Reading Rock Stars is headed back to Austin on Friday, October 25! This year, Texas Book Festival will serve seven Austin elementary schools with Reading Rock Stars presentations that bring books to life for children in low-income schools by inviting authors and illustrators into classrooms with entertaining presentations that inspire students to read, write, and create. Reading Rock Stars Austin will feature 23 participating authors and illustrators, all of whom are taking part in the 2019 Festival Weekend, and donate more than 4,685 books to students
With this latest round of Reading Rock Stars, the Texas Book Festival will have coordinated 494 author visits and provided nearly 111,000 books to students in Title I schools across Texas since its inception.
If your school isn’t part of the Reading Rock Stars program, you can still check out all of these authors and their free events throughout the Festival Weekend!
2019 Reading Rock Stars Austin Authors
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, including Rebound, the follow-up to his Newbery medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. Some of his other works include Booked, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game of Life, Swing, and the picture books, Out of Wonder and The Undefeated. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The NCTE/Charlotte Huck Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award.
Tom Angleberger is the New York Times bestselling author of the Origami Yoda series as well as many other books for kids. He lives with his family in Virginia.
Jared Chapman is the author-illustrator of the bestselling Vegetables in Underwear as well as Fruits in Suits and Pirate, Viking & Scientist. He lives in Texas.
Tania de Regil studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City before moving back to her native Mexico City, where she finished her degree. A New Home is her American publishing debut. She lives in Mexico City and travels to the United States frequently.
Julie Fogliano is an author of bestselling children’s books, including A House That Once Was, illustrated by Lane Smith, When Green Becomes Tomatoes, illustrated by Julie Morstad, and And Then It’s Spring and If You Want to See a Whale, both illustrated by Erin E. Stead. She lives in the Hudson Valley in New York.
Andy Griffiths is the bestselling author of the Treehouse series, Killer Koalas From Outer Space, The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow, The Cat on the Mat Is Flat, and The Day My Butt Went Psycho! is at his best in these wild storytelling adventures, perfect for readers of all ages.
Megan Lacera grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, with a book always in her hands. She became a writer and creator of characters and worlds for entertainment companies, and later formed her own creative company with husband Jorge Lacera. After reading many stories to their son, Megan realized that very few books reflected a family like theirs—multicultural, bilingual, funny, and imperfect. She decided to change that by writing her own stories. This is Megan’s original picture book debut. You can learn more about Megan and Studio Lacera at studiolacera.com.
Jorge Lacera was born in Colombia, and grew up in Miami, Florida, drawing in sketchbooks, on napkins, on walls, and anywhere his parents would let him. After graduating with honors from Ringling College of Art and Design, Jorge worked as a visual development and concept artist. As a big fan of pop culture, comics, and zombie movies, Jorge rarely saw Latino kids as the heroes or leads. He is committed to changing that, especially now that he has a son. The family lives in Cypress, Texas. You can find him online at studiolacera.com.
René Colato Laínez came to the United States from El Salvador as a teen, and he writes about his experiences in bilingual children’s books such as “Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá” (Piñata Books, 2004), “I Am René, the Boy / Soy René, el niño” (2005), “René Has Two Last Names / René tiene dos apellidos” (2009) and “My Shoes and I / Mis zapatos y yo” (Piñata Books, 2019). His other books include “Mamá the Alien / Mamá la extraterrestre” (Lee & Low Books, 2016), “The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez” (Tricycle Press, 2010), “From North to South / Del norte al sur” (Children’s Book Press, 2010) and “Playing Lotería / El juego de la lotería” (Luna Rising, 2005). A graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, René is a bilingual elementary teacher at Fernangeles Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Kelly Starling Lyons is the author of the picture books Hope’s Gift, Tea Cakes for Tosh, and Ellen’s Broom, as well as the Jada Jones chapter book series. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including Ebony magazine, the News & Observer, the Christian Science Monitor, and books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter and son.
Juana Medina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She is the illustrator of Smick! by Doreen Cronin and Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese. Juana Medina is also the author-illustrator of 1 Big Salad, Sweet Shapes, and Juana & Lucas, which won the 2017 Pura Belpré Author Award. She currently lives with her family in Mexico.
Meg Medina is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Merci Suárez Changes Gears, which was also a 2018 Kirkus Prize finalist. Her young adult novels include Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which won the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award; Burn Baby Burn, which was long-listed for the National Book Award; and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. She is also the author of picture books Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez, which was a Pura Belpré Author Award Honor Book, and Tía Isa Wants a Car, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Ibtihaj Muhammad is a fencer and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympic Games. She is also the first female Muslim American to medal at the Olympic Games, winning bronze in the women’s saber team event. An activist, speaker, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj has written a memoir, Proud, and inspired the first hijabi Barbie in her likeness.
Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor whose television work includes 30 Rock, Whitney, Web Therapy, Elementary, Friends from College, The Good Wife, The Comeback, The Sopranos, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and more. He is also the voice of Baljeet on the Emmy Award–winning animated series Phineas and Ferb and of Sanjay on Sanjay and Craig. Maulik is the recipient of an Asian American Arts Alliance Award and the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award. In 2014, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. While at the White House, he helped launch an anti-bullying campaign called Act to Change, which he continues to lead today. Maulik lives with his husband in Brooklyn, NY. This is his debut novel.
Isabel Quintero was born and raised by Mexican immigrant parents in Southern California’s Inland Empire. She earned her BA in English and her MA in English Composition at California State University, San Bernardino. Her debut YA novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, won the 2015 Morris Award for Debut YA Fiction and the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.
Christian Robinson Christian Robinson is an acclaimed illustrator of children’s books, including Gaston by Kelly di Puchhio and the New York Times bestseller Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, which won the Newbery Medal as well as a Caldecott Honor. He also illustrated School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, recipient of seven starred reviews and a New York Times Bestseller. He has collaborated with Julie Fogliano on When’s My Birthday? Which received five starred reviews and was named a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book.
Jon Scieszka is best known for his bestselling picture books, including The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man. He is also the founder of guysread.com and a champion force behind guyslisten.com, and was the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. He lives in Brooklyn.
Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books as well as poems for children. Her debut nonfiction picture book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge, 2018), won a Sibert Honor, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and an Orbis Pictus Honor. It also received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness. A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma where her tribe is located. For more about Traci and her other works, visit www.tracisorell.com.
Raina Telgemeier is the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning creator of Smile and Sisters, which are both graphic memoirs based on her childhood. She is also the creator of Drama and Ghosts, and is the adapter and illustrator of four Baby-sitters Club graphic novels. Raina lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. To learn more, visit her online at goRaina.com.
Raúl the Third is the Pura Belpré Award-winning illustrator of the Lowriders in Space series by Cathy Camper. He is currently working on a YA graphic novel with David Bowles. He grew up between El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juárez, México and now lives in Boston, MA with colorist Elaine Bay.
Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende. His books have received many awards over the years. He currently lives in San Miguel with his wife and children but travels to the US often.
Steven Weinberg writes and illustrates kids’ books about dinosaurs, roller coasters, beards, and chainsaws. He lives in the Catskills in New York.