Sylvia and Aki [2012 Co-Winner]

Written by Winifred Conkling

Book Synopsis:

The book Sylvia and Aki recounts the true story of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu. Told in alternating chapters from the girls’ points of view, the story about institutional racism enlightens readers to events in recent history of the US. Aki’s family was relocated from their family farm to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert. Meanwhile, Sylvia’s family has rented the Munemitsu farm and Sylvia and her brothers are not allowed to enroll in the nearby school. Instead, they are sent to the “Mexican school.” This sets the stage for Sylvia’s father to challenge in court the separation of races in California’s schools. The case, Mendez vs. Westminster School District is considered one of the precursors to Brown vs. Board of Education and helped build the case that would end school segregation nationally.

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Diego Rivera: His World and Ours [2012 Co-Winner

Written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Book Synopsis:

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours, highlights the accomplishments of Mexican painter, activist, and muralist Diego Rivera. Tonatiuh’s stylized illustrations include elements of Mayan artwork and represent his interpretation of Rivera’s work. Tonatiuh prompts readers to think about the question: what would Diego Rivera paint if he were alive today? Through innovative digital collage, Tonatiuh juxtaposes contemporary Mexican life with the past.

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He Forgot To Say Goodbye [2009 Co-Winner]

He Forgot to Say Goodbye                                   Written 
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Book Synopsis:

In this carefully crafted novel, two high school boys develop an unlikely friendship despite their different upbringings. Ramiro Lopez has been raised in the Mexican American working class barrio of El Paso where his brother is lured into the world of drugs, while White Jake Upthegrove has lived in the rich West Side and has a problem managing his anger. Both boys have not known their fathers who abandoned their families early. Ramiro and Jake both come to enjoy and respect the loyal friendship of Alejandra a third strong teenager in this contemporary setting.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz Biographical Information
Benjamin Alire Sáenz was born in Old Picacho just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He studied at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado and at the University of Louvain in Belgium where he was ordained as a Catholic priest. He also studied at the University of Texas at El Paso, and at Stanford University where he was a Wallace E. Stegner fellow in poetry and also pursued his doctoral studies in American Literature. Sáenz is an American Book Award-winning author of poetry and prose for both adults and teens and is currently a professor in the creative writing department at the University of Texas, El Paso. His first young adult novel, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was published in 2004 and won the Américas Book Award, the Patterson Book Prize, the J. Hunt Award, and was even named one of the top ten books of the year by the American Library Association.