2021 Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award winners to be honored on campus

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | October 27, 2021

The recipients of Texas State University's Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for works published in 2019-2020— Beatrice Zamora, Maira Maez and Sonia Gutiérrez—will be honored with a series of events Thursday, Oct. 28.

Zamora and Maez, author and illustrator of The Spirit of Chicano Park, winner of the Young Readers category, will discuss the book from 10-11:30 a.m. in the LBJ Student Center, with Maez giving a painting demonstration. A book signing will follow from 11:30 a.m.-noon. The event is sold out, but will be livestreamed at www.education.txstate.edu/ci/riverabookaward/.

Gutiérrez, author of Dreaming with Mariposas, winner of the Older Readers category, will discuss her book from noon-1 p.m. in the LBJ Student Ballroom. A book signing will follow 1-1:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will also be livestreamed at www.education.txstate.edu/ci/riverabookaward/.

The award, established at Texas State University in 1995, is designed to encourage authors, illustrators and publishers to produce books that authentically reflect the lives of Mexican American children and young adults in the United States.

<i>The Spirit of Chicano Park</i>

book cover for "the spirit of chicano park"

The Spirit of Chicano Park tells the dynamic story of the people of Logan Heights and world-famous Chicano Park. Through the eyes of a mystical Señora, Bettie and Bonky travel through a historical journey of a community’s struggle to build a park and learn the true history of Chicano Park and the importance of finding their voices and community action.

Zamora, a California native, grew up during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. At a young age she became involved with various social justice causes that eventually became the basis and foundation for her winning book.

Meza is a first-generation Chicana from California. During her teenage years she won several national poster contests that encouraged her love of art. Challenged by health complications, she turned to art for therapy and uses her mind and hand to bring her to a peaceful zone.

<i>Dreaming with Mariposas</i>

book cover for "dreaming with mariposas"

Written in a Tomás Rivera and Sandra Cisneros bildungsroman vignette style, Dreaming with Mariposas recounts the story of the Martínez family as told through the eyes of transfronteriza Sofía “Chofi” Martínez. Chofi witnesses institutional racism, sexual harassment and colorism as she learns to navigate the dreams of her parents as well as her own. In the process, she discovers her superpower, the strength of her Mexican Indigenous heritage and the spirit world.

Gutiérrez powerfully and poetically captures what it’s like to grow up as a brown girl in America. She teaches critical thinking and writing, women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and multicultural studies. She is currently working on her first picture book.

tomas rivera book award logo

About the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award

The Tomás Rivera Award at Texas State celebrates authors and illustrators dedicated to depicting the values and culture of Mexican Americans. Rivera, who died in 1984, graduated from Texas State with both his bachelor's and master's degrees before receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. A Distinguished Alumnus of Texas State, Rivera published his landmark novel in 1971 titled ...y no se lo tragó la tierra/ ...And the Earth Did Not Part. In 1979, Rivera was appointed chancellor of the University of California-Riverside, the first Hispanic chancellor named to the University of California System.

For more information on the Rivera Award, visit the Rivera Award website.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922