“Our goal is to increase interest and appreciation for reading and improve success in secondary and postsecondary education through FESTIBA,” Dr. Dahlia Guerra, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and FESTIBA coordinator, said.
The Texas Book Festival for a second time, in collaboration with UTPA and the Region One Education Service Center, will provide six area elementary schools with the opportunity to visit with some of the nation’s premier children’s authors through its Reading Rock Stars program, formerly known as the Author! Author! program. The schools were chosen out of 70 applications from the Rio Grande Valley area.
Authors such as René Saldaña Jr., Carmen Tafolla, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, René Laínez, Lee Merrill Bird, Xavier Garza, and Amada Irma Perez will be meeting with more than 3,500 South Texas children March 25-26. In addition, the authors will discuss their literary works and present each child attending the event with an autographed book. Also, all participating schools will receive a set of books from the authors for their school libraries.
In addition, FESTIBA will partner with RIF to distribute more than 30,000 books to local schools to encourage reading among students in grades pre-k-sixth.
Joining FESTIBA 2008 will be Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) who will host the first ever Congressional Roundtable on Literacy to be held during FESTIBA’s Librarians Day on March 28, a day scheduled for South Texas librarians. Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Solomon Ortiz will join Hinojosa to discuss “Illiteracy in American Schools, Communities and Families.” The roundtable is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Student Union Theater.
In continuing with the theme of encouraging reading and writing, the University’s Distinguished Speaker Series will conclude the year of bringing dynamic speakers to campus with an appearance by leading Chicana playwright and novelist Denise Chávez. Chávez, who will speak March 25, 7:30 p.m. at the Student Union Theater, has written and produced numerous one-act plays since the 1970s; and is best known for her fiction, including “The Last of the Menu Girls,” and “Face of an Angel.”
FESTIBA, which originally started as a three-day event, has expanded to a week to offer the public a variety of events such as concerts, workshops and lectures, exhibits, and a Community Day.
“FESTIBA 2008 will be an exciting event and a unique cultural opportunity for our University and South Texas,” Guerra said.
A major highlight of FESTIBA will be Community Day, March 29, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on the UTPA grounds that will offer families an opportunity to come to campus and enjoy a number of free musical concerts, poetry readings, documentary films, and art and photo exhibits performed and provided by UTPA’s own faculty and students as well as other masters in the field of arts.
Among the events at Community Day are a free concert by Grupo Duelo, an international band with a norteño sound who got its start in Roma, Texas, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the UTPA Quad. Also, one of the top mariachi groups in the country, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernandez, will perform during Community Day at 7:30 p.m. at the Fine Arts Auditorium. An admission fee will be required. In addition to their performance, Mariachi Sol De Mexico will be hosting a workshop for middle and high school mariachi groups in South Texas on March 28 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Fine Arts Complex. Following the workshop, the groups will perform a free mariachi competition concert during Community Day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Fine Arts Auditorium. The winners of the competition will perform with Mariachi Sol de Mexico.
Other FESTIBA 2008 partners include Region One Education Service Center and UTPA GEAR UP, Scholastic Books, The Monitor Newspapers in Education, H-E-B, National Endowment of the Arts, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, IBC Bank, International Women’s Board, and Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education.
For a complete schedule of FESTIBA events visit http://www.coah.utpa.edu/festiba/ or call 956/381-2175.