OneBookAZ spotlights Nogales authors


April 9, 2009 – 12:41 PM




Arizona will be hitting the books this spring, with readers all over the state curling up with the same book.

Since 2002, OneBookAZ has chosen a book each year and then encouraged as many book lovers as possible to join in one massive reading fest. Many communities host public events, too, giving readers the chance to discuss the books and meet the authors.

The Arizona State Library recently announced this year’s title, as well as a schedule of events.

“OneBookAZ is an exciting literacy program that brings communities together through reading,” Sarah Weber, special events coordinator with Arizona State Library, said in a recent press statement.

This year’s chosen book for adult readers is “Capirotada,” a work of nonfiction by Phoenix author Alberto Rios. Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford’s “Hip Hip Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!” has been chosen as the children’s title. Rivera-Ashford is a Tucson-based author.

The books were chosen by the public via an online vote back in September.

“Both of the winning titles feature Arizona people, places and unique culture,” Weber said, “fulfilling the newest goal of the OneBookAZ program: to help Arizonans read their way to the upcoming state centennial in 2012 and to learn more about the state we live in.”

No public events are planned for Rios in Yuma County, but Rivera-Ashford is slated for several local presentations. She will talk to local readers about her book at 1 p.m. Monday at the Wellton Branch Library, 10425 William St.

Later that day at 6 p.m, she will be at Barnes and Noble, 819 W. 32nd St. Rivera-Ashford will complete her visit here with a 10:30 a.m. talk Tuesday at the Heritage Branch Library, 350 S. 3rd Ave.

Through “Capirotada,” Rios shares stories from his childhood in Nogales, Ariz. Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding the author enjoyed as a kid.

“Rios came of age among a mixture of peoples, ideas and traditions, both in his community and his family. His mother is from England, his father from Mexico,” Weber said. “Finely crafted and emotionally powerful without being heavy-handed, this well-balanced narrative recalls the universal experiences of childhood and unique personal reminiscences of the author.”

Rios has also written 10 books of poetry and three collections of short stories. He is a National Book Award finalist and a recipient of the Western Literature Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. He teaches at Arizona State University.

“Hip, Hip Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!” tells how many people celebrate the coming of the monsoon season each year in the Sonoran Desert. The plot is told through the stories of a young boy and his family who introduce the reader to their cultural traditions, plus the “meteorological wonders” of the world.

Rivera-Ashford was born to a pioneering Jewish family and grew up in Nogales, Ariz. She worked as a bilingual preschool and elementary teacher and as a translator for 30 years. She also taught night courses through Pima Extension and earned her librarian’s endorsement at the University of Arizona.

Darin Fenger can be reached at or 539-6860.

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