People have different memories of their early childhood.
Some remember every detail of their upbringing, while others retain a fuzzy memory. For Manue l Andres Soto, life in South Texas is a clear image.
Soto is the author of Life in a South Texas Colonia, a book about life in South Texas during the mid-1900s.
The book is a recollection of short stories that describe the life of Colonial Tejanos .
With the help of handmade illustrations, the book describes the life of early cotton pickers, field workers, and grain elevator workers.
Descriptions of families coming together over homemade tortillas and enchiladas flow their way into the pages of the book.
On April 8, Soto had a public reading and book signing in Corpus Christi.
Although Soto originally wrote the book for the community of his hometown in Edroy, Texas, he is glad to share his story with people from all walks of life.
“I want to bring awareness of the difficulties of some of these Tejano families growing up in the fields. One is mainly the challenges with finishing school and, up to the 1950’s, blatant discrimination.” Soto said.
Soto also notices big changes have been made since his childhood days.
He explains that, “during the 1950s, very few Tejanos received the opportunity of attending college. Instead, many of them worked in the fields. Now we see a lot of them becoming students and going to universities.”
Currently, Soto works as an Associate Professor of Biology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
When Soto isn’t teaching, he enjoys making acrylic illustrations on wooden planks.
Although art is just one of his hobbies, all of the artwork found in his book was created by Soto himself.
Students attending Odem or Santa Rosa Independent School District have the opportunity of reading Soto’s book.
One of Soto’s former students has even incorporated it into her classroom libraries.
In the process of distributing his book, Soto has received many positive comments from his readers. He describes it as a “satisfying, unexpected outcome.” Soto hopes to continue to influence others, whether it is through his writing, art, or teachings.
Soto’s book is available for purchase at mcmbooks.com, and Amazon.