SUBSCRIBE to receive
our quarterly newsletter
and Festival updates.
Welcome to Reading Rock Stars!
The Texas Book Festival brings books to life for young readers through Reading Rock Stars, a dynamic program in which selected authors from across the country are invited to present their works to students in economically-disadvantaged public schools. At the end of the presentations, each child receives an autographed copy of the book, and a set of books is also given to the school library.
Originally created to serve children in the Austin area, the Reading Rock Stars program is expanding each year. With support from HEB, Brigid Cockrum and family, and other generous individuals, Reading Rock Stars is now serving Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. Want to bring Reading Rock Stars to your school?
Applications are now open to Title I eligible schools in the greater Austin-metro area. Click the link below to download an application for your school:
All applications must be submitted by May 31, 2013. Please send the completed application to Kendall Miller by fax (512) 322-0722 or email email@example.com.
RRS applications are open to Title I eligible schools. Title I eligibility means that at least 50% of children in the school’s population qualify for free or reduced lunches.
For information on applying to Reading Rock Stars or financially supporting the expansion of the program, contact the Texas Book Festival office at (512) 477-4055 or email Kendall Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas Book Festival is proud to announce our Reading Rock Stars authors for the Rio Grande Valley 2013:
Diane Gonzales Bertrand
Upside Down and Backwards, The Empanadas that Abuela Made
A quick glance at the books written by Diane Gonzales Bertrand shows a writer who grabs inspiration from her many roles as daughter, wife, mother, and teacher. Although she has written stories and poems since childhood, it was her decision to study writing in graduate school at Our Lady of the Lake University that created an avenue for publication. As she read and studied literature from international authors, she gained confidence to write about her own Mexican-American heritage. She also discovered Arte Público Press, an independent press that welcomed the style of her familia-friendly novels Sweet Fifteen, Lessons of the Game, and Close to the Heart. To fill in the gaps in quality Latino children’s literature, Diane wrote a short novel for intermediate readers, Alicia”s Treasure, and two award-winning novels for middle school students, Trino”s Choice and Trino”s Time. Several of her published bilingual picture books (Sip, Slurp, Soup, Soup / Caldo, caldo, caldo; Family, Familia; The Last Doll / La última muñeca; Uncle Chente”s Picnic / El picnic de Tío Chente; and The Empanadas that Abuela Made / Las empanadas que hacía la abuela) have earned “Best Bilingual Book” awards from the National Latino Literary Hall of Fame. Her collection of bilingual short fiction, Upside Down and Backwards / De cabeza y al revés, earned Honorable Mention in the Paterson Prize for Young Adults and was a finalist for the Writers’ League of Texas Teddy Book Award for children’s books. Recent books include a children’s biography, Ricardo’s Race / La carrera de Ricardo, and a bilingual book for preschoolers, We Are Cousins / Somos primos. Her short bilingual novel for intermediate readers, The Ruiz Street Kids / Los muchachos de la calle Ruiz (2006), earned a Skipping Stones Award and was a finalist for the Tejas Star Book Award. New titles include A Party for Papa Luis / Una fiesta para Papá Luis and a novel for teens called The F Factor.
Diane is a native of San Antonio, Texas, where she is Writer-in-Residence at St. Mary’s University. Her husband, children, and extended family continue to provide encouragement and inspiration for new stories, poems, and essays.
Sylvia & Aki
Winifred Conkling has been a writer all of her life. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and wrote more than 30 books for adult readers. In 2011 she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults degree from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sylvia & Aki is her first book for children. It received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (2011) and the Tomas Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award (2011). She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three daughters.
Grandma’s Chocolate/El Chocolate de Abuelita
Mara Price is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. She’ll be talking to students during Reading Rock Stars about her bilingual picture book, Grandma’s Chocolate/El chocolate de Abuelita, published by Arte Público Press/Piñata Books. Grandma’s Chocolate received the 2011 International Latino Book Award for Best Bilingual Children’s Picture Book, the 2011 San Diego Book Awards Best Children’s Picture Book, and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Special Recognition. Grandma’s Chocolate is also a Tejas Star Book Award Finalist for 2011-2012. Mara is named among the LatinoStories.com 2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch. She is one of the founders of Los Bloguitos, a Spanish-language blog for children. Originally from Mexico, she now resides in Southern California.
René Saldaña, Jr.
The Lemon Tree Caper: A Mickey Rangel Mystery
René Saldaña Jr. created the popular character of Mickey Rangel, a Latino Encyclopedia Brown, who solves mysteries in The Case of the Pen Gone Missing / El caso de la pluma perdida and the latest bilingual book in the series, The Lemon Tree Caper/ La intriga del limonero: Coleccion Mickey Rangel, detective privado, which he’ll be talking about to students during Reading Rock Stars. He is also the author of A Good Long Way, The Whole Sky Full of Stars, The Jumping Tree, and Finding Our Way: Stories. Saldaña lives in Lubbock, where he teaches in the College of Education at Texas Tech University.
Liz Garton Scanlon
Think Big, All the World
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous celebrated picture books including Noodle & Lou and the Caldecott Honor recipient All the World. Scanlon has written many other books, including A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes. She lives in Austin. Liz is an adjunct professor of creative writing at Austin Community College, and her poetry has been published widely in literary journals. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas. She will present All the World and Think Big to students during Reading Rock Stars this year.
It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
Award-winning author and illustrator, Don Tate has illustrated over 40 books for children. Don received an AAA degree from Des Moines Area Community College and went on to become a publication designer for the Perfection Learning Corporation. He has also been an art director and a graphic artist in a print shop. Don now lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and son and works as the illustrator/graphics reporter for the Austin-American Statesman. Tate has received multiple awards for his illustrations and has been featured at the Texas Book Festival for his work as an illustrator, but he demonstrates his skill as a writer with It Jes’ Happened.
Level Up/Paso de Nivel
Gwendolyn Zepeda was born in Houston, Texas, in 1971, and attended the University of Texas at Austin. Her works has appeared on numerous websites, and she has written and illustrated her award-winning website since 1997. In 2004, Zepeda was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County’s Individual Artist Grant for literature. Her writing was hailed by EFE newswire as having the “potential to transform Latino literature of recent years and rid it of its bad habits and clich és.” Her works include Level Up / Paso de nivel (Piñata Books, 2012), Better with You Here (Grand Central Publishing, 2012), I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón (Piñata Books, 2011), Lone Star Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2010), Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009), Houston, We Have a Problema (Grand Central Publishing, 2009), Growing Up with Tamales / Los tamales de Ana (Piñata Books, 2008), and To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him (Arte Público Press, 2004). She continues to live and work in Houston.