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Book, Music and Lyrics by José Cruz González
Music Arranged and Performed by Adam Jacobson
Adapted from the book “Tomás and the Library Lady” by Pat Mora

Produced by Childsplay from Tempe, Arizona

About the Company
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Tomás loves stories. As the young son of migrant farm workers, he spends the summer with his family following the crops north from Texas to Iowa, passing long days in the fields listening to his grandfather tell stories. Before long, Tomás knows all of Papa Grande’s tales by heart....


When a chance encounter brings him to the local Carnegie Library, he meets the “Library Lady” who recognizes his thirst for knowledge and encourages him to read. His delight in books is equaled by his pride in teaching Spanish to the Library Lady, trading knowledge and respect between generations and cultures.  By the end of the summer, Tomás has great pride in becoming his family’s new storyteller, the guidance of a colorful mentor, and a lifelong love of reading.


A bilingual musical, based on the beloved book about the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, who became the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system. This inspirational production shows how reading and education -- and self esteem-- can make anything possible.

Best for Grades: K–5th

Audience Size: Medium Venues

Please contact us to watch an archival
full length recording from their home run in 2017.

Curriculum Connections

Curriculum Connections
  • Reading: (4.RF.3) Know and apply phonics and word analysis skills in decoding multisyllabic words in context and out of context

  • 21ST Century Learning: Leadership and Responsibility (K-12) Guide and Lead Others-Inspire others to reach their very best via example and selflessness

  • Social Studies: American History (3.S1.C7.PO2) Describe the experiences (e.g., new language, customs, opportunities, hardships) in immigrants’ lives after settling in the United States.


Outreach and Workshops

Sensory Friendly Performances

This performance is available as a “sensory friendly” or “relaxed” performance if arranged with the company in advance and with specific direction as to what adjustments are necessary for your venue.

Minimum Technical Requirements

Minimum Tech
  • Load in: 4 hours

  • Crew Needs:  4 minimum to load in (carpenters/electricians/sound), 1 crew member to run the show, show crew to strike.

  • Min. Stage Size: 25 feet wide by 25 feet deep by 11 feet high

  • Soft goods: 3 sets of legs and borders, 1 full black US

  • Sound: Sound reinforcement with six (6) available inputs and four (4) minimum outputs, two (2) monitors

  • Lighting: Theatrical Lighting required.  Childsplay will provide the plot and gobos

  • Load out: 1 hour

Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Book, Music and Lyrics by José Cruz González
Music Arranged and Performed by Adam Jacobson

Production Team and Cast information coming soon!

Critical Acclaim

What a fabulous production! I love this story (Tomás and the Library Lady) because I think it's just a wonderful story of our country and the opportunities people have.

—Former First Lady Laura Bush

It’s simple but it’s so genuine and touching to see what the world offers everyone.”

—Chris Curcio, Curtain Up Phoenix

My First Graders’ Responses [to the play] blew me away!! ‘Don’t give up on what you want to learn.’ ‘Don’t let the nightmares stop you.’ ‘Don’t stop reading.’ ‘Stand up for yourself.’ ‘Don’t be scared.’ ‘You can learn Spanish.’ ‘Don’t let anyone stop you.’ ‘Never give up.’ ‘Face your fears.’ ‘Try your best.’ ‘If there is something scary you want to do, try it.’ ‘Believe and have hope.’

—First Grade Elementary School Teacher

Great lesson for perseverance because Tomas grew up to be a successful individual and didn't give up.

—5th Grade Teacher

This is a great play that affirms the culture of our bilingual community, and encourages literacy and acceptance.

—First Grade Teacher

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Critical Acclaim

Company Background

Past Tours: Go, Dog. Go!, The Cat in the Hat, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, and Rock the Presidents

Since 1977, Childsplay has been committed to its mission: “To create theatre so strikingly original in form, content or both that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love, and respect for the medium, thus preserving imagination and wonder, those hallmarks of childhood that are the keys to the future.” 

Childsplay is a resident professional company of adult actors who teach and perform for young audiences and families. The internationally respected theatre company believes that young people deserve to experience theatre of the highest artistic quality. Childsplay has performed for more than 5 million children and adults and has grown to serve an average annual audience of 250,000 children, teachers and families. Childsplay's recent national tours include Tomás and the Library Lady in the 2007-2008 and 2013-2014 seasons, Peter and the Wolf in 2009-2010, Ferdinand the Bull in 2010-2011, Rock the Presidents in 2012 – 2013, 2016-2017, Schoolhouse Rock Live in 2014-2015 and Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat in 2015- 2016, 2016 - 2017. 

In addition to Childsplay’s professional productions,  it’s educational programming has expanded dramatically in response to the needs of school partners. Over 1,500 young people attend classes each year in the Childsplay Theatre Academy and nearly 5,000 students experience drama directly in their classrooms through Childsplay’s Education Outreach programs. These programs emphasize experiential learning, language acquisition and literacy competency – essential precursors to overall academic achievement and long-term success across all subject areas. Childsplay believes that by continuing to create strikingly original theatre and connecting to young people’s learning potential, we can build a generation of creative learners, innovative thinkers and dynamic leaders.

Visit the company's website!

Past Productions

Gallery of Past Productions

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