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Nominations sought for Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award

Date of release: 09/29/98

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Nominations are being sought for the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award to be presented next fall by Southwest Texas State University.

The award, established at SWT 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 American Southwest.

Pat Mora and Raul Colon were honored as the 1998 recipients of the award for their book, Tomas and the Library Lady, at a special reception held Sept. 24 on the SWT campus.

The award is named for author and educator Tomas Rivera who, at the time of his death in 1984, was chancellor of the University of California at Riverside. Rivera 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. He also wrote many poems, short stories and essays.

Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree from SWT in 1958 and a master’s in 1964. He received a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1969. In 1980, he received the SWT Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Rivera award is presented annually by SWT’s School of Education to the author or author and illustrator of the most distinguished book for children or young adults that authentically reflects the lives and experiences of Mexican Americans in the southwestern United States.

Award winners will receive a plaque and a cash award. The award-winning books will bear an embossed seal of the award. Award recipients are selected by a national review committee.

In the books, portrayals of Mexican Americans should be accurate, engaging and rich in characterization, while avoiding stereotypes. The work may be fiction or non-fiction and must have been published during the previous calendar year. Text and illustrations should be of the highest quality. Judges will also solicit the opinions of children on the nominated books. Selections will be made from the books nominated. If no nominated book meets established criteria, no award will be presented.

The deadline for nominations for books with a 1998 publication date is Feb. 1, 1999. That award will be given in the fall of 1999. Nominations should be sent to: The Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, SWT School of Education, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX, 78666.