Forgiving Moses (Roosevelt High School Series)


This novel for teens explores the issue of imprisoned fathers in marginalized communities.

by Gloria L. Velásquez

ISBN: 978-1-55885-864-0
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Trade Paperback
Imprint: Piñata Books

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Moses Vargas hates his life. He has been forced to move four times in as many years, and he’s tired of starting at another school, having everyone stare at him and trying to make new friends. Most of all, he doesn’t want to have to deal with questions about his father—an inmate in the California Department of Corrections.

When Moses discovers that someone has been sending out text messages with a photo of him and his father in a prison uniform, he ends up in a fight and then suspended for three days. School counselor Ray Gutiérrez reaches out to Moses, inviting him to an after-school support program called Círculos for students dealing with absentee fathers.

Moses grudgingly attends the sessions that draw on indigenous and cultural roots to empower the boys. Realizing he is not the only one with a problematic home life—and the new friendship of a pretty classmate whose father is also in prison—helps Moses to begin talking about his anger and embarrassment. But will he really be able to overcome his resentment towards his father?

The tenth installment in Velásquez’s acclaimed Roosevelt High School Series that focuses on social issues relevant to teens, Forgiving Moses addresses the painful issue of children, particularly brown and black youth, whose fathers are not present in their lives. Touching on the disproportionately high number of men of color in prison and its effects on society, this short novel for teens will generate conversations about the possible consequences of making bad choices, responsibility to family and the impact of incarceration.