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Mexican-American Literature for Children

Pam Muñoz Ryan's Becoming Naomi León, a novel for intermediate readers, won the 2004 Tomás Rivera Award.  A group of professors at Texas State created  the annual  Rivera prizes ten years ago to honor children's books that accurately portray the lives of Mexican-Americans, with the thought that the group was under-represented in literature for kids.

The San Marcos Daily Record reports,

"The first year of the award, out of approximately 5,000 new children's books published, only eight or so qualified," [Judy] Leavell [Texas State professor] said. "Now in its tenth year, the numbers have increased to (just under) 50, but there's still a need for publishers to do more to see that more examples of this literature are produced."

To celebrate ten years of the Rivera awards, Texas State hosts a weekend of festivities, including a showing of art work by previous winners, October 28-29. The exhibit will continue through December 11.

A list of previous winners, including Gary Soto's picture book Chato's Kitchen, can be found on the Austin Public Library's site.


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