Texas State University
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Date of Release: Sep. 10, 2001

My Very Own Room: Mi propio cuartito garners Rivera Award

Amada Irma Perez, author
Maya Christina Gonzalez, illustrator
SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — “I loved my brothers. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be near them. I just needed a place of my own.”

In Amada Irma Perez’s book My Very Own Room: Mi propio cuartito, a young girl realizes her dream of getting her own room (a converted closet) through determination and the help of her family, a dream taken for granted by most but treasured by many.

Because of its originality in presentation and its heartwarming message of family unity and determination, My Very Own Room: Mi propio cuartito, written by Perez and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, is being awarded the 2000 Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.

The award, sponsored by Southwest Texas State University’s College of Education and endowed by the Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., will be presented at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 in Southwestern Writers Collection, Alkek Library, 7th floor. Perez will give a presentation and sign copies of My Very Own Room at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 on JCK’s 11th floor.

Perez and Gonzalez, both from California, are the sixth set of winners of the Tomas Rivera award. Perez is a third-grade teacher in Oxnard, Calif. and a learning advocate of programs encouraging multicultural understanding.

Perez immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child and writes My Very Own Room based on her experience growing up in poverty with five brothers. The book is written in both Spanish and English with vivid artwork.

Gonzalez is from San Francisco, Calif. where she works as a painter and graphic artist. She is a mentor in the Children’s Book Press outreach program and serves as an artist-in-residence for a local elementary school.

According to members of the committee, My Very Own Room is not only a delight for children, but it epitomizes the significance of the award, which is to raise awareness of the Mexican American culture.

SWT developed the award to congratulate and acknowledge authors and illustrators dedicated to depicting the values and culture of Mexican Americans. Tomas Rivera, who passed away in 1984, graduated from SWT with both his bachelor’s and master’s degree before receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He was the first Hispanic Distinguished Alumnus of SWT.Rivera published his landmark novel in 1971, entitled …y no se lo trago la tierra/ …And the Earth Did Not Part. In 1979, he was appointed chancellor of the University of California, the first Hispanic chancellor named to the University of California system.