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Classical 91.7-Arte Público Press Author of the Month: René Saldaña, Jr.

René Saldaña, Jr. is this month's Classical 91.7/Arte Público Press Author of the Month. In the latest installment of a series of monthly features, Houston Public Media's Eric Ladau spoke with Dr. Saldaña.


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The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker/ El Misterio del Malvado Marcador is the third book in René Saldaña, Jr.’s bilingual mystery series featuring kid detective extraordinaire, Mickey Rangel!

It’s Monday morning, and Mickey 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, he 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! 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 too. So Mickey—flabbergasted but intrigued—is once again, “on the case!”

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.

ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters, and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and