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Montes, Morales honored with Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 17, 2008

Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Los Gatos Black on Halloween takes the form of Montes’ charming, bilingual poem, weaving Spanish and English words together with Morales’ playful imagery so that all is easily understood regardless of language.

For their efforts in presenting this story, Los Gatos Black on Halloween has been honored with the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for books published in 2007. The award, established at Texas State University-San Marcos 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.

The award will be presented Thursday, Oct. 30 at a special luncheon by Texas State President Denise M. Trauth. Following at 2:30 p.m., Montes and Morales will give an author/illustrator presentation in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom on campus with book sales and signing.  A mariachi performance is scheduled and refreshments will be served. The presentation in the LBJ Student Center is free and open to the public.

On Friday, Oct. 31, Montes and Morales will participate in the Texas Book Festival Reading Rock Stars Program.  This program identifies a school for them to present to the children.  Each child at the school will receive a free signed copy of the winning book with the award seal to take home. 

On Saturday, Nov. 1, Montes and Morales will continue their participation in the Texas Book Festival by giving a Tomás Rivera Award reading session from 1-1:30 p.m. in the Children’s Chapter Read Me a Story Tent with a book sale and signing.

Montes, of Walnut Creek, Calif., was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Missouri and France.

She is the author of several books for young readers, including Juan Bobo Goes to Work, which won a Purple Belpre Honor and was named and ALA Notable Book, and A Circle of Time, which won the Willa Literary Award.

The marks the second such honor for Morales, of Pleasant Hill, Calif. Her book Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book, won the Tomás Rivera Award for books published in 2003. In addition to her talents as an artist and author, Morales is a Brazilian folk dancer, a puppet maker and the former host of a Spanish-language storytelling radio show for children. In addition to writing and illustrating Just a Minute, Morales has also contributed illustrations for Todas las Buenas Manos by Francisca Isabel Campoy, Sand Sister by Amanda White and Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull. She grew up in Xalapa, Mexico.

About the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award

Texas State developed the Tomás Rivera Award to congratulate and acknowledge 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, please visit the Rivera Award website at http://www.education.txstate.edu/subpages/tomasrivera/.