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Ellen Riojas Clark and Carmen Tafolla author's photo

Dr. Carmen Tafolla grew up in the west side barrios of San Antonio, Texas, west of the matanzas, south of the molinos, and north of la labor de helote. Tafolla is the author of more than fifteen books, including The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans, What Can You Do with a Paleta?, Fiesta Babies and many others, and has been awarded the 2010 Américas Award, the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Book Award (2009 and 2010), two International Latino Book Awards, the 2010 Charlotte Zolotow Award for best children's picture book writing, and the 1999 Art of Peace Award for "writing which contributes to peace, justice, and human understanding." She has performed her one-woman show in London, Madrid, Mexico City, Norway, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and throughout the United States. Dr. Tafolla teaches at the University of Texas-San Antonio, and is blessed with a home where her 92-year-old mother, her activist/scholar husband Dr. Ernesto Bernal, her three children Mari, Israel and Ariana, grandson Anthony, and many primos and friends provide the constant locura sabrosa of a tamalada. Her favorite tamales are a tie between the green corn tamales made from low-fat mozzarella and canola oil by the señora in Flagstaff, or the tamales de helote her tías used to wrap in fresh, green shucks.

Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark, born in San Antonio, is a graduate of Trinity University, UTSA, the University of Texas at Austin, and of many tamaladas. As Professor of Bicultural Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas-San Antonio, she has published over eighty academic articles. Ellen served as Educational Content Director for the Scholastic PBS children's cartoon series Maya and Miguel and claims the title of Abuela Elena on the series. Dr. Clark's contributions to the cultural life of San Antonio have been recognized with the La Prensa Outstanding Women in Action Award, the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame, the Yellow Rose of Texas, and coronation as Queen Huevo for San Anto Cultural Center. She is one of the authors of "Las Dos Abuelas," a San Antonio Express-News column on books and travel. Ellen has been featured in several documentaries -- Huipiles: Fabric of Identity; Latino Leaders, In Search of Racial Justice; Nachos, Tequila and more; and Hollydays, where you can see her every Christmas, making her famous tamales. She and Hector are parents of two engineer daughters and four granddaughters.

Thelma Ortíz-Muraida is an accomplished designer and artist. Ortíz-Muraida created the cover design for The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans and designed the cover and illustrations for Curandera and Sonnets to Human Beings/Sonnete an Menschen (all by Carmen Tafolla). She has also illustrated several articles for National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Saguaro journal. Her latest work in illustration is a children's picture book, Clara and the Curandera, by Monica Brown (Piñata Books, 2011.) Her unique combination of skills enable her to work across a broad range of design media, from print publications and illustration to exhibit and environmental designs. Currently she is teaching art and conducts workshops in repujadothe fine art of metal embossing. Her visual interpretations of typical tablecloths from San Antonio's Mexican kitchens, stylized hojas de tamal, and echoes of corn in its many forms create a unique backdrop and eloquent book design that put a crowning touch on this collaboration of comadres to feed the pueblo.

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