2015 Reading Rock Star Authors Austin

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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.

Since 2001, the Texas Book Festival has given nearly 65,000 books to kids at Title I schools in Texas through its Reading Rock Stars program.

On Friday, October 16th, twenty authors from across the country will present their works in our annual Reading Rock Stars Austin program!


Mac Barnett AND Jory JohnMac Barnett

Mac Barnett is a New York Times Bestselling author of many books for children, including Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, which won a 2013 Caldecott Honor and the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Picture Books; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, also illustrated by Jon Klassen; and Battle Bunny, written with Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Matthew Myers. He also writes the Brixton Brothers series of mystery novels. Find Mac at macbarnett.com


Monica BrownMonica Brown

Monica Brown, Ph.D. is the author of many award-winning books for children, including her Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya, Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina, and Waiting for the Biblioburro.  Monica will present her newest children’s book Maya’s Blanket/ La Manta de Maya. Her first chapter book series, starring Lola Levine, will debut in November with Lola Levine is Not Mean! from Little Brown, & Co.


Katheryn Russell-BrownKathryn Russel Brown

Katheryn Russell-Brown is a law professor at the University of Florida. She also directs the Race Center at the University of Florida. She and her husband and their 10-year old twins live in Gainesville, FL. Russell-Brown was born in New York, raised in Oakland, CA, and has also lived in Alabama and Maryland.



Carpenter, Tad - InsertTad Carpenter

Tad Carpenter is a designer, illustrator, author and teacher based in Kansas City, Missouri. Carpenter’s studio, Tad Carpenter Creative’s overall approach to branding, strategy, and design have gained wonderful clients ranging from Target, Macy’s, Rayban, Old Navy, Nick Jr., Conan O’Brien, MTV and Adobe. Tad’s work has appeared in numerous publications and he has written/illustrated over a dozen children’s books in the market today including Sad Santa, Ninja, Ninja Never Stop and the Who’s That? series. Since 2009, Tad has taught Graphic Design at the University of Kansas.


Joe CepedaJoe Cepeda

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Joe Cepeda is the award winning illustrator of more than twenty books for children. His titles include best-selling Mice and Beans written by Pam Munoz Ryan, Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison, Lado a Lado Side by Side by Monica Brown and Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron.



Shane EvansShane Evans

Artist Shane W. Evans has lent his talents to over 30 children’s books. His work has brought him recognition from the White House with his invitation to the Nation Book Festival to showcases on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Evans has worked with Holly Robinson Pete, Shaquille O’Neal, Taye Diggs, Bell Hooks, Deloris Jordan, and Rosilyn Jordan. In 2014 and 2015, Evans created 4 new titles: The Red Pencil with Andrea Davis Pinkney (which was nominated for the NAACP Image award), 28Days with Charles Smith, Lillian’s Right to Vote (that follows a woman 100 years young up the hill to voting rights), and Mixed Me! with Taye Diggs, the follow up to their book Chocolate Me!


Xavier GarzaXavier Garza

Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, author and luche libre aficionado Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. He published his first book, Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys (Arte Publico Press), in 2004. Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask (Cinco Puntos Press) was released in Spring 2005 and quickly became a hit among children and lucha libre fans. Lucha Libre won an Honor Book, Americas Award, and a Starred Review from Críticas Magazine. His book Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel (Cinco Puntos Press) was a 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book.


Lydia GilLydia Gil

Lydia Gil was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico of Cuban parents. She is the author of a bilingual “flip” book for intermediate readers, Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo (Piñata Books, 2014), and a bilingual children’s picture book, Mimi’s Parranda / La Parranda De Mimi (Piñata Books, 2007). She teaches at the University of Denver and writes for EFE, the leading Spanish-language news agency. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.



Nathan Hale is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated, New York Times-bestselling graphic novel series on American history, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. He is the illustrator of the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas, and many others.


Eric LitwinEric Litwin

Eric Litwin is the author of The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House and the first four beloved, bestselling Pete the Cat books. He is also a seasoned children’s performer. He is presenting his newest book The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka Dot Pants.




Nikki Loftin is the author of Wish Girl, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, and Nightingale’s Nest, chosen as the best children’s book in 2014 by the Texas Institute of Letters. She lives and writes just outside Austin, Texas, surrounded by dogs, goats, chickens, and rambunctious boys. www.nikkiloftin.com



Medina, Meg - InsertMeg Medina

Meg Medina is the Pura Belpre Award winning author of several books for young readers, including the highly acclaimed YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass and the picture book, Tía Isa Wants a Car, for which she received an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She lives in Richmond, Virginia. She’s presenting her newest children’s book Mango, Abuela, and Me.


Mora, Pat - InsertPat Mora

A literacy advocate excited about sharing what she calls “bookjoy,” Pat founded Children’s Day, Book Day, El día de los niños, El día de los libros often knows as Día. This year-long commitment promotes creatively linking all children and families to books and establishing annual April Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations across the country. April 2016 will be Día’s 20th Anniversary. Pat’s Book Fiesta captures the Día spirit.

A former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat is a popular national speaker who promotes creativity, inclusivity, and bookjoy. She has three adult children and a sweet Austin granddaughter. Pat is married to anthropology professor Vern Scarborough and lives in Santa Fe, NM.


Stephan PastisStephan Pastis

Stephan Pastis is the creator of the New York Times bestseller Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made and its three sequels, as well as the acclaimed comic strip Pearls Before Swine, which is syndicated in over 700 newspapers. He lives in northern California.



Roni Capin Rivera-AshfordRoni Capin-Rivera Ashford

Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford grew up in Nogales on the Arizona-Mexico border. Born into a pioneering Jewish family with roots in Eastern Europe, Roni embraced the languages, cultures, and people on both sides of the border. Now a retired bilingual educator, her first book, My Nana’s Remedies / Los Remedios de mi Nana, is a classic, a parent’s and teacher’s friend for teaching children traditional values. She will be presenting her newest book My Tata’s Remedies/ Los Remedios de mi Tata.


Rocco, John - InsertJohn Rocco

John Rocco is the illustrator of picture books including Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!, Blackout, and Blizzard, as well as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.




Scanlon, Liz Garton - InsertLiz Scanlon

Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous celebrated picture books, including her latest In the Canyon, an exploration of the Grand Canyon, and All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, which was a New York Times Bestseller and Caldecott Honor book. Her debut novel for young readers, The Great Good Summer, has been recognized with several starred reviews. Scanlon works and lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two daughters and is a frequent and popular presenter at conferences, festivals, and schools across the country.


Bob SheaBob Shea

Bob Shea is the author-illustrator of the Dinosaur vs. series and several other picture books, including Buddy and the Bunnies in: Don’t Play With Your Food! and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. He and his wife, Colleen, run their own graphic design company called Perfectly Nice. When Bob is not out on the road promoting his books, he lives and works in Madison, Connecticut.



Tarpley, Todd - InsertTodd Tarpley

Todd Tarpley is the author of Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!, Ten Tiny Toes and My Grandma is a Ninja.





Don_TateDon Tate

Don Tate is an award-winning author and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans Publishing, April, 2015), written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tate has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, written and illustrated by Tate, will be published in September of 2015. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Tate currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and son.