Under the Mesquite author Guadalupe Garcia McCall thanks the William C. Morris and Pura Belpre award committees that honored her book, along with readers:
Here’s one of my very favorite parts of Guadalupe’s Morris Ceremony speech at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference:
I realized that I had to write not to be published, but to be read. I wanted young people to connect with my book, to have it make an impact on them. I wanted my book to help them.
You see, I have taught many Lupitas in my 23 years in the classroom. I’ve listened to them talk, to me and to each other, but I’ve also read their innermost thoughts, their dreams, their fears, their triumphs, their losses. Sometimes, their stories spill out of them, sometimes they keep their pain tucked away, where no one can see it.
I wrote this story for those young people who can’t talk about it, for those who are struggling alone in the dark. I wanted to show them that they have great strength within them, that the human spirit is resilient, that the loss of a loved one does not mean the end of love, that we carry that love inside, that we can take it with us; it is ours forever.
The full text of Guadalupe’s speech will be posted on the YALSA web site soon, and I’ll link to that as soon as it is. Meanwhile, if you can’t get enough of Under the Mesquite, you can listen to podcasts of Guadalupe reading four poems from the book here.