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Tucson author to publish kids book about Arizona’s first Latino governor

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TUCSON  -  With the demographics in Arizona ever-changing over the last five decades, many may not know that Arizona had a Mexican-born governor in the 1970s.

Now, Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, the author of the children's book for the Disney movie "Coco," is publishing a book on that historic governor.

Gov. Raul Castro would have celebrated his 104th birthday last Friday. This made the recent announcement of a kid's book dedicated to his amazing life nearly picture-perfect.

"I just had a dream and I think, I'm supposed to be writing a children's book about the governor," Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford said. "'Raulito becomes the Governor' was the title of my dream."

That dream became a reality for Rivera-Ashford, who is also the author of Disney's "Coco" book entitled "Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes."

The University of Houston's Arte Público Press will be publishing the bilingual book "Raulito's Journey - First Latino Governor of Arizona/El Primer Gobernador Latino de Arizona."

"It's very much relative to the times that we're going through right now," said Capin-Rivera, "(Castro) suffered discrimination from the time he was born."

Castro was born in Cananea, Sonora -Mexico. He was raised near Douglas, Ariz. in an era in which Latinos, Africa-Americans and Native Americans were segregated in schools.

"He had to walk four miles, one-way, to school every day because he was Mexican," said Rivera-Ashford.

Overcoming odds is a common theme in the book.

Raul Castro sat down and opened up with News 4 Tucson's Paul Cicala back in 2014. He spoke about how after graduating from college and applying for jobs as an educator, his potential employers told him, "We don't hire Mexican's to be school teachers. They wouldn't hire (someone) of Mexican decent to be teachers at that time. That's when I came home and told my mother 'I'm leaving you now, mother', and I became a hobo." 

After that, Castro went on the road to be a professional boxer before finally going to law school and becoming a Pima County attorney and Superior Court judge and eventually Arizona's governor. 

"I was so touched by his story," Rivera-Ashford said.

And soon through her book, the rest of the world will be, too. 

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Other popular kids' books written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford include:

  • My Tata's Remedies - Los Remedios de Mi Tata
  • My Nana's Remedies : Los Remedios de Mi Nana
  • Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes
  • Hip Hip Hooray, It's Monsoon Day!
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Paul Cicala

Paul Cicala is a 2-time winner of the prestigious”Edward R. Murrow Award” for his reporting/anchoring in news & sports. Paul Cicala has also been nominated for multiple EMMY’s. Cicala has won the “Best Sportscaster” category in Tucson the last 3 years (voted on by readers of “Tucson Weekly”). Cicala is a native Tucsonan who specialized in border stories during his earlier career as a news reporter in this market, and now concentrates mainly on sports stories (with an occasional special report and/or feature story on life in Tucson & the Sonoran Desert).

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