Dr. María (Ma.) Alma González Pérez has devoted her life to education and biliteracy. She has advocated for bilingual and dual language education and the use of culturally relevant literature in the classroom throughout her academic career.
Dr. Pérez's children's and juvenile books of poetry, narrative, and non-fiction have been well-received and her writing has been recognized by the Texas Institute of Letters, the International Latino Book Awards, the Skipping Stones Honor Awards for Multicultural Books, the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE) Campoy-Ada Award, and the Purple Dragonfly Award.
Dr. Pérez has over 40 years of experience in the field of education and is a former director for the University of Texas-Pan American - Starr County Campus. Her doctorate is in bilingual education from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Her ongoing research is on the academic achievement of Hispanic students, and on the Spanish influence in the United States. She has presented at numerous education conferences throughout the US.
Born and raised in Ramireño, Texas, a small rural community along the Texas-Mexico border, Dr. Pérez has lived in a truly bilingual, bicultural world. She firmly believes that it is very important for Hispanic children to read more about their culture. She dedicates her books to them with the great desire that they continue to embrace and cherish their culture.
Later in life, she embarked on becoming a Bilingual/Bicultural Teacher. A pioneer in Bilingual Education, Gerónima Garza taught bilingual/bicultural education until her retirement. She is a three-time Bilingual Teacher of the Year. During her lifelong education career, she found herself writing stories that reflected the culture of her students to increase comprehension, and love of learning and celebrate the beauty of their unique culture.
Keenly aware of the lack of books reflecting the beauty of Mexican American culture and history, she wrote her first picture book, GLOVE FOR A LADY, based on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s visit to her school in the 1960s.
She learned imaginative storytelling from her Tío Leon Reyes who entertained the children with stories by the lumbrita (campfire) during visits from Wisconsin. Gerónima used this skill with her students. Now she hopes to share the laughs, cucuys (monsters), and heroes with bilingual readers everywhere.
After graduating from Laredo College, Gabriela studied illustration at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California where she obtained a degree in illustration and animation. Being so far away from home was hard for Gabriela, and she would often crave her grandmother’s fideo soup for comfort. It was during this time that Gabriela was inspired to create Abuela’s Fideo - A Story of a Grandma’s Love.
Gabriela encourages young readers to express themselves through art and writing to embrace their culture through their comfort foods.