2019 Reading Rock Stars Returns to the Rio Grande Valley

We’re bringing Reading Rock Stars back to the Rio Grande Valley for the eleventh year! The TBF crew, along with nine nationally recognized children’s authors and illustrators, will visit six Title I elementary schools in Mission, Edinburg, Donna, and Weslaco, Texas. After the authors present, they’ll help us hand each student their very own autographed book to take home, as well as a set of all books for the school library—a total of 3,140 books! Our 2019 Reading Rock Stars Rio Grande Valley program is made possible by our generous sponsors: H-E-B: Tournament of Champions and the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. We’re so grateful for their support!

Get to know our 2019 Reading Rock Stars – RGV authors here, and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to see highlights from our school visits!

**

Cecilia Ruiz is an illustrator and graphic designer living and working in New York. She is the author of The Book of Memory Gaps, and obtained a BFA in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a MFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

 

Jennifer Torres lives with her family in California’s Central Valley, and write stories. She used to work as a newspaper reporter, writing stories about real people, whose lives told us something about our world and maybe about ourselves. Now, she writes books for young readers — books with make-believe characters whose stories, she hopes, are just as full of life and truth as the real ones.

 

Jon Sciezka is an American children’s writer, best known for picture books created with the illustrator Lane Smith. He is also a nationally recognized reading advocate, and the founder of Guys Read – a web-based literacy program for boys whose mission is “to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.” Scieszka was the first U.S. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed by the Librarian of Congress for calendar years 2008 and 2009. His Time Warp Trio series, which teaches kids history, has been adapted into a television show.

 

Julissa Arce is a CNBC and Crooked media contributor, writer, speaker, and social justice advocate. She is the cofounder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program that assists immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and for College Spring. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

 

Marcus Emerson is the author of the hit Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja series and the Secret Agent 6th Grader series. His career started in 2nd grade when he discovered Garfield. He grew up playing Super Mario Bros. 4, watching Thundercats, and reading comics like X-Men, Superman, and Wildcats. He lives in Eldridge, Iowa with his wife and children.

 

Peter Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of many books for children, including The Dot, Ish, and Happy Dreamer. His books have been translated into over twenty-five languages around the globe and are celebrated worldwide. In 1996, he founded FableVision with his brother, Paul, as a social change agency to help create “stories that matter, stories that move.” He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with his family. www.peterhreynolds.com

 

Rafael López uses his hands and imagination to create award-winning children’s books and murals around the world. He has been awarded the Pura Belpré medal from the American Library Association two times, for Drum Dream Girl and Book Fiesta. Born and raised in Mexico City to architect parents, Rafael grew up immersed in the rich visual heritage, vivid color, music, and surrealism of his native culture. He enjoys working hand in hand with children, librarians, and teachers to paint community-based murals in neighborhoods. Rafael divides his time and collects ideas in his studios in colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and downtown San Diego, California, where he lives with his wife and son. Visit Rafael López at rafaellopez.com.

Steven Weinberg loves to draw and write. He is the author and illustrator of Fred and the Lumberjack, Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg!, You Must Be This Tall, and the illustrator of Beard Boy. He lives in the Catskills, where this book takes place. Steven’s books have been called “thrillingly shameless” by the NY Times, “guaranteed to fuel read-aloud energy” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “the best thing to ever happen to me”, by one very sweet first grader in Washington, DC. Steven lives with his wife Casey Scieszka, his dog Waldo, and bed and bar called the Spruceton Inn that they run together in the backyard. Learn more at StevenWeinbergStudio.com.

 

Tony Piedra has been searching for adventure since he could hold a crayon. He has swum with sharks, met wild bears, and sailed to the moon (all without letting go of that same crayon). In between these adventures, he worked at Pixar Animation Studios building 3D worlds for movies like Coco, Up, and Inside Out. The Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) awarded him a Portfolio Showcase Honor in 2014. He lives with his family in Los Angeles. Visit him online at tonypiedrastudio.com.

 

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter to Books

It’s no secret that one of our greatest loves here at TBF is reading books and then happily telling everyone we can about those books. Thus, on this day honoring love, the TBF crew is here to share the books we’re crushing on right now—after all, love is best when you share it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy reading!

Lois:  Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

This novel grabbed my heart from its opening pages where first-person narrator Benjy describes a hand-holding roller skating experience so vividly that I was simultaneously laughing out loud and reliving the excruciating self-consciousness of being an adolescent. (GenX alert: this is a trip back to the 80’s you’ll want to take). If the only book by Whitehead you’ve read is The Underground Railroad (which if you haven’t, you should right away), you need to read Sag Harbor to experience another dimension of Whitehead’s writerly brilliance as he engages the complexities of race, class and identity in America. Unapologetically nostalgic and truly hilarious and poignant, the novel covers several memorable episodes of Benjy’s summers in Sag Harbor, a historically black beach community on Long Island. Whitehead is a master across genres and I’m working my way through his whole body of work (up next for me: his zombie book, Zone One) and hope other TBF readers will join me!

Lydia: How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
This February, there is no book I’d rather write a love letter to than N.K. Jemisin’s astonishing, lovely collection of stories, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?. This collection of twenty-two stories (gifted to me by my own favorite valentine), is the first from this triple Hugo Award-winning author, and contains new, unpublished stories alongside those previously published. Like her groundbreaking novels, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? is a perfect showcase of Jemisin’s range, imagination, and emotional command. Her stories are by turns delightful and brutal, as filled with joy and whimsy as with sorrow and unflinching honesty in her depictions of all-too-familiar problems in worlds that are like, but not quite our own. The future is here now—let’s rise to join it.

Claire: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
I read Like Water for Chocolate many, many years ago, and just thinking about it conjures visceral memories of onions that make you cry, mole sauce rich with chocolate, and a mortar full of rose petals. Author Laura Esquivel captures the consuming desire of forbidden love, so interwoven with family and tradition, bodies, and, of course, food. Set on a ranch in Mexico near the border at the turn of the twentieth century, the passion in this novel is tragic and enduring.

Lea: Intercepted by Alexa Martin
The end of football season always makes me feel blue. (And as an Ohio State fan I do not like to feel blue). This was a particularly hard end of the season as a die-hard Saints fan. I wanted football but not the pain of the loss and I luckily recently picked up Intercepted by Alexa Martin. It was such a joy to hang out with her main character Marlee as she handles life as a football girlfriend while finding herself. A fun, joyful read that not only reminded me why I love football but why I love romance novels. I can’t wait for Martin’s next book, Fumbled and of course football season. (203 days to go!)

Julie: Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Terry Bryant
My favorite date spot is the kitchen, slicing and simmering a great, big, aromatic meal to eat by candlelight. The best go-to cookbook for date night is Terry Bryant’s Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed. His recipe for Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens impresses every time (and I’ve found his method for baking tofu versatile and useful in other dishes, as well). The bonus in this book is that Bryant includes a suggested soundtrack with every recipe, so you and your valentine can delight each other with your apron-and-spatula dance moves while you cook up a meal to remember.

Maris: Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken
Bowlaway might not be your traditional love story, but within its sweeping plot it contains several small, magical moments between characters. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to read about your great-grandparents falling in love, and also your grandparents, and the ensuing branches of the family tree, then this is the book for you. Furthermore, McCracken presents each character with such care and intention that it feels like an extra layer of love, one the author has for both the characters themselves and for her craft.

Nicole: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy is a memoir that follows the author as she accepts herself and her life as she deals with depression and other conditions. While it deals with real issues, it’s the humor Lawson finds in every situation that colors the stories with joy. This book helped me really understand self-love and what it means to be happy, starting with myself.

Celebrate Black Literature: Evelyn Palfrey’s recommended reads

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival recognizes Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current books the reader has loved aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow canon of black literature.

You can view all installments in this series here.

Today’s list of recommended books, which spans several genres, comes from Texas author Evelyn Palfrey, who is the author of five romance novels—Three Perfect MenThe Price of PassionDangerous DilemmasEverything In Its Place and Going Homeas well as essays in two Chicken Soup releases. Evelyn is also an avid gardener and motorhomer.

**

I write romantic suspense for the ‘marvelously mature.’ That’s folk with a little gray at the temple, and a little fullness in places that used to be flat. But I always was, and remain, an inveterate reader. Although I write romance for the love of happy endings, I read all over the place. I LOVE sci-fi, and wish I could write it. I have read so many wonderful books, by so many accomplished writers, that it is incredibly hard to narrow down to a few, but here goes.

Night Song – Beverly Jenkins

This was the first historical romance I read with an African-American hero/heroine. A Buffalo soldier courts a school marm. Ms. Jenkins went on to publish quite a few historical romances, as well as some contemporaries–and I have read them all. What I love about her historical novels is that they provide thoroughly-researched details of the era of human enslavement in America, and told from the perspective of enslaved people and freed people.

Kindred – Octavia Butler

Consummate and much-awarded sci-fi writer. I have enjoyed all of her books, but this one is my favorite. A modern African-American woman is abruptly transported from her Los Angeles home to the Antebellum South to save a White boy—over and over. She couldn’t predict it, nor affect it. I marveled at how careful she had to be because whatever she was touching when transported–including her husband–would go with her.

After – Marita Golden

After working in the criminal justice system for years, and watching coverage of so many police shootings of unarmed Black men, I thought I knew this story. Was I in for a surprise. Assumptions turned on their heads.

Before I Forget – Leonard Pitts, Jr.

This, his first novel, was released at the same time that my family was embarking on a journey with a loved one suffering from early onset Alzheimers. I had enjoyed his newspaper columns for years, so naturally I was drawn to the novel. It realistically deals with three generations of Black men, their relationships to each other as fathers and sons, and to the women in their lives, against the backdrop of social and economic issues of their times.

In Search of Satisfaction – J. California Cooper

I just picked this title, but all of her books have left me hungry for more.

Celebrate Black Literature: Doreen Boyd’s recommendations

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival recognizes Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current books the reader has loved aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow canon of black literature.

Today’s fantastic list of recommended titles comes from Doreen Boyd, the managing librarian at Austin Public Library’s historic Carver Branch and member of Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society.

Check out the rest of our Celebrate Black Literature blog posts here!

The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a beautifully crafted piece of art. The poetry flows very well with the author sharing stories of her Dominican life in Harlem through poetry. Acevedo’s poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book’s end. The Poet X has also won multiple prestigious awards, including the Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

God Help the Child – Toni Morrison

I recommend this book as a must read. Toni Morrison captures the essences of the dark-skinned young lady that doesn’t understand or recognize her beauty. Having a mother whom despises her skin color and a father that is totally out the picture, she manages to use her beauty to get the things she wants in life except the love of her mom. As the story unfolds, she will take you through her journey to find that love that she wanted all along.

Brown Girl in the Ring – Nalo Hopkinson

I recommend this book for those that love the Speculative Fiction genre. This is a futuristic novel that takes place in Canada. Nalo Hoppkins has interwoven her native Jamaican roots and folk tales into this story of love and honor. It’s amazing what one will do to save the ancestors.   

Lot: Stories – Bryan Washington

I recommend this book because of the storyline of a young biracial young man with a Black mother and a Latino father coming of age in the city of Houston. The story centers around growing up, fighting with his older brother, and missing his older sister. During this difficult time, he learns the meaning of trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms.    

Celebrate Black Literature: Peggy Terry’s Picks

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival is recognizing Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current book loves aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow  canon of black literature.

Today’s fantastic list of recommended titles comes from Peggy Terry—an Austinite, lifelong avid reader, and one TBF’s Community Ambassadors.

In addition to her work in human resources, Terry is an integral part of many community organizations: she’s been a Texas Book Festival volunteer since 2014 and has been active with the Austin African American Book Festival since its start in 2007. She is also a founding member of Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society in 1993 and has been the co-chair “for over a decade (or two).”

 

Classics:

Kindred – Octavia Butler

Many who have not cared for sci fi loved Kindred, and it occupies spaces on many high school and college reading lists as well as an option for many community wide reading programs.

Not Without Laughter – Langston Hughes

Hughes debut work that is just as timely/relevant as it was in 1930.

Current:

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Very entertaining read.  I learned more about Michelle and Barack Obama.  I have suggested this book to two ministers to consider for use with pre-marital counseling sessions.

Future:

Lives Laid Away – Stephen Mack Jones

The August Snow series is based in Detroit.  Snow is a wrongfully discharged police officer. After receiving a multi-million dollar settlement from the City, Snow took off for a year.  He returned to his parents’ home and is now rebuilding his life and his immediate neighborhood.  This time he is investigating the death of an undocumented immigrant.  I am most looking forward to the cast of characters that surround Snow.  Many are thoughtful, funny and the kind of folks you want to invite over.

The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II – Leonard Pitts

While most know Pitts as a syndicated columnist (Sundays in the American Statesman), THE LAST THING YOU SURRENDER is Pitts’ 4th work of fiction.  This story follows three characters from the Jim Crow South as they face the challenges World War II ignites in the U. S.  2/5/19 release date.

 

Finding My Voice: My Journey to the White House and the Path Forward – Valerie Jarrett

Who knew that a relationship that began in 1991 would lead to 8 years in the White House.  4/2/19 release date.

 

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

Gates covers the time after the Civil War through the end of the Second World War to explore what should have been a new birth of freedom for African Americans—but instead brought forth a time of organized resistance.  4/2/19 release date.

 

The Deep – Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Novel was inspired by by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The plot is about  water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future.  Should be interesting.  6/4/19 release date.

 

Hot Comb Cover ImageHot Comb – Ebony Flowers

Flowers is a cartoonist.  Through her art work and storytelling, Flowers sheds light on getting that first relaxer, being “tender headed,” and being the only Black player on a team and people wanting to touch your hair.  Flowers also recreates magazines ads that were used to advertise hair relaxers. 5/4/19 release date.

 

Shuri: The Search for Black Panther – Nnedi Okorafor, Author; Leonardo Romero, Artist

The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one—and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own.  5/7/19 release date

 

Celebrate Black Literature: Nicky Drayden’s picks

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival is recognizing Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current book loves aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow  canon of black literature.

Today’s recommendations come from Science Fiction/Fantasy author Nicky Drayden, an Austinite and previous Texas Book Festival author and moderator.

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel THE PREY OF GODS is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks. See more of her work on her website, or catch her on twitter.

 

Drayden’s third novel, Escaping Exodus, will be published in October this year, and is available for pre-order now! 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – Harriet Jacobs

This memoir by Harriet Jacobs chronicles her life as a slave as she attempts to free herself and her children from her abusive and predatory master. Desperate and out of options, Harriet spends seven years hiding in a coffin-sized attic in the shed behind her grandmother’s home. This captivating narrative is a two hundred-year-old open wound that should be required reading for every American.

After the Flare – Deji Bryce Olukotun

A massive solar flare knocks out most of the world’s technology, except for a narrow band around the equator. Nigeria’s fledgling space agency is the only one left functioning and must get up and running in time to save an astronaut stranded in orbit. In book two of his Nigerians in Space series, Olukotun weaves together a punchy and mind-bending tale, blending science fiction, mystery, and magic.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? – N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is one of my literary heroes, and I just about fell out of my chair when I was asked to blurb this book. Jemisin’s creative genius is packed into this collection of poignant short stories, each examining how heroism is birthed in the margins of society. It features cities that breathe and come to life, kings that eat dragon hearts, and many more stunning stories that will immerse you in worlds both eerie and complex.

Introducing: Real Reads 2019

We’re excited to introduce our new Real Reads literacy program, which we’re expanding to Dallas this week! Modeled on our long-running Reading Rock Stars program, Real Reads aims to inspire the love of reading in Texas middle and high school students from underserved groups.

The program gives space for Real Reads students to read and talk about books that speak to challenges affecting their lives, whether it’s discrimination, mental health, family relations, or identity. With the help of the schools’ teachers and mentors, we guide the conversation to focus on their experiences as students and teens in 2019 and help prepare what they will share with the author in their private session. The author session not only focuses on writing craft and storytelling, but also gives students a forum to share their concerns and triumphs, and the opportunity to hear the author’s personal story of overcoming their own struggles.

“Just as with Reading Rock Stars, Real Reads is more than a presentation or school visit. It’s a student-led close read of a current, relevant book, and a focused, personal conversation with an author.”

—Lea Bogner, TBF Outreach Manager

Author Nic Stone with a group of Real Reads students

In 2017, we held our pilot Real Reads events at the Texas Book Festival with 150 Austin high schoolers, who read and responded to Angie Thomas’s bestselling novel The Hate U Give, followed by a special session with the author. At the 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival, award-winning author Jason Reynolds presenting his novel Long Way Down to 75 students. In 2018, we saw the program grow, as bestselling author Nic Stone met with 125 Real Reads students at the Texas Teen Book Festival to discuss her book Dear Martin, and award-winning author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson presented Harbor Me to 300 Real Reads students at the Texas Book Festival.

Now, with generous funding from the AT&T Foundation, we’re looking forward to our first Real Reads program in Dallas/Fort Worth with bestselling author Erika Sanchez presenting her novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. We can’t wait to see this program grow and expand to reach and inspire even more young Texas readers!

Celebrate Black Literature with TBF!

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival is recognizing Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current book loves aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow  canon of black literature.

Read Peggy Terry’s classic, current, and forthcoming picks

Nicky Drayden recommends books on both Black History and Black Future

Doreen Boyd introduces five of her favorites, from classics to brand-new

Evelyn Palfrey shares five books she loves, from romance to sci-fi to nonfiction.

2019 Reading Rock Stars – Dallas/ Fort Worth

We’re excited to return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area with our Reading Rock Stars program for the third year! We’re bringing eight celebrated children’s authors and illustrators to four Title I elementary schools, where we will give each student their very own autographed book, as well as a set of all books for the school library—a total of 1,930 books! Our 2019 Reading Rock Stars Houston program is made possible by our generous sponsors: H-E-B: Tournament of Champions, M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation, Central Market, Ruth and Steven Hodge, The Miles Foundation, The Ryan Foundation, and The Sid W. Richardson Foundation. We’re so grateful for their support!

Get to know these fantastic authors here, and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to see highlights from our school visits!

T.R. is a children’s book author. Her novel, Zora and Me, co-written with Victoria Bond, won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent and was nominated for an Edgar Award in the category of Juvenile Fiction. She holds an M.A. in cultural anthropology and is an adjunct lecturer at the City University of New York Publishing Certificate Program where she teaches a course on children’s book publishing.  She and her husband live in Westchester County, New York with their daughter, and very cuddly dog.
T.R. Simon is presenting her novel Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground in Dallas and in Fort Worth

Raúl Gonzalez / Raul The Third was born in El Paso, Texas. His father was from that town while his mother was from the neighboring Mexican city of Juárez. Raúl spent his childhood in both cities. In addition to his extensive work as a painter (which has been exhibited in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles), Raúl is a comic book and graphic novel illustrator. He works on the SpongeBob Squarepants comic, among other titles. In 2019, Kwame Alexander’s new imprint Versify will launch a series of bilingual children’s books written and illustrated by Raúl. Raúl resides with his wife and son in Medford, Massachusetts.
Raúl is presenting his picture book Lowriders: Blast from the Past in Fort Worth

Kelly Starling Lyons grew up in Pittsburgh and is a children’s book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her books include CCBC Choices-honored picture book, One Million Men and Me; Ellen’s Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection; Tea Cakes for Tosh, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and winner of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award for Juvenile Literature (sponsored by the AAUW of North Carolina) and Hope’s Gift, a Storytelling World Award winner, IRA/CBC Children’s Choices selection and SIBA Okra Pick. Learn more at www.kellystarlinglyons.com.
Kelly is presenting her chapter book Jada Jones: Rockstar in Fort Worth

Arree Chung is the author and illustrator of the Ninja! series, which includes Ninja! and Ninja! Attack of the Clan. You can usually find him playing basketball or riding his bike near his home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Arree is presenting his picture book Ninja! in Dallas and in Fort Worth

Patricia Valdez is a scientist who loves writing for children. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and currently works at the National Institutes of Health. Originally from Texas, she now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor is her first picture book.
Patricia is presenting her picture book Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor in Fort Worth

Juana Medina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia and came to the U.S. to study at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She now lives in Washington, DC, where she teaches at the Corcoran College of Art. Visit her at juanamedina.com.
Juana is presenting her picture books Juana and Lucas and I’m a Baked Potato! in Dallas and Fort Worth

David Barclay Moore was born and raised working class in Missouri. Throughout his adolescent years, David kept mainly to himself and read too many novels and comic books. After studying creative writing at Iowa State University, film at Howard University in Washington, DC and language studies at L’Universite de Montpellier in France, David moved to New York City on May 31, 1995. He had $500 in his pocket and a place to stay for two weeks.

Over the years in New York, he has worked in different creative and writing capacities with: Sony StudiOne, DreamWorks TV, Barbra Streisand’s Barwood Films and @radical.media, among others. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) Queer X-Change workshop invitee during the summer of 2009, David was asked by ITVS to present his documentary proposal on homosexuality and the Black Church for development. He was also a Semi-Finalist for the 2008 Sundance Screenwriters Lab for an original screenplay and a 2006-07 Yaddo Fellow in creative writing & film. He was selected as a 2002-03 Independent Feature Project / Project Involve Honoree for Screenwriting & Narrative and was a Grantee in the 2001 Artists Mentor Program at Film/Video Arts.
David is presenting his novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet in Fort Worth

Emma J. Virján was born under an Aries moon, on a Wednesday, her dad’s bowling night, which explains her passion for shiny, hardwood floors and extra crunchy snack bar French fries.
She loves to draw, sing out loud and take walks with her dog, Bella, who is often allowed to sleep on the couch.
Emma makes her home in Austin, Texas, where she spends her days writing and drawing.
Emma is presenting her picture book What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig in Fort Worth

Nicole Wielga

Nicole serves as Texas Book Festival’s Logistics and Volunteer Coordinator. She is responsible for organizing all volunteer efforts for the Festival as well as working with the contract logistics team. Born in Houston, Texas, she spent her formative years in Singapore before returning to America. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors for Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management from Roger Williams University. Prior to working at the Texas Book Festival, she has worked in entertainment and events with SXSW, Stand Up to Cancer, Think It Up, The Skouras Agency, and The Rhode Island International Film Festival as well as several theatrical, musical, and film productions and Oscar campaigns. Surprisingly, her favorite books to read are cookbooks as reading the lists of ingredients and cooking steps give her a sense of peace. She also enjoys reading young adult novels and memoirs.