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  • Tomas and the Library Lady
  • Written by Pat Mora
    Illustrated by Raul Colon
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375803499
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  • Tomas and the Library Lady
  • Written by Pat Mora
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780679804017
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Tomas and the Library Lady

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A Common Core Exemplar Text by an award-winning author-illustrator team

Tomás is a son of migrant workers. Every summer he and his family follow the crops north from Texas to Iowa, spending long, arduous days in the fields. At night they gather around to hear Grandfather's wonderful stories. But before long, Tomás knows all the stories by heart. "There are more stories in the library,"Papa Grande tells him.  The very next day, Tomás meets the library lady and a whole new world opens up for him. 

Based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system, this inspirational story suggests what libraries--and education--can make possible.  Raul Colón's warm, expressive paintings perfectly interweave the harsh realities of Tomás's life, the joyful imaginings he finds in books, and his special relationships with a wise grandfather and a caring librarian.  

"A gentle text and innovative artwork. . . . While young readers and future librarians will find this an inspiring tale, the end note gives it a real kick: the story is based on an actual migrant worker [Tomás Rivera] who became chancellor of a university--where the library now bears his name."--Publishers Weekly
Pat Mora

About Pat Mora

Pat Mora - Tomas and the Library Lady

Photo © Cynthia Farah

“My life just wouldn’t be my life without books. I wouldn’t be me. The possibility of bringing others bookjoy is a thrill.”—Pat Mora

Pat Mora’s Tomás and the Library Lady is an IRA Teachers’ Choice and a Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection.


An award-winning author of children’s books, poetry, and nonfiction, Pat Mora is committed to bringing together all children with books. She often speaks at conferences, universities, and schools about creative writing, leadership, and multicultural education. She also works with national organizations on Día de los niños/Día de los libros, an April 30th celebration of childhood, books, languages, and cultures.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Pat has received numerous children’s book awards. In 2002 she was honored as a "Literary Light for Children” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library and included in “100 Library Champions” during the Texas Library Association’s Centennial.

Ms. Mora has been the Carruthers Chair, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico; a consultant on U.S.–Mexico youth exchanges; an administrator and museum director at her alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso; and has taught English at all levels. The proud mother of three grown children, she divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area.

For more information on Pat Mora, visit her Web site at www.patmora.com


The World of Sor Juana Inés

“This lovingly produced picture-book biography of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz features a fresh subject and introduces young American audiences to an important figure in Mexico’s literary history.”—The Horn Book Magazine


—A Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award
—An IRA Teachers’ Choice
—A Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection

“A gentle text and innovative artwork depict a pivotal summer in a boy’s life when he and his family leave their Texas home for farmwork in Iowa. . . . Spanish words slip in naturally and unobtrusively throughout Mora’s text as she focuses on the snug library and the books that fire Tomás’ imagination, and on his friendship with the librarian.”—Publishers Weekly


WINNER 1997 Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


• Tomás Rivera was a migrant worker who was encouraged to read
by a librarian in Iowa. He taught the librarian Spanish words and
she opened up a world of adventure through books for him.

• Tomás was the first Mexican American to hold the position of
chancellor at any university of the University of California.

• The University of California at Riverside campus library bears
his name.


• Tomás belongs to a family of migrant workers. Have you ever
moved? Try to imagine what life would be like if you had to keep
moving from place to place. What things would you miss about
your home? What might be difficult about this kind of life?

• Why do you think Tomás’s mouth “felt full of cotton” as he
approached the library for the first time. Share an experience that
you have had when you felt nervous about experiencing something
new. Why do you think books are so important to Tomás? Why are
books an important part of your life?


• Tomás can read and speak in two different languages, English and
Spanish. Create flash cards with a Spanish word on one side and
its English equivalent on the reverse side, and work with a friend
to build a Spanish vocabulary. Start off with words from the book:
tigre: tiger; grande: big; uno: one; libro: book; pájaro: bird;
adios: goodbye.


A Library For Juana: The World Of Sor Juana Inés
HC: 978-0-375-80643-8 • GLB: 978-0-385-90863-5 • Sanish Edition PB: 978-0-440-41765-1

Anne Frank
HC: 978-0-375-83242-0 • GLB: 978-0-375-93242-7

As Good As Anybody:
Martin Luther King Jr. And Abraham Joshua Heschel’s
Amazing March Toward Freedom
HC: 978-0-375-83335-9 • GLB: 978-0-375-93335-6

The Boy On Fairfield Street:
How Ted Geisel Grew Up To Become Dr. Seuss
HC: 978-0-375-82298-8 • GLB: 978-0-375-92298-5

Boys Of Steel: The Creators Of Superman
HC: 978-0-375-83802-6 • GLB: 978-0-375-93802-3

The Champ: The Story Of Muhammad Ali
PB: 978-0-440-41782-8 • HC: 978-0-375-82401-2 • GLB: 978-0-375-92401-9

The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter
GLB: 978-0-375-91568-0

PB: 978-0-679-85617-7 • HC: 978-0-679-81987-5 • GLB: 978-0-679-91987-2

The Fantastic Undersea Life Of Jacques Cousteau
HC: 978-0-375-85573-3 • GLB: 978-0-375-95573-0
Available Spring 2009!

Follow The Dream: The Story Of Christopher Columbus
HC: 978-0-679-80628-8 • GLB: 978-0-679-90628-5

Joan of Arc
HC: 978-0-679-89041-6

Muhammad Ali
HC: 978-0-375-83622-0 • GLB: 978-0-375-93787-3

My Dream Of Martin Luther King
PB: 978-0-517-88577-2

Nothing But Trouble: The Story Of Althea Gibson
HC: 978-0-375-83408-0 • GLB: 978-0-375-93408-7

Only Passing Through: The Story Of Sojourner Truth
PB: 978-0-440-41766-8 • HC: 978-0-679-89186-4 • GLB: 978-0-679-99186-1

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum
HC: 978-0-375-83965-8 • GLB: 978-0-375-93965-5

The Road To Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, And Triumphs
In The Life Of L. Frank Baum
HC: 978-0-375-83216-1 • GLB: 978-0-375-93216-8

Strong Man: The Story Of Charles Atlas
HC: 978-0-375-82940-6 • GLB: 978-0-375-92940-3

They Called Her Molly Pitcher
PB: 978-0-553-11253-5 • HC: 978-0-679-89187-1

Tomás And The Library Lady
PB: 978-0-375-80349-9 • HC: 978-0-679-80401-7
Spanish Edition Pb: 978-0-679-84173-9

Who Was Sandy Koufax?
HC: 978-0-375-83738-8 • GLB: 978-0-375-93738-5
Available Spring 2009!

Woody Guthrie: Poet Of The People
HC: 978-0-375-81113-5

Young Pelé: Soccer’s First Star
HC: 978-0-375-83599-5 • GLB: 978-0-375-93599-2

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