Weslaco teacher, author lauded for children’s book

Rey Banda and his book, Bean Saves the Day. (Courtesy images)

WESLACO — Beatriz G. Garza Middle School special education inclusion teacher and author Rey Banda won two awards at the New York City Big Book Award for his children’s book “Bean Saves the Day.”

According to a social media statement from the book’s publisher, it won the general Animals/Pets category and the Children’s Picture Book: Softcover Fiction category.

That statement says the book has won a total of 10 awards and may be made into an animated movie or TV series.

“Receiving a Distinguished Favorite from the NYC Big Book Awards was such an honor,” Banda wrote in a news release from Weslaco ISD. “My book received Distinguished Favorite last year and being selected again is very rewarding.”

Banda’s book is about Bean, a special needs cat who manages to overcome his fear of thunderstorms.

The book has won other awards, including the 2021 annual Best Book award from the American Book Fest, the 2021 Latino Book Bronze award, the International Press Award and the Purple Dragon Book award.

All of that success hasn’t been lost on Banda’s seventh grade students, the district’s release said.

“Yes, students know of the award,” Banda wrote. “They were very proud and clapped for me. One student told me, ‘Sir, you’re going to have so many award seals that you won’t be able to see your cover!’”

Banda may soon have more covers to decorate with awards.

“I am currently working on more Bean books,” he said. “My plan is to have a series of books about Bean, which is based on my real life special-needs cat that I rescued back in 2010. In addition, I am working on a stars book; which is about a father that teaches his sons about the stars and planets. That will be based on how my father woke me up early to view Halley’s Comet.”

Banda’s other published works include: “Bean’s New Home,” and “Northopolis: Ryan’s Christmas Dream,” the release said.