The Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award was developed by the Texas State University’s College of Education to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. Tomás Rivera, a native of Crystal City, Texas, is the first Mexican American to have been selected Distinguished Alumnus at Texas State University–San Marcos. He is known as the Dean of Mexican American Literature.
The award is given each year to the authors and illustrators of outstanding children’s and young adult literature that most authentically reflects Mexican Americans in the United States.
Past winners include Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Under the Mesquite, Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling, Diego Rivera His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh and What Can You Do with a Paleta by Carmen Tafolla. The first winners of the award in 1996 were Chatos Kitchen by Gary Soto and Farolito’s Christmas by Rudolfo Anaya.
Nominations must be submitted by 1 November and winners are announced on 15 February.
Criteria for the award are
- The book will be written for children and young adults (0-16 years).
- The text and illustrations will be of highest quality.
- The portrayal/representations of Mexican Americans will be accurate and engaging, avoid stereotypes, and reflect rich characterization.
- The book may be fiction or non- fiction.