Gary Soto’s “Seventh Grade” is a wonderful text to begin the school year. A simple account of a boy’s first day in seventh grade, the story contains a realism that resonates with young readers. Students connect with Victor’s emotional highs and lows making this a wonderful story for teaching literary character development.
As a Mexican American who grew up in California, author Gary Soto bases many of his stories on his own life experiences. While “Seventh Grade” is not strictly biographical, it draws from Soto’s memories and surroundings. Like most of Soto’s writing, it includes details that reflect his heritage. For this reason, “Seventh Grade” is considered realistic fiction. For more information on Gary Soto, check out https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/contributor/gary-soto.