At Chandler School in Pasadena

I had a wonderful time yesterday speaking to an auditorium of 7th and 8th graders at Chandler School in Pasadena. The students were attentive, respectful, and many had amazing questions. So were the teachers and staff who attended. The specialness comes from the fact this is my 12-year-old granddaughter Catalina's school. She helped arrange this with one of her teachers, Ms. Laird. And she seemed excited that I came and spoke.

I shared many of my books -- including children's books, poetry, fiction (my novel and short story collection), and nonfiction (including "Always Running"). Then I told a few stories of my life in the streets--in gangs and on drugs as a teenager--and my life now as writer, speaker, community activist, and family man.

And I read a couple of poems.

I've tried to speak at the schools of my kids and grandkids when possible. I read at the school of my grandson Ricky's school in Florida last year. I also read and talked at my granddaughter Amanda May's school in Sterling, IL.

In the past I've spoken or read poetry at the schools of my sons Ramiro, Ruben and Chito. I also read at one of the colleges my daughter Andrea once attended.

I thank the students and teachers/staff for allowing me this opportunity.


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