The Pre-K students stood on their toes to reach the window. They peered through the glass trying to catch a glimpse. “There he is!” a child spoke above the whispers and giggles, “There’s my friend, Mr. Bob Shea!”
Sporting unicorn- and goat-horned hats they had made in preparation for for author Bob Shea and his book, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, the children filed into the library for Shea’s presentation. It would be one of three author presentations at Ortega that day.
On October 25, 2013, the Texas Book Festival’s (TBF) Reading Rock Stars outreach program implemented thirteen author visits to six Title I schools in Austin ISD and Del Valle ISD. Following the author presentation, each student was given a brand new, autographed book, purchased by the TBF. The program gifted over 3,300 books to students and supplied each school a set of books to enhance their library collection.
“It’s great being invited to be a Reading Rock Stars author because I get to meet all these kids,” Shea commented after his presentation. “They just love the books and they get super excited. It’s a great opportunity to get some books into the hands of kids who need them.”
Between the Reading Rock Stars program in Austin and the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Book Festival reached over 7,470 students in 2013. Since the program’s inception in 2001, the TBF has donated 52,265 books to kids and provided hundreds of author visits, cultivating student engagement and excitement around reading, writing, and illustrating.