Dancing with the Devil and Other Tales from Beyond / Bailando con el diablo y otros cuentos del más allá


by René Saldaña, Jr.

ISBN: 978-1-55885-744-5
Publication Date: 2012
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 176
Ages: 11 and up

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Joey is excited and nervous about the school dance because Marlen, the love of his life, has agreed to be his date. But Joey has heard rumors that she might be meeting someone else, and as he waits for her to show up he can’t help but worry the gossip may be true. Sure enough, a suave, well-dressed stranger asks Marlen to dance before Joey can even get to her. And soon the handsome couple is burning up the dance floor literally!

In this collection of stories based on Mexican-American lore, author and educator Rene Saldaña, Jr. spins age-old tales with a contemporary twist. Lauro and Miguel run for their lives with La Llorona’s cold breath on their necks after being caught smoking cigarettes down by the river. There’s Felipe, who s so determined to win back the Penitas Grand Master Marble Champion title that he’s willing to make a deal for a shooter with a supernatural edge. And when Louie’s leg swells up after he cuts his toe playing with a knife, he can’t help but wonder if his mom’s warning could be true. Are his guts really going to spill out of his wound because he cut himself doing something stupid?

Set in the author’s native South Texas, these are the stories parents have told their children for generations to discourage bad behavior and encourage kids to stay close to home. But Saldaña breathes new life into these traditional tales with contemporary settings, issues and conflicts that are sure to resonate with today’s youth.


“Ages-old supernatural elements mix well with a high-interest, current setting in southern Texas to create a compelling set of tales. The stories range from genuinely frightening to gloriously gruesome, but all of them are memorable. This collection is recommended for libraries serving middle school and high school students, particularly those with a substantial Hispanic population.”–VOYA

“Smartly written, Saldana crafts vivid characters through his well-paced plots and charming, spine-tingling narrations. [He] faithfully gives new life to the spooky folklore of the South and makes the tales fresh for today’s adolescent readers, who may be left wondering what other creatures lurk in the night.”–Booklist

RENÉ SALDAÑA, JR. is the author of the bilingual Mickey Rangel Mystery series for kids, A Good Long Way (Piñata Books, 2010), 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.

Learn more at renesaldanajr.blogspot.com.

ATOS Interest Level: Middle Grades