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Arte Público Press Author Interview: Daniel Chacón

Despite his artistic talents, cooking ability and love of good books, 14-year-old Victor Reyes Jr. must come to terms with the fact that most of the adults in his life (including his own mother) are convinced that he is a thug or Cholo

The Cholo Tree

In his new novel The Cholo Treeauthor Daniel Chacón introduces us to 14-year-old Victor Reyes Jr. Victor has recently been released from the hospital, having been shot during some kind of altercation that he does not currently remember.

Victor is increasingly aware that most of the adults in his life (including his own mother) are convinced that he is involved in gang related activity. In fact, his mother and cousin refer to him as a Cholo

Victor finds this accusation not only wrong but ridiculous. As far as Victor is concerned, his interests are drawing, cooking and listening to music. Victor is convinced that because he is Chicano, has dark skin and wears loose fitting clothes, people stereotype him as a gang member. Victor is disappointed to find that his mother, as well as Mr. Garcia, one of his favorite teachers, reject Chicano culture as being crude, misogynistic and overly tolerant of criminal behavior. 

Victor’s situation is made worse by his association with his old friend Equis, who is most definitely interested in being in a gang and acting like a Cholo.

While attending a college recruitment program for Latinos, Victor meets Iliana and has the opportunity to experience an entirely different and more sophisticated aspect of Latino life and culture. 

In order to take advantage of Mr. Garcia’s generous efforts to help him pursue a career as a visual artist, Victor must overcome his anger and somewhat murky criminal heritage (courtesy of his now deceased father). 

 

More information available at www.artepublicopress.com

 

Houston Public Media’s Eric Ladau spoke with Daniel Chacón.

Photo of Arte Público Press Author Daniel Chacón, Author of The Cholo Tree
Arte Público Press Author Daniel Chacón, Author of The Cholo Tree

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Eric Ladau

Eric Ladau

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NightClassics host and Station Tour Coordinator Eric Ladau graduated from Illinois State University in 1979 with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. While in college, he worked at KFJM in Grand Forks North Dakota and WGLT in Bloomington, Illinois. He hosted jazz, classical, folk and blues music programs and even...

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