Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, XAVIER GARZA is a prolific author, artist and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. He graduated from the University of Texas – Pan American in 1994 with a BFA.
His first publication was Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys (Piñata Books, 2004), a collection of short stories for intermediate readers based on traditional tales of the supernatural. He wrote and illustrated his first picture book for children, Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask: A Bilingual Cuento (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005), which was named an Américas Award Honor Book. He has since written and illustrated two more picture books for children: Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid (Cinco Puntos Press, 2008) and Zulema and the Witch Owl / Zulema y la Bruja Lechuza (Piñata Books, 2009). His entertaining bilingual picture book for children, Juan and the Chupacabras / Juan y el Chupacabras (Piñata Books, 2006), won the 2008 Tejas Star Award. In 2010, Garza’s first bilingual short story collection, Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories / Kid Ciclón se enfrenta a El Diablo y otras historias, was published by Piñata Books. His book for kids, Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), was named a Pura Belpré Honor Book and an ALA 2012 Notable Children’s Book. Its sequel, Maximilian and the Bingo Rematch (Cinco Puntos Press, 2013), has won the Texas Institute of Letters H-E-B Award for Best Children’s Book and the 2014 NACCS-Tejas Foco Young Adult Fiction Book Award. It was also selected to be on the 2014-2015 Tejas Star Reading List. His most recent books include a bilingual collection of short stories called The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos (Piñata Books, 2015) and a bilingual novel, Rooster Joe and the Bully / El Gallo Joe y el abusón (Piñata Books, 2016).
He has exhibited his artwork in various venues throughout Texas. Xavier Garza and his Masked Marvels collection was featured in the book Contemporary Chicana / Chicano Art: Works, Culture and Education produced by Bilingual Review Press, which chronicled 200 of the top, and up-and-coming, Chicano artists in the country.
Xavier Garza’s stories and illustrations have appeared in such magazines and newspapers as El Mañana, The Monitor, TABE, The Mesquite Review, The Corpus Christi Caller Times, and The Milwaukee Spanish Journal. He has been included in the anthologies Aztlanahuac Project: Cantos al Sexto Sol (Wings Press, 2002), Penn English: Chicano Writings (Penn State, 2001) and Once Upon a Cuento (Curbstone Press, 2003).
Xavier Garza lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his family.
Click here to listen to an interview with Xavier Garza about Just One Itsy Bitsy Little Bite / Sólo una mordidita chiquitita and Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Chupacabras / Vincent Ventura y el misterio del chupacabras.