Texas Tech Press Author Receives Major Award

Melodie A. Cuate won first place in the juvenile book category recently in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Western Heritage Awards for her book 'Journey to San Jacinto.' The award will be presented April 11 at the museum in Oklahoma City.

Melodie A. Cuate won first place in the juvenile book category recently in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Western Heritage Awards for her book "Journey to San Jacinto." The award will be presented April 11 at the museum in Oklahoma City.

The Western Heritage Awards were established in 1961 to honor those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West, according to the museum’s Web site.

"I’m thrilled to be the recipient of the Western Heritage Award," Cuate said. "When I shared the good news with my students, there was a noisy buzz of excitement in the classroom, and I was in the middle of it. It’s a privilege to be recognized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for doing what I love to do, writing about Texas history for kids."

The book is the second of an ongoing series published by Texas Tech University Press. Cuate wrote the books as a way to make learning Texas history fun.

"Texas Tech University Press has always sought to engage and enlighten the University’s widest constituency," said Judith Keeling, editor-in-chief. "We couldn’t be happier that the Mr. Barrington adventures are clicking as much with teachers, librarians, and parents as they are with the youngsters Cuate has clearly hooked."

The books focus on Hannah, her brother Nick and her friend Jackie. The adventure starts in "Journey to the Alamo" when Hannah and Jackie enter their Texas history class and meet the new teacher, Mr. Barrington. He brings a strange old trunk into class and assigns the students an unusual project: to become part of history. While searching for inspiration among the books, magazines and other things in the trunk, Hannah, Nick and Jackie are thrown back in time to the Alamo.

"Journey to San Jacinto," the second book in the series, opens with the disappearance of the Mr. Barrington. The students join forces with his niece to discover where he has gone. Miss Barrington, Hannah and Jackie find themselves transported back in time to 1836, traveling with a soldier transporting ammunition for Gen. Sam Houston only days before the Battle of San Jacinto. Nick, too, goes back in time but finds himself separated from the girls as he marches with the Mexican army.

Book three of the series, "Journey to Gonzales," is due out in April. This book lands the three students in the middle of events leading up to the Battle of Gonzales. Cuate is already at work on a fourth book, "Journey to Goliad." She also has created materials for teachers to use in the classroom for both "Journey to the Alamo" and "Journey to San Jacinto" as well as instructions and a pattern to make a Texas History Trunk.

In 2007 Cuate was the winner of the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award from Humanities Texas. The award recognized her teaching and writing. Cuate, who teaches fourth grade gifted and talented students, lives with her husband, Tony, and daughter, Erica, in McAllen.

For more information on the Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk Series, visit the Texas Tech University Press Web site at www.ttup.ttu.edu. For a review copy of the book, contact Barbara Brannon, marketing manager, Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982 or via e-mail at barbara.brannon@ttu.edu.