he has done to warrant being pulled out of homeroom. Could it have been the spitball fight with his twin brother Ricky on the bus? How could word have gotten to Mrs. A that quickly?

When she instead brings up the recent rash of graffiti on school grounds, Mickey is initially horrified that she might think he’s involved. But he quickly realizes why she has called him in: she needs his help! Mrs. A has heard that Mickey is a detective, and he confirms that he’s the “real deal,” with an online certificate to prove it. She wants him to unmask the Mischievous Marker, the person writing messages all over the school”s walls.

The culprit has left numerous clues in his postings mainly a pronounced lack of grammar and spelling skills and that, along with an anonymous message from a supposed eyewitness pointing the finger at Mickey’s life-long nemesis, Bucho, seem to make for an easy case to solve. But Bucho has denied the accusation and asked for Mickey’s help. So Mickey flabbergasted but intrigued is “on the case.”
In the third book in the Mickey Rangel Mystery series for intermediate readers, author and educator Rene Saldana, Jr. has once again crafted an appealing book for kids, and his wise-cracking, smart protagonist will appeal to even the most reluctant readers.