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Fronteras: Bilingual Children’s Book Explores Castro Twins Humble Beginnings To Political Rise

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Monica Brown is an award-winning children's book author and a professor of Latinx and African American literature at Northern Arizona University. | Credit: Jake Hoyungowa
Jake Hoyungowa
Monica Brown is an award-winning children's book author and a professor of Latinx and African American literature at Northern Arizona University.

In 2012, then-Texas State Rep. Joaquin Castro introduced his brother, then-San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, at the 2012 Democratic Convention.

The political careers of the twin brothers soared quickly after those speeches. Joaquin was elected to Congress in 2013, and Julián was appointed Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

Their rise in political activism is widely known and caught the attention of award-winning children’s book author Monica Brown.

“I thought that Julián, Joaquin, their mother, Rosie Castro, and their whole family and journey were a story that would inspire children, that would motivate children, that would help them dream without limits,” said Brown.

Her new bilingual book, “Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro,” chronicles the twins’ upbringing with their grandmother, Victoriana, and mother, Rosie.

Victoriana immigrated to San Antonio from Mexico as a 7-year-old orphan. She eventually raised the twins’ mother, Rosie, on San Antonio’s West Side who became involved in political activism at an early age. Rosie was the first Chicana to run for San Antonio City Council in 1971 and was a leader in social and political issues impacting the barrios she and her family called home.

Brown pays homage to the influence Rosie and Victoriana had on the twins and the support system that served their success. This matriarchal appreciation is one Brown admires about the Castro twins, who often attribute much of their success to the women who raised them.

“In fact, when Julián Castro was elected mayor of San Antonio, he brought his mother's old campaign poster when she ran for office into his office and hung it up,” said Brown. “He didn't forget the origins of his commitment to public service.”

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren