García McCall honored as 2013 Rivera Children’s Book Award winner

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 14, 2013

Guadalupe García McCall's remarkable debut novel, Under the Mesquite, has been named the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award recipients for works published in 2011-12.

García McCall will be honored during a series of events Oct. 24-26 on the Texas State campus and at the Texas Book Festival in Austin.

The author will give a presentation 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 24 in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom on campus. García McCall will be signing autographs, and books will be available for purchase. She will also take part in a reception 6:30-7:30 p.m. at El Centro Hispano de San Marcos, located at 211 Lee Street in San Marcos.

García McCall will also attend the Texas Book Festival Oct. 26 in Austin. García McCall will participate in the Rivera Book Award panel at 11:30 a.m., location to be announced. For more information, visit

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 Tomás Rivera considers works in two categories: “Works for Older Children/Young Adult” and “Works for Younger Children,” with each category under consideration in alternate years. This year’s winners were nominated as “Works for Older Children/Young Adult.”

Under the Mesquite

Under the Mesquite is the coming-of-age story of Lupita, the eldest of nine children in a Texas border town who is forced to grow up fast when her mother is diagnosed with cancer.

García McCall presents an exceptional story with a writing style that uses free verse to narrate Lupita’s life. Lupita, a poet herself, finds comfort under the shade of a mesquite tree where she can express her feelings and thoughts through writing. Through her poetic voice, García McCall successfully conveys the protagonist’s emotions, evoking empathy for Lupita.

“Lupita crafts words out of pain, using metaphorical poetry deeply rooted in the Southwest border landscape to ground this deeply moving coming-of-age novel in verse form,” said Oralia Garza de Cortés, a member of the national committee that selected the title, library and literacy advocate, and past president of the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.

García McCall was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Trained in theater arts and English, she now teaches English/language arts at a junior high school. Her poems for adults have appeared in more than 20 literary journals. Her debut young adult novel, Under the Mesquite, also won the Pura Belpré Award and was named a Morris Award finalist.

García McCall lives with her husband and their three sons in the San Antonio area. Her web site may be found at

About the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award

Texas State developed the Tomás Rivera Award to celebrate by acknowledging 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