Ten Tall Texans Critical Context - Essay

Daniel James Kubiak

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Ten Tall Texans succeeds as a biography and a history because of its theme—liberty—and its subjects—ten heroic people. By focusing on the war and the tragedy of the Alamo, the book appeals to young adults who are familiar with these events from film and legend. Reading about the lives of these ten people not only teaches young Texans about their heritage but also encourages a sense of pride and patriotism in all young Americans. For this reason, Ten Tall Texans is useful in Texas and American history studies.

The important selection of four Mexican-Texans’ biographies for this 1967 book recognized the role that Mexicans played in Texas history; the inclusion of minorities in history and biography books was less prevalent in the 1960’s. Young Mexican Americans can remember with pride the contributions made by Zavala, Navarro, Candelaria, and Seguin. The four Mexican-Texans in Kubiak’s work, plus seventeen additional famous Mexican-Texans, are also the subjects of Sammye Munson’s collective biography Our Tejano Heroes (1989). While some noteworthy facts about these figures in Munson’s book were not mentioned in Ten Tall Texans, the Kubiak biographies, with an average length of ten pages, present more information on each individual.

This story of Texas’ past retains its popularity and usefulness because the legacy of the lives of these heroes has not diminished with time. Their deeds continue to inspire young readers.