SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Tomas and the Library Lady, a children’s book written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colon, is the winner of the third annual Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award given by Southwest Texas State University.
Established in 1995 by the SWT School of Education, the award recognizes and honors writers and illustrators of Mexican American children’s literature. Books submitted for the awards must authentically represent the Mexican American experience of the Southwest.
The award is named for Rivera, who at the time of his death in 1984 was chancellor of the University of California at Riverside. He earned a bachelor’s degree from SWT in 1958 and a master’s in 1964. He was the author of the novel y no se lo trago la tierra (And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him), a work that reflected his experience growing up as a migrant farm worker.
A plaque and cash award, made possible by an endowment from the Anheuser-Busch Companies, was presented to the two during a reception in their honor at the Southwestern Writers Collection on the SWT campus.
Earlier in the day Mora and Colon visited with students from the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District at various campuses throughout the district.
Tomas and the Library Lady recalls how a young Rivera, after a long and arduous day in the fields, would listen intently to the stories his grandfather told. Soon, he knew all the stories by heart. So, his grandfather took him to the library and introduced him to the librarian and a whole new world, limited only by his imagination.