Texas Tech University

René Saldaña, Ph.D.

Curriculum & Instruction

Email: rene.saldana@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-283-6284 (cell)

Office: Education 325

Dr. René Saldaña, Jr., is the author of several books for children and young adults, among them The Jumping Tree, The Whole Sky Full of Stars, A Good Long Way, and the bilingual Mickey Rangel mystery series. He is a professor who teaches in the Language, Diversity, and Literacy Studies. His research looks at the use of culturally relevant literature in the largely underrepresented classrooms as a way to improve children's reading abilities. He and Dr. Ana Torres continue to organize the School-wide, Community-based Read-aloud and Book Giveaway in several local elementary schools.

Rene Saldana


  • Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing, Georgia State University
  • M.A. in English, Clemson University
  • B.A. in English, Bob Jones University

Areas of Expertise

  • Culturally Relevant Literature
  • Non-traditional Writing in the Academy
  • The Weeklong, Uninterrupted Read-Aloud
  • Children's and YA Literature

Selected Publications


The Jumping Tree. New York: Random House/Delacorte, 2001.

A Good Long Way. Houston TX: Arte Público P/Piñata Books, 2010.

Heartbeat of the Soul of the World: Stories. Donna TX: Juventud Press, 2015.

The Curse of the Bully's Wrath/La maldicíon de la ira del abusón: A Mickey Rangel Mystery. Houston TX: Piñata Books/Arte Público Press. 2018.

Scholarly Works:

"A Writer Writes: Three Lessons." The English Journal. 2019.

(Mis)Understanding Culture: Literacy through Lived Experiences. The English Journal. 2020.

"On Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima and Becoming a Life-long Reader, and How I Nearly Blew It as a Teacher: An Extended Testimonio." Study & Scrutiny: Research on Young Adult Literature, 3(2), 20-30. 2019.

"Confronting Death and Mourning in the Liminal Through Short Stories." In Michelle Falter and Steven Bickmore (Ed.), Moving Beyond Personal Loss to Societal Grieving: Discussing Death's Social Impact through Literature in the Secondary ELA Classroom (pp. 13-21). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2018.

"Hook Them with Leyendas: Mixing in Some Spooky Tales to Get Kids Reading." Literacy Today, 14-15. 2018.

Don't Be Fooled: Nothing's Wasted on the Young. On Dr. Sylvia Vardell's blog, Poetry For Children. 2017.

"Why Not Hugs and Tugs Instead of Thugs? People of Color Interacting Positively in Picture Books." Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature.

"Forgive Me My Bluntness: I'm a Writer of Color and I'm Right Here In Front of You: I'm the One Sitting Alone at the Table." http://latinosinkidlit.com/2014/09/08/forgive-me-my-bluntness-im-a-writer-of-color-and-im-right-here-in-front-of-you-im-the-one-sitting-alone-at-the-table/comment-page-1/#comment-2076. September 08, 2014.

"Mexican American YA Lit: Literature with a Capital 'L.'" The ALAN Review: 39.2. Winter 2012.

"The Case of the Missing Mexican American Detective Stories: Mystery Solved?" The ALAN Review: 39.1. Fall 2011.

"Mestizaje: Forging Identity Through Hybridity." A chapter in Young Adult Literature and Adolescent Identity Across Cultures and Classrooms: Contexts for the Literary Lives of Teens, edited by Janet Alsup. Routledge. 2010.