Rivera Book Award

    The Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award which originated in 1995 in San Marcos at Texas State University has a website at http://www.riverabookaward.info/ .  Its purpose is
  • To recognize and honor authors and illustrators that create quality children's literature depicting the Mexican American experience.
  • To enhance awareness among librarians, teachers, parents and children of this literature so it will take its place in libraries, classrooms and homes to educate, inspire, and entertain all children.
  • Soon the 2009 winners will be posted to augment their site.  This year it was a tie.  Both Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of He Forgot to Say Goodbye, and Carmen Tafolla, author of The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans received the award.
    Tafolla's website http://www.carmentafolla.com/ says of the author "One of the most anthologized of Latina writers, Carmen Tafolla has published work for both children and adults in more than two hundred anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks, and readers. Long considered one of the madrinas of Chicana Literature and a master of bilingual code-switching, Tafolla is the author of more than fifteen books, seven screenplays, and numerous articles and essays."
    Saenz's website http://www.benjaminaliresaenz.com/ where his biographical sketch begins "Benjamin Alire Sáenz was born in 1954 in his grandmother's house in Old Picacho, a small farming village on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was the fourth of seven children and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla.
    He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied theology at the University of Louvain in Louvain, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. Living in the Belgium rain made him desperate to return to the desert—but he also fell in love with Paris and Spain and Italy. During those years, he spent a summer working in a home for the homeless in Kilburn (in what was, at that time, the Irish slums of North London). The home was operated by the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Theresa. He also spent another summer living in Tanzania. It was during that summer that he discovered the meaning of the word, "colonialism." "

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