"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 farm work in Iowa. One morning, while his parents pick corn, Tomás visits the imposing town library and meets a kindly librarian who gently coaxes him inside. Throughout the hot days thereafter, she offers Tomás cool drinks of water and adventurous escapes into books; on slow days he teaches her Spanish until it's time to return home to Texas: 'I have a sad word to teach you today. The word is adiós. It means good-bye.' . . . 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 universitywhere the library now bears his name."Publishers Weekly
Tom s and his family are migrant farm workers who travel from Texas to Iowa picking fruits and vegetables. Tom s and his brother, Enrique, listen to their Pap Grande tell stories in the hot afternoons. Soon Tom s knows all the stories, so Pap Grande suggests that Tom s go to the library to learn more stories to tell the family. At first, Tom s is intimidated by the large library, but the friendly librarian coaxes him in with the promise of a cool drink of water. She helps him discover all sorts of books, and Tom s spends his summer afternoons in the library engrossed by the wonderful stories. He takes the books home and reads them to his family in the evenings. This inspiring story is based on the true life of Tom s Rivera, a migrant farm worker who became a writer, professor, and university administrator. He was chancellor of the University of California at Riverside before his death in 1984. Raul Col=n uses beautifully muted colors to illustrate Tomas' wonderful imagination. A heartwarming story for children from all backgrounds.