Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award celebrates 25th anniversary with virtual event

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | October 20, 2020

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The recipients of Texas State University's Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for works published in 2018-2019—Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña—will be honored during a virtual presentation at 10 a.m. Oct. 26.

The virtual presentation will stream at and feature a reading by Quintero, author of the winning book, My Papi Has a Motorcycle, as well as reflections from Zeke Peña, who illustrated the book. 

Texas State President Denise M. Trauth, Dean of the College of Education Michael O’Malley and Ileana Rivera Liberatore, daughter of the late Tomás Rivera, will also share messages.The award, established at Texas State 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 Rivera Award also promotes literacy by promoting high quality children’s and young adult literature, in addition to encouraging authors to write about the Mexican American experience.

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My Papi Has a Motorcycle 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, tells the story of Daisy Ramona, who sees the people and places she's always known while zooming around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there. With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl's love letter to her hardworking father and to memories of home that she holds close in the midst of change.

Quintero is an award-winning writer from the Inland Empire of Southern California. She is also the daughter of Mexican immigrants. In addition to Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, she has also written a chapter book series for young readers, Ugly Cat and Pablo (Scholastic, Inc.) and a non-fiction young adult graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications, 2018), which received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Quintero also writes poetry and essays. Her work can be found in The Normal School, Huizache, The Acentos Review, As/Us Journal, The James Franco Review and other publications.

Peña makes comics and illustrations as an accessible way to remix history and explore complex issues. He was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and grew up in El Paso. He earned his degree in art history from the University of Texas at Austin and is self-taught in drawing and painting. He has published work with, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 he received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for a graphic biography he illustrated titled Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide.

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, visit the Rivera Award website at

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922