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September 18, 2013
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Inspirational story comes to life on Center's stage

The Center for the Arts presents an inspirational true story for families — promoting reading and self-respect — Tuesday during the stage production of “Tomás and the Library Lady.”

Adapted from the book of the same name written by Pat Mora, the stage production is based on the true story of Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who became the first minority chancellor in the University of California system.

Best for children ages 5 and up, the play is produced by Childsplay, Inc., an all-ages theater group from Tempe, Ariz., that has taken its popular production on a national tour.

Tomás loves stories. As the young son of migrant farm workers, he spends the summer with his family following the crops north from Texas to Iowa, passing long days in the fields listening to his grandfather tell stories and practicing English translations.

Before long, Tomás knows all of Papa Grande’s tales by heart and a chance encounter brings him to the local Carnegie Library.

Once there, he meets a “library lady,” who recognizes his thirst for knowledge and encourages him to read.

His delight in books is equaled by his pride in teaching the librarian Spanish, trading knowledge and respect between generations and cultures. Tomás develops great pride in becoming his family’s new storyteller.

When his family searches through the dump for things to sell, Tomás hunts for old books to add to his own library.

By the end of the summer, Tomás has gained the respect of his family, the guidance of a colorful mentor, and a lifelong love of reading.

The Center for the Arts presents this production at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Tickets are $8 for children and $12 for adults and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384, or online at They are also for sale at BriarPatch Co-op.

The Center is located at 314 W. Main St. in Grass Valley. For more information, go to

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The Union Updated Sep 18, 2013 11:13PM Published Sep 18, 2013 08:38PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.