We are still feeling all the joy that comes with joining students, educators, and authors for Reading Rock Stars school visits, and we don’t want to keep that joy to ourselves. As we reflect, we also want to take a moment to share highlights and recognize the authors and schools that helped to make our first Reading Rock Stars events of the year such a success.
For those not familiar with the program, Reading Rock Stars is Texas Book Festival’s elementary-focused initiative that brings nationally recognized children’s authors to Title I elementary schools in regions across Texas. Authors inspire young readers by sharing engaging presentations and taking time to personally connect with them. Each student also takes home a copy of the book featured in their presentation, signed by the author, to start or add to their home library. Texas Book Festival funds and coordinates these author visits and donates the books given to students and each school’s library.
Our first stop was Houston, where we had Reading Rock Stars events at 4 schools: Thompson, Harris, Magrill Primary, and Impact Leadership Academy at Wilson. We were thrilled to bring authors Van Garrett, Don Tate, J. Elle, Laekan Zea Kemp, Elisa Chavarri, Jamar Perry, Michael Genhart, Nicholas Solis, Carmen Oliver, Zetta Elliott, and Jasminne Mendez to these schools to meet with students and share their work and their own stories. More than 1,800 Houston students received a copy of a signed book, in most cases, handed to them by the author themself. There were big smiles and good energy all around!
Special messages from Reading Rock Stars:
THANK YOU TO OUR HOUSTON SPONSORS
Dallas and Fort Worth
The next Reading Rock Stars region we visited was Dallas-Fort Worth, where we were joined by authors Anne Wynter, Shadra Strickland, Marcelo Verdad, Nicholas Solis, Lyla Lee, Carmen Tafolla, Debbi Michiko Florence, and Ridley Pearson. We had wonderful visits at 6 schools in the area, including Guzick, Audelia Creek, Forestridge, BJ Elliott, Van Zandt-Guinn, and Westcliff, and gave signed books to more than 3,000 DFW students!
In addition to the awesome time spent with students in schools, Texas Book Festival staff and authors visited Interabang Books. Visiting a local independent bookstore provided an opportunity for lots of bonding, laughs, and so many photos. The authors also signed books while they were in the shop.
THANK YOU TO OUR DALLAS SPONSORS
THANK YOU TO OUR FORT WORTH SPONSORS
Rio Grande Valley
A week after finishing up our DFW visit, we hit the road to the RGV for visits at Ybarra, Cesar Chavez, Canterbury, Bryan, Margo, and Guerra elementary schools. It was a delight to have authors Laekan Zea Kemp, David Bowles, Zara Gonzalez Hoang, Marcelo Verdad, Karla A. Valenti, Ana Siqueira, Carmen Tafolla, Xavier Garza, and Erika Said join us in this region. More than 3,800 RGV students went home with their very own book!
While choosing photos from Reading Rock Stars in this region, we made sure to include shots of some of the amazing art created by RGV students, inspired by the visiting authors’ books!
THANK YOU TO OUR RIO GRANDE VALLEY SPONSORS
Next up: We’re headed to El Paso!
For the first time, Texas Book Festival will bring its signature elementary literacy program, Reading Rock Stars, to El Paso! El Paso will be the fifth Reading Rock Stars region joining Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Rio Grande Valley, and Austin.
Reading Rock Stars El Paso will feature children’s authors Rebecca Balcárcel, Zeke Peña, and Raúl the Third visiting Aoy and Hart Elementary Schools in the El Paso Independent School District. Students at the schools will each get a chance to hear from one of the authors, and every student will go home with a signed copy of the author’s book!
THANK YOU TO OUR EL PASO SPONSORS
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Donations fund our Reading Rock Stars and Real Reads outreach programs in Title I schools, Texas public library grants, and of course, help keep the Festival free for all!