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Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award winners announced for 2017

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
February 23, 2017

The books Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood and The Memory of Light have been named the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award recipients for works published in 2015-16.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, and illustrated by Rafael López, was honored in the young reader’s category. The Memory of Light, by Francisco X. Stork, was honored in the older reader’s category.

The awards will be presented this fall on the Texas State University campus with additional events scheduled in cooperation with the Texas Book Festival to be announced.

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.

Maybe Something Beautiful

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and the triumph of a community against the darker forces of social decay. What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than they ever imagined. 

Campoy is the author of more than 100 titles in Spanish and English including books of poetry, Poesía eres tú; cultural awareness, Yes! We Are Latinos; folklore, Tales Our Abuelitas Told, as well as books for educators on the use of poetry in the classroom, Está Linda la Mar; parent involvement, Ayudando a nuestros hijos; and writing, Authors in the Classroom. Her many accolades include the Laureate Award by San Francisco Public Library, ALA Notable Book List, the International Latino Book Award and the Ramón Santiago award from the National Association for Bilingual Education. She is a member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.

Howell began her career in publishing as a children’s book editor at Rising Moon, where she helped to establish the bilingual imprint Luna Rising. She is the editor of numerous award-winning and best-selling children’s books. Today she writes stories of her own and works as an independent children’s book editor. Howell lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters where she hikes, reads, dances and dreams.

López grew up in Mexico City, where he was immersed in the rich cultural heritage and color of street life. His vibrant picture books include Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle; Tito Puente, Mambo King and My Name is Celia, both by Monica Brown; and Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora. He has received the Pura Belpré and Américas awards multiple times. An acclaimed muralist, he has designed community-based mural projects nationwide.

The Memory of Light

The Memory of Light

When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had. But Vicky's newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital, and when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vicky back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength.

Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one—about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how people go on anyway.

Stork was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and grew up in El Paso. He studied at Spring Hill College and then went on to earn his M.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Columbia University. He worked as an attorney for affordable housing until his retirement from the practice in 2015. Stork is the author of six novels, including Marcelo in the Real World, recipient of the Schneider Award, and The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, recipient of the Elizabeth Walden Award and the International Latino Award. The Memory of Light received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife.

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, please visit the Rivera Award website at riverabookaward.org.

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