Debut Author’s Novel Soars!

HOUSTON, TX May 2018—Diana J. Noble’s historical novel for teens, Evangelina Takes Flight, was selected for inclusion in the Texas Library Association’s 2018-2019 Spirit of Texas Reading List. The Spirit of Texas Reading Program-Middle School is a recommended reading list developed by public and school librarians from the TLA’s Young Adult Round Table (YART). The purpose of the list is to encourage kids in grades 6-8 to explore a variety of current, quality books from Texas authors and illustrators, develop critical reading skills and to encourage greater interaction between Texas authors and illustrators, Texas librarians and Texas youth.

Named a Junior Library Guild Selection, Diana J. Noble’s moving young adult debut introduces teens to the tumultuous times of the Mexican Revolution and the experiences of immigrants, especially Mexican Americans, as they adjust to a new way of life. In the summer of 1911, thirteen-year-old Evangelina and her family are forced to leave their home in northern Mexico to avoid the violence of the revolution. The trip north to a small town on the US side of the border is filled with fear and anxiety as they worry about loved ones left behind and the uncertain future ahead. Life in Texas is confusing, though the signs in shop windows that say “No Mexicans” and some people’s reactions to them are all-too clear. Why can’t people understand that—even though she’s only starting to learn English—she’s just like them? With the help and encouragement of the town’s doctor and the attentions of a handsome boy, Evangelina begins to imagine a new future for herself.

Evangelina Takes Flight is also the recipient of the following awards:

  • 2018 Tejas Foco YA Fiction Award from the National Association for Chicana/o Studies
  • 2017 June Franklin Naylor Award for the Best Book for Children on Texas History from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas
  • Named Runner-up for the Texas Institute of Letters’ 2018 H-E-B Award for Best Young Adult Book

It has also received rave reviews:

  • “Using the first person with Spanish sprinkled throughout, Noble propels the novel with vivid imagery and lovely prose, successfully guiding readers behind an immigrant family’s lens. Loosely based on Noble’s own grandmother’s story, this debut hits awfully close to home in the current anti-immigrant political climate.”—Kirkus Reviews
  • “Written in Evangelina’s conscientious voice and containing parallels to some of today’s current events, this hopeful, yet sometimes heartbreaking, novel is a fast and important read.”—Booklist
  • “Honest in its exploration of xenophobia, and timely in its empathetic portrayal of a refugee family, Evangelina Takes Flight is a vibrant and appealing historical novel.”—Foreword Reviews

A native of Laredo, Texas, DIANA J. NOBLE is a human resources specialist for the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington.  Based on the life of her paternal grandmother and stories of her own childhood, Evangelina Takes Flight is her first published book.