Texas Tech University

René Saldaña, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
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 an associate 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.