Reading Rock Stars in the Rio Grande Valley was a huge success this year. In one school, children made puppets of rabbits and coyotes (Duncan Tonatiuh’s Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote). In another, halls were decorated with children’s art and writing projects tied to the authors’ books, brightly displaying everything from photos of 4th and 5th graders cracking cascarones over their heads (Diana Lopez’s Confetti Girl) to construction paper animals inspired by Oaxacan wood animal sculptures (Cynthia Weill’s Opuestos).
With generous support from major sponsor Target, we gave 4,000 books to kids at six schools in the Edinburg, McAllen, and Mission districts. Our featured Reading Rock Stars authors were Diane Gonzales Bertrand, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Diana Lopez, René Saldaña, Jr., Carmen Tafolla, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Cynthia Weill.
Since 2001, the Texas book Festival has given more than 52,000 books to kids at Title I schools in Texas through its Reading Rock Stars Program. For many children, it is the first book they have ever owned.With help from community partner the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), Reading Rock Stars in the Rio Grande Valley is held during FESTIBA, UTPA’s annual Festival of International Books and Arts.
“The festival does not send authors to speak to the children of privilege, rather to the children of hope—all from Title 1 schools. And the event is about more than just one day—it is about the lead-up to the event. Committed teachers and librarians build excitement in the students through creative activities, art and writing projects, guiding them to find their own voices and put their dreams into words. Since 2001, the Texas book Festival has given more than 52,000 books to kids at Title I schools in Texas through its Reading Rock Stars Program. For many children, it is the first book they have ever owned,” says Monica Brown, past Reading Rock Stars author.