From Valerie J. Nelson, the Los Angeles Times (click on the excerpt to go to full article):
Victor Martinez, who won the 1996 National Book Award for young people’s literature for his semi-autobiographical novel about growing up Mexican American in California’s Central Valley, has died. He was 56.
Martinez died Feb. 18 at his San Francisco apartment of lung cancer, said his sister, Martha Manzano. The cancer was related to juvenile papillomavirus, which first struck him as an adolescent. Doctors linked the virus to growing up around pesticides, his sister said.
His first novel, “Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida,” was about a 14-year-old Mexican American boy growing up in the projects of an unnamed city in the Central Valley. The title refers to a Mexican story about a bird that complains how hot it is in the shade, not realizing that it is sitting in an oven.