LILIA GARCÍA was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. She has always loved working with children and knew she would become a bilingual teacher. She received her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies and was certified as a Bilingual Generalist (EC-4th) at Texas State University-San Marcos (formerly Southwest Texas State University). She taught children at different elementary schools in the Seguin and San Marcos school districts for several years. In 2008, García became an advisor with the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) at Texas State University where she met with GED graduates who were interested in higher education.
García was first inspired to become an author when a composition teacher said she was a good writer, which led her to keep a journal about daily activities, especially related to family. During her senior year of college, she was a work study student for the chair of the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award committee. Though García didn’t know much about the renowned Chicano author and educator or the award named after him, her curiosity led to further research and eventually, motivation to write the story about her own family’s migrant life. She chronicles their experiences in her debut novel for emerging readers, My Migrant Family Story / La historia de mi familia migrante (Piñata Books, 2014).
This is a heartfelt recollection of the life of migrant workers. Every spring, García had to leave school early to go north with her family to pick fruits and vegetables. She was too young to work in the fields with the rest of the family, so her mother and teenage brother enrolled her in the local school. She was the only Spanish-speaking child at Coloma Elementary, and that, combined with the fact that it was late in the school year, made it difficult to make friends and keep up with the work. García’s family worked long, back-breaking hours for a pittance, but they were together and their love for each other pulled them through. She was nine when her father found a full-time job in McAllen and their migrant life came to an end. Staying in one place allowed the kids to focus on school, ensuring that they never had to do that back-breaking work again.
Lilia García works as an advisor and assists non-traditional students with higher education admissions at San Antonio College. She lives in Seguin, Texas.