McAllen ISD teacher Rey Jope has received national recognition for a book he authored.

A math teacher at McAllen ISD's Achieve Early College High School, Jope has published two children's books. His second book, called Feyesper and the Wicked Neighbor, has been named to the list of Distinguished Favorites by New York City Big Book Award.

The lead character’s name blends two cultures together.

“I wanted to honor my parents, especially my mom,” Jope said. “I thought my mom was the epitome of faith and hope. Faith and hope in Spanish is fe y esperanza. If you take away the ‘anza’ at the end of the word, you will get fe y esper. You put them together and you get the name of my protagonist Feyesper.

He published his first book in 2013, called Feyesper and the Rogue Kite.

“It’s a great inspiration for some of the students,” Achieve Early College High Principal Miguel Carmona said. “I’ve already heard students that say ‘well, I come from a poor upbringing also and I can succeed just like Mr. Jope has.’ ”

This award is for Independent authors and publishers plus big and small presses.

“In 2018, we had true worldwide participation in our annual New York City Big Book Award website,” Awards Sponsor Gabrielle Olczak said in a press release. “In our second year, book submissions were impressive as we collected from six continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America; cities such as Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Moscow, New York; and across the United States. Our New York City Big Book Award program just proves great book content can be found anywhere on the globe, whether created from an individual author or a major publishing house. With more than 600 entries, we feel this is just the beginning and we are happy to highlight these authors and books and share their achievements.”

Books are judged on presentation, editorial quality, and audience appeal. Submissions are welcome in more than 100 categories: fiction and nonfiction, children to adult.