Gary Soto was born in Fresno, California in 1952. Soto grew up with the intention of becoming a paleontologist, enrolling at California State University, Fresno to study geology after graduating from high school. Soto never read much as a child, having had very limited access to books. But one day he just happened to pick up a book of poetry in the college library and liked it enough to change his program of study to English, eventually going on to graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Soto’s first published work is a 1977 book of poems for adults titled The Elements of San Joaquin. He has since written over forty books for children, young people, and adults  – poetry collections, novels, and picture books – and has won many awards.
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