Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid
Xavier Garza is an author, artist, storyteller and teacher whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small Rio Grande Valley border town of Rio Grande City. Garza has stated that all of his books are based, one way or another, on childhood memories. He recalls his abuela (grandmother) telling him stories while she made tortillas around the stove and has held on to these cultural memories that serve as inspiration for his work as an author and an artist. In 2009, Special Collections acquired a collection of materials from Garza, including typescript manuscripts, pencil and ink sketches, acrylic paintings and newspaper and magazine articles.
For the upcoming holidays, Special Collections would like to highlight Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid. From a 2008 interview Garza explains that “Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid is basically the story of Santa’s Mexican cousin. He is helped by his nephew Vincent to deliver presents to each and every child that lives on both sides of the US/Mexico border.”
The publisher, Cinco Punto Press, describes the book as follows:
Let’s welcome Santa’s newest helper: his cousin Pancho, a farmer living down in South Texas who is so smart he speaks Spanish and English. Back in the day, Pancho was a mariachi singer with a whole lot of style and a fancy sombrero. But as the years passed, Pancho got, well, a little older and a little wider all around. Then one night his primo Santa Claus showed up. Santa needed some help! Pancho volunteered. And then, poof, Santa transformed Pancho into the resplendent Charro Claus with his incredibly Flying Burritos. And Charro Claus, it turns out, even had his own surprise elf—his nephew Vincent!
All Christmas Eve, Vincent and Pancho deliver toys to the boys and girls on the border. Neither rain, cloudy skies, wire fences nor concrete walls keep them from covering every inch of their newly assigned territory. And they don’t forget a single town or city. How could they? The border is their home.
The process to create and publish Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid took about two years to complete. Garza spent about 10 months developing the story together with Lee Byrd at Cinco Puntos Press and then another 7 months to get all the illustrations pulled together. The materials donated to UTSA include quite a few early sketches and illustrations from the book – take a look:
- Cinco Punto Press: http://www.cincopuntos.com/products_detail.sstg?id=144
- Interview with Author/Illustrator Xavier Garza. La Bloga. http://labloga.blogspot.com/2008/12/interview-with-authorillustrator-xavier.html
- Interview with Author Xavier Garza. Worlds of Words: http://wowlit.org/blog/2009/11/02/interview-with-author-xavier-garza/
- Xavier Garza – Artist-Author-Storyteller in Residence at UTPA Library June 29-30. Bronc Notes UTPA: http://www.utpa.edu/broncnotes/bulletin.cfm?ID=6727