Read Together: Storytime with Anne Wynter

Texas Book Festival is partnering with Waterloo Greenway and Austin Allies for the Read Together event on Tuesday, May 3 at 10 a.m. CT. Don’t miss the outdoor storytime with Austin author, playwright, and copywriter Anne Wynter and her presentation of Everybody in the Red Brick Building. This event is part of Morning Glories, a weekly early childhood education event series. Learn more about the event on the Waterloo Greenway website.

Continue reading “Read Together: Storytime with Anne Wynter”

FOUR TREASURES OF THE SKY: A Conversation with Jenny Tinghui Zhang & Gen Padalecki

ANNOUNCING – We’re partnering with fellow Texan Gen Padalecki and her Now & Gen book club for a conversation with Austin author Jenny Tinghui Zhang about her debut novel Four Treasures of the Sky. Grab your copy and read along with us! Be sure to join the conversation on Thursday, May 5 at 12 p.m. CT on Gen’s Instagram Live (@genpadalecki). No RSVP necessary, just stop on by!

When you purchase your copy of Four Treasures of the Sky using this BookPeople link, you will receive an autographed note from Gen! Available while supplies last.

Author:
Jenny Tinghui Zhang
is a Chinese-American writer. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Apogee, Ninth Letter, Passages North, The Rumpus, HuffPost, The Cut, Catapult, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and has received support from Kundiman, Tin House, and VONA/Voices. She was born in Changchun, China and grew up in Austin, Texas, where she currently lives. Four Treasures of the Sky is her debut.

Moderator:
Genevieve Padalecki (you can call her Gen) is a daughter, sister, mother, and wife. She’s also a traveler, book nerd, activist, actress, adventure seeker, and aspiring urban homesteader. A California girl from birth and a mountain girl at heart, she now calls Austin, Texas, home and lives with her husband Jared—yes, that guy from Supernatural and Walker—three kids (Tom, Shep, and Odette), 14 chickens, two dogs, and a hive of honeybees.

She blogs about her life, books, parenting, fashion, and more at nowandgen.com and is the co-founder of @towwn – Take Only What We Need, a community that focuses on measurable steps we can take to live a more just and sustainable life for people + planet.

 

An Evening with Selma Blair: MEAN BABY

We’re excited to partner with BookPeople to welcome Selma Blair in conversation with Jamie-Lynn Sigler in celebration of Blair’s new memoir, Mean Baby! The event will take place on Friday, May 20 at First Baptist Church of Austin, located on Trinity Street. Doors will open at 6 PM and the event will begin at 7 PM. The event will run for 45-60 minutes, including an audience Q&A. Tickets are available exclusively through Eventbrite and include a signed copy of Mean Baby.

About Mean Baby
Selma Blair has played many roles: Ingenue in Cruel Intentions. Preppy ice queen in Legally Blonde. Muse to Karl Lagerfeld. Advocate for the multiple sclerosis community. But before all of that, Selma was known best as…a mean baby. In a memoir that is as wildly funny as it is emotionally shattering, Blair tells the captivating story of growing up and finding her truth.

“Blair is a rebel, an artist, and it turns out: a writer.”

—Glennon Doyle, Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Untamed and Founder of Together Rising

The first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. With her mouth pulled in a perpetual snarl and a head so furry it had to be rubbed to make way for her forehead, Selma spent years living up to her terrible reputation: biting her sisters, lying spontaneously, getting drunk from Passover wine at the age of seven, and behaving dramatically so that she would be the center of attention.

Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. She often felt like her arms might be on fire, a sensation not unlike electric shocks, and she secretly drank to escape.

Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, devasting memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood, and, finally, the surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

In a voice that is powerfully original, fiercely intelligent, and full of hard-won wisdom, Selma Blair’s Mean Baby is a deeply human memoir and a true literary achievement.

About Selma Blair
SELMA BLAIR is an actress best known for her roles in Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, The Sweetest Thing, and Hellboy. Blair was named a Time Person of the Year in 2017 as one of their Silence Breakers, and she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her narration of The Diary of Anne Frank. She is the subject of the documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which reveals Blair’s intimate and raw journey with multiple sclerosis. Blair lives with her son in Los Angeles.

Book Tips and Sips at Ani’s Day & Night

Join Texas Book Festival and spring 2022–published Austin authors Dalia Azim and Juli Berwald for our first free, public, in-person event of the year!

We’re bringing together Central Texas readers and members of the literary community for a casual conversation about books—classics, new releases, fiction, and nonfiction—we’re eager to add to our to-be-read shelves this spring. Come gather with us at the Ani’s Day & Night patio on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. for book recommendations, community, and delicious cocktails available for sale from the Ani’s bar.

No reservations required, but if you RSVP via the form below, you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive complimentary signed copies of Dalia’s and Juli’s new books plus two drink tickets.

Book swap: Bring a book you loved and want to share, add it to the swap, and take home a new read of your own!

Copies of Dalia’s and Juli’s new books for sale on-site courtesy of BookPeople!


Speakers: 

Dalia Azim, Country of Origin (Deep Vellum / A Strange Object, 3/15/22)

Dalia’s work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Aperture, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Glimmer Train (where she received their Short Story Award for New Writers), Other Voices, Alcalde, and Sightlines, among other publications. She serves on the board of Austin Bat Cave—a literary community and writing workshop center—and is the manager of special projects at the Blanton Museum of Art. She graduated with a dual degree in art and literature from Stanford University and grew up in Canada and Colorado.

Juli Berwald, Life on the Rocks (Riverhead, 4/5/22)

Juli, a Texas Book Festival alum, received her Ph.D. in Ocean Science from the University of Southern California. The author of Spineless and a science textbook writer and editor, she has written for a number of publications including the New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate.

Moderator: TBF Literary Director Matt Patin

Tips & Sips RSVP

  • RSVP

 

Ani’s Day & Night is located at 7107 E Riverside Drive in Austin.


We love putting together free programming in support of authors and readers here in Texas. If you believe in strengthening a love of literature and keeping arts programming free and open to the public in Texas, please consider supporting the Texas Book Festival. 

Reading Rock Stars Dallas & Fort Worth

On March 24 and 25, the Texas Book Festival returns to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to visit six elementary schools as part of the Festival’s annual Reading Rock Stars program. Throughout the two days, ten nationally-acclaimed children’s authors will visit each school and present to students, a culmination of weeks of each school’s preparation for the program. Additionally, TBF will gift each student a copy of the visiting author’s book.

TBF will donate 2,400 books to classrooms at Frank Guzick Elementary School, NW Harllee Elementary School, Dr. MLK Jr. Arts Academy, Meadowbrook Elementary School, Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School, and BJ Elliott Elementary School.

With this latest round of Reading Rock Stars, the Texas Book Festival will have given more than 133,000 books to students in elementary schools across Texas since the program’s inception.

The Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars literacy program brings books to life for children in elementary schools by inviting authors and illustrators into classrooms with entertaining presentations that inspire students to read, write, and create. Thanks to generous support from sponsor H-E-B and many individual donors, the Texas Book Festival gives each student an autographed copy of their author’s book and provides the school library with a new set of books by the visiting Reading Rock Stars authors. After each presentation, the author personally hands an autographed copy of their book to each student.

Get to know the authors and their books:

Raúl the Third is the Pura Belpré Award-winning author-illustrator of ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market and the rest of the World of ¡Vamos! series. He is also the Pura Belpré Award-winning illustrator of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, written by Cathy Camper. Raúl was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up going back and forth between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, México. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his collaborator and fellow artist, Elaine Bay, and their son, Raúl the Fourth.

Website: raulthethird.com Twitter: @raulthe3rd Instagram: @raulthethird.info


¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge

A 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book

Little Lobo and Bernabé are back in this joyful story about coming together and celebrating community, a lively follow-up to ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat, by Pura Belpré Medal-winning illustrator Raúl the Third.

People are always crossing the bridge for work, to visit family, or for play. Some going this way; others going that way. Back and forth they go. With friends on foot and on bicycles, in cars and trucks, the bridge is an incredibly busy place with many different types of vehicles.

Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a new truck and they are using it to carry party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. The line is long and everyone on the bridge is stuck. How will they pass the time? Eventually, everyone comes together for an epic party on the bridge between two different countries. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go get a Mexican-American makeover in this joyful story about coming together.


Don Tate is an award-winning author and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf – a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews. Don frequently speaks at schools, public libraries, and writing conferences, and participates in book festivals.

Pigskins to Paintbrushes

Pigskins to Paintbrushes is the inspiring story of Ernie Barnes, who defined himself on his own terms and pushed the boundaries of “possible,” from the field to the canvas. 

Young Ernie Barnes wasn’t like other boys his age. Bullied for being shy, overweight, and uninterested in sports like boys were “supposed” to be, he instead took refuge in his sketchbook, in vibrant colors, bold brushstrokes, and flowing lines. But growing up in a poor, Black neighborhood during the 1930s, opportunities to learn about art were rare, and art museums were off-limits because of segregation laws. Discouraged and tired of being teased, Ernie joined the school football team. Although reluctant at first, he would soon become a star. But art remained in Ernie’s heart and followed him through high school, college, and into the NFL. Ernie saw art all around him: in the dynamic energy of the game, the precision of plays, and the nimble movement of his teammates. He poured his passion into his game and his craft and became famous as both a professional athlete and as an artist whose paintings reflected his love of the sport and celebrated Black bodies as graceful and beautiful.


Deliberately walking through the intersection of Hip Hop, education, and spirituality, Bavu Blakes is an educator, a servant–leader, and an award-winning musician. He is a curriculum & instruction specialist whose facilitation of teaching & learning via writing, reading, listening, and speaking extends beyond classrooms to out of school & after school programs, school & community assemblies, district professional learning sessions, conventions, national education conferences, and concert venues, as well as workshops & events serving youth, men, teens, families, and faith communities. Accordingly, Austin mayor Steve Adler proclaimed April 23, 2015, as Bavu Blakes Day to a capacity crowd at City Hall. 

El, I mean Ellison Blakes, is a scientist, pianist, researcher, athlete and baller, gaming lover and designer, sportswriter, and author. After Mama’s prediction (with a wink) came true, Dad started helping him create El’s Mirror. He still goes to the school up the street from the big house full of books and art on the West side of the South.

El’s Mirror

“When I look in the mirror, I see somebody who kind of looks like me…” Young El starts kindergarten with high expectations for his school experience. Unexpected challenges force him to learn from other people’s mistakes. El’s family, and a few familiar faces, help him find his way. He even starts to understand the world by looking at himself. You are welcome to this realistic journey through everyday children’s stories where objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Welcome to El’s Mirror, an upper elementary picture book and a reflective tool for families, parents, mentors, leaders, and educators of children.



Named State Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015, Dr. Carmen Tafolla is an award-winning poet and children’s author, storyteller, performance artist, motivational speaker, scholar, and university professor. The author of more than 30 books and a Professor of Transformative Children’s Literature at UT San Antonio, she holds a Ph.D. in Bilingual Education from the University of Texas and a B.A., M.A., and a Doctorate Honoris Causa in Humane Letters from Austin College. Dr. Tafolla has performed her one-woman show throughout the Americas, Europe, and New Zealand, and her work appears internationally in textbooks, newspapers, journals, magazines, elementary school Big Books & posters on city buses, and engraved on sidewalks and museum walls. Dr. Tafolla credits the community around her with her inspiration and her training, and says her works are inspired by “ancestors whispering over my shoulder.”

I’ll Always Come Back to You

I might have to visit a very sick friend or rescue a sinking canoe, but I will always, always, always come back to you! What happens when someone you love heads out the door? When a mother goes out to work and her daughter stays behind, Mom reassures her child that nothing can keep her from coming back home again. Mom promises that she would even ride on a whale or fight off a passel of bears if that’s what it takes to return to her child! Her daughter might have to wait with Gramma or a friend at home. Whether their time apart has been long or short, the family will be together again.

This humorous and touching book reminds young readers that distance cannot diminish love. Perfect for children struggling with separation anxiety or a change in family life, this book represents a parent’s promise that they will be back, no matter what! Reassuring rhyme and amusing illustrations create a story to cherish when loved ones have gone away—and also when they’ve come back at last.


Elisa Chavarri is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del Arcoiris and  Federico and the Wolf. Originally from Lima, Peru, she did much of her growing up in Northern Michigan where she now resides with her husband and two small children whose little hands she loves to hold.

I’ll Hold Your Hand

This sweet picture book celebrates the unbreakable bond of a parent’s support for a child through life’s milestones, from learning to walk to the first day of school and all the highs and lows in between. From the night you arrive to your first night away, from learning to crawl to healing a broken heart, and for all the highs and lows in between. . .through every season, every challenge, and every joy, you are loved. With sweet, lyrical text and stunning art, I’ll Hold Your Hand celebrates the unbreakable bond of family and all the ways our actions can say “I love you” louder than words.


Chris Barton is the author of many picture books including the award-winning What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara JordanNew York Times bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch and Whoosh!. He visits schools by the score and also loves speaking to professional gatherings of librarians, educators, and his fellow writers. Chris and his wife, novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, with their family. For more information about Chris, please visit ChrisBarton.info.

How to Make a Book About My Dog

How do you make a picture book? Well, you need an author, an illustrator, and . . . a dog?! Acclaimed author Chris Barton and his trusty pooch Ernie show readers how to make a nonfiction picture book . . . about Ernie! From coming up with ideas, researching, and writing the first draft to find the perfect illustrator, deciding what goes on the cover, and getting every last word just right, you’ll see how a book is made from beginning to end.  

From acquisitions and editing to graphic design and dog treats, find out what’s required to bring a book to life. This title perfectly blends how-to and humor for an informative look at book publishing. And look, this is part of the marketing step!


Jennifer Ziegler is the author of several novels for young and young-at-heart readers, including Worser, Revenge of the Flower Girls, and How Not to Be Popular. She also serves as faculty co-chair of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. A native Texan of Mexican American heritage, Jennifer lives in Austin with her husband (and favorite author), Chris Barton, and their boss, a terrier mix named Ernie. When not teaching or creating books, Jennifer loves to visit schools, festivals, and conferences to lead workshops and presentations, urging readers and writers to recognize their own powers and use them for good.

Worser

A lover of logic, words, and grammar, 12-year-old William Wyatt Orser acquired the annoyingly ungrammatical nickname “Worser” so long ago that few people at school know to call him anything else. Nor do they know about his Masterwork—an epic lexicon of words he’s carefully collected over the years.

When his widowed mother suffers a debilitating stroke that leaves her unable to speak, Worser’s world is completely upended. His aunt moves in along with her cats, art projects, loud music, and bright clothes, and home is not the refuge it once was.

Feeling lost, lonely, and overwhelmed, Worser searches for a new sanctuary just as the Literary Club run by his favorite classmate, Donya Khoury, needs a place as well. Worser finds a used bookstore that opens its doors to all of them, and he discovers—much to his surprise—that the key to making friends is for him to open up, too. Gradually, he finds himself sharing his thoughts, feelings, and sense of humor—and even pages of his treasured Masterwork.

But when change threatens his new refuge, Worser’s grief and frustration lead him to react in an extreme and destructive way, and he must make peace with the fact that nothing stays the same forever. In the end, it is up to Worser to turn the page on his own story.


Angela Shanté is the award-winning author of The Noisy Classroom, a picture book that she wrote about her third-grade classroom to help soothe childhood anxiety associated with school and change. In the classroom, she taught emergent learners through college; specializing in literacy and curriculum development. After leaving the classroom Angela worked in publishing for traditional and educational publishers as an Editor, Children’s Book Acquisition Editor and Consultant. With one leg in education and the other in the creative world, Angela divides her time around her passion (1) advocating for more diversity in publishing, (2) working as an educational consultant,  (3) running Sunday Dinner Publishing, and (4) hosting the podcast First-Generation Problems. Angela currently lives in Southern California with her husband and dog (Blue).

When My Cousins Come to Town

Voted BEST KIDS BOOK OF 2021 by NYC Public Library! A fun, lively story of Black family and cousin culture that celebrates individuality and embraces differences. Fitting in can be hard, but standing out isn’t easy either!

Every summer a young girl eagerly waits for her cousins to come visit and celebrate her birthday. All her cousins are unique in their own ways and have earned cool nicknames for themselves… except for the girl. But this year things are going to be different. This year before summer ends, she’s determined to earn her own nickname!

Filled with warmth, love, and laughter, When My Cousins Come to Town brings all the energy and love of a big family to prove that you don’t need to be anyone else to be special—just the way you are is exactly right!


Lyla Lee is an author of books for children and young adults. In addition to the Mindy Kim series, she is the author of I’ll Be the One and the upcoming Flip the Script for teens. Born in South Korea, she’s since then lived in various parts of the United States, including California, Florida, and Texas. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. After working in Hollywood and studying psychology and cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. When she is not writing, she is teaching kids or playing with her dog, Eiva the Siberian Husky.

Mindy Kim and the Trip to Korea

Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in the adorable chapter book series following Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl—in this fifth novel, Mindy goes to South Korea!

Mindy is super excited to go to South Korea to visit her grandparents! She has never taken such a big trip before, and she can’t wait to see her family again. Plus, Dad’s girlfriend, Julie, is also going to meet the family for the first time.

Mindy and Julie decide to make a traditional Korean meal for the family as a thank-you for hosting. But after a few mishaps, Mindy fears they are cooking up a big disaster in the kitchen! Can Mindy and Julie make sure their meal passes the most important taste test of them all?

Thank you to Interabang Books for sponsoring our Reading Rock Stars in Dallas!

Reading Rock Stars Houston

On March 10, the Texas Book Festival returns to the Houston area to visit four elementary schools in Aldine and Humble as part of the Festival’s annual Reading Rock Stars program. Throughout the days, eleven nationally-acclaimed children’s authors will visit each school and present to students, a culmination of weeks of each school’s preparation for the program. Additionally, TBF will gift each student a copy of the visiting author’s book.

TBF will donate more than 2,000 books to classrooms at Wilson Elementary School, Thompson Elementary School, Harris Elementary School, and Magrill Primary School.

With this latest round of Reading Rock Stars, the Texas Book Festival will have given more than 133,000 books to students in elementary schools across Texas since the program’s inception.

The Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars literacy program brings books to life for children in elementary schools by inviting authors and illustrators into classrooms with entertaining presentations that inspire students to read, write, and create. Thanks to generous support from sponsor H-E-B and many individual donors, the Texas Book Festival gives each student an autographed copy of their author’s book and provides the school library with a new set of books by the visiting Reading Rock Stars authors. After each presentation, the author personally hands an autographed copy of their book to each student.

Get to know the authors and their books:

Chris Barton is the author of many picture books including the award-winning What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara JordanNew York Times bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch and Whoosh!. He visits schools by the score and also loves speaking to professional gatherings of librarians, educators, and his fellow writers. Chris and his wife, novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, with their family. For more information about Chris, please visit ChrisBarton.info.

How to Make a Book About My Dog How to Make a Book (About My Dog)

How do you make a picture book? Well, you need an author, an illustrator, and . . . a dog?! 

Acclaimed author Chris Barton and his trusty pooch Ernie show readers how to make a nonfiction picture book . . . about Ernie! From coming up with ideas, researching, and writing the first draft to find the perfect illustrator, deciding what goes on the cover, and getting every last word just right, you’ll see how a book is made from beginning to end.  

From acquisitions and editing to graphic design and dog treats, find out what’s required to bring a book to life. This title perfectly blends how-to and humor for an informative look at book publishing. And look, this is part of the marketing step! 


Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt

Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which means he’s finally old enough to play in the spades tournament every Joplin Man before him seems to have won. So while Ant’s friends are stressing about fifth-grade homework and girls, Ant only has one thing on his mind: how he’ll measure up to his father’s expectations at the card table.

Then Ant’s best friend gets grounded, and he’s forced to find another spades partner. And Shirley, the new girl in his class, isn’t exactly who he has in mind. She talks a whole lot of trash — way more than his old partner. Plus, he’s not sure that his father wants him to play with a girl. But she’s smart and tough, pretty, and knows every card trick in the book. So Ant decides to join forces with Shirley — and keep his plans a secret.

Only it turns out secrets are another Joplin Man tradition. And his father is hiding one so big it may tear their family apart…


Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. He graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1994 with a BFA in Art and has exhibited his art and performed his stories in venues throughout the United States. He is the author of Rooster Joe and the Bully / El Gallo Joe y el abusón (Piñata Books, 2016), The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos (Piñata Books, 2015), Maximilian & The Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories / Kid Ciclón se enfrenta a el Diablo y otras historias (Piñata Books, 2010), Zulema and the Witch Owl / Zulema y la Bruja Lechuza (Piñata Books, 2009), Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid (Cinco Puntos Press, 2008), Juan and the Chupacabras / Juan y el Chupacabras (Piñata Books, 2006), Lucha Libre: The Man in The Silver Mask: A Bilingual Cuento (Cinco Puntos Press 2005), and Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys (Piñata Books, 2004). Xavier Garza lives with his family in San Antonio.

La Llorana Can’t Scare Me/La Llorona no me asusta

Little Damian is getting ready for bed, and the spooky monster called La Llorona is hollering up a storm outside his bedroom window. But he’s not afraid. “You can’t scare me, silly Llorona,” says Damian, “and neither can your monster friends!”

When evil-looking witch owls fly around his room and little green duendes, or goblins, make creepy noises under his bed, he’s still not frightened. Not even a little bit. The Donkey Lady, a chupacabras and even some little devils parade through his room, but Damian still isn’t afraid. A witch casting spells, a ghost rattling its chains, a cucuy with a burlap bag to catch him … nada. None of them can terrify brave little Damian. How can a little boy like him be so fearless?!?

No one knows it, but Damian has a secret weapon: a night light shaped like a mighty wrestler wearing a silver mask. When he plugs it in, its bright light terrifies all the monsters and sends them running for a place to hide! Touching on issues such as bedtime rituals and nighttime terrors, children ages 4-8 will enjoy this entertaining story that features creepy creatures familiar to many Hispanic kids.


Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican-American poet, playwright, translator, and award-winning author of several books for children and adults. She is the author of two hybrid memoirs, Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press) and Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Público Press). Her second YA memoir, Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American (Arte Público Press) is forthcoming in May 2022 and her debut poetry collection, City Without Altar, was a finalist for the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry and will be released in August 2022. Her debut middle grade book Anina del Mar Jumps In (Dial) is a novel in verse about a young girl diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and is set to release in 2023. Her debut picture book Josefina’s Habichuelas (Arte Público Press), was released last year. She is represented by Stefanie Sanchez Von Bortsel at Full Circle Literary.

Josefina’s Habichuelas/Las habichuelas de Josefina

Like all kids, Josefina loves to eat sweets. She loves warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, cupcakes and candy! One night, while eating a piece of flan, Mami asks her to consider giving up sweets for Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. “That’s impossible!” Josefina says. When Mami promises to teach her how to make her favorite dessert, habichuelas con dulce, she agrees to give it a try.

Josefina can’t wait to end her fast and eat the delicious sweet cream beans, her family’s traditional Easter dessert. While she and her mom, tías, and abuela prepare the dish, they dance to merengue music and tell stories about life back in the Dominican Republic. The kitchen fills with the aromatic smells of cinnamon and sugar, but it’s the feelings of love and happiness Josefina will never forget. On Easter Sunday, when the family eats the special dessert she prepared, the girl’s grandmother proclaims, “It’s the best pot of habichuelas con dulce I’ve tasted in my life!”

This heart-warming, bilingual picture book for children shares a universal story all kids can relate to—learning about one’s culture through food, music, and family stories—while focusing on a cultural tradition specific to the Dominican Republic. As a bonus, the book includes the recipe for this special dessert—in both English and Spanish!



Anna Meriano grew up in Houston and graduated from Rice University with a degree in English, and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in writing for children from the New School in New York. There she met CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, who started her on the Love Sugar Magic journey. Anna has written three Love Sugar Magic books.

Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief:

Anna Meriano’s unforgettable family of brujas returns for one more serving of amor, azúcar, and magia, in this breakout series that’s been called “charming and delectably sweet.” (Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series)

It’s spring break in Rose Hill, Texas, but Leo Logroño has a lot of work to do if she’s going to become a full-fledged bruja like the rest of her family.

She still hasn’t discovered the true nature of her magical abilities, and that isn’t the only bit of trouble in her life: Her family’s baking heirlooms have begun to go missing, and a new bakery called Honeybees has opened across town, threatening to run Amor y Azúcar right out of business.

What’s more, everyone around her seems to have secrets, and none of them want to tell Leo what’s going on.

But the biggest secret of all comes when Leo is paid a very surprising visit—by her long-lost Abuelo Logroño. Abuelo promises answers to her most pressing questions and tells Leo he can teach her about her power, about what it takes to survive in a world where threats lurk in the shadows. But can she trust him?


Nidhi Chanani was born in Kolkata, India, and raised in California. She holds a literature degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She creates illustrations that capture love in everyday moments. In 2012 she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change. Her illustrations are often featured at Disney Parks. She’s the author of the graphic novel PashminaShubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend, a bilingual board book; and illustrator of the picture book I Will Be Fierce. Nidhi draws and dreams in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and kid.What Will My Story Be? by Nidhi Chanani

What Will My Story Be?

From the creator of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Pashmina, comes a new picture book that encourages kids to be their most creative selves and to imagine all the places that their stories can take them.

After spending an afternoon listening to her aunties tell her stories from their pasts, a young girl ruminates on all of the tales that she can create using her imagination and begins to feel as if the possibilities for her future are endless. Filled with Nidhi Chanani’s signature vibrant illustrations, What Will My Story Be? is for anyone who finds inspiration in the quiet moments and cherishes the wisdom of the generations that came before them. Perfect for fans of Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat, and You Matter by Christian Robinson.


Nicholas Solis has been writing all of his life, starting with knock-off Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and oddly deep poetry for an 8-year-old. Since then, he’s continued to write picture books, travel blogs, teaching blogs, middle-grade novels, and poetry about farts (decidedly less deep). In 2018, he was the recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books, and in 2020 he was nominated for the 2020 Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award and was the winner of the Austin SCBWI’s 2020 Creators of Diverse Worlds Scholarship.

His debut author/illustrated book THE STARING CONTEST (Peter Pauper Press) was released September 23rd, 2020. MY TOWN, MI PUEBLO (Nancy Paulsen Books), and THE COLOR COLLECTOR (Sleeping Bear Press) are scheduled for 2021.

Nick is also an award-winning elementary teacher with a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Concordia University. He has traveled the world and taught students in Tanzania, India, and Morocco. From all of his travels he has learned one important lesson: No matter the circumstances, kids are kids. When he’s not traveling, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their dog, and his brand new baby boy in Austin, Texas.

He is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of 12X12. He is also a writing fellow at The Writing Barn.

He also came in second on Hollywood Game Night. Seeing as how there are only two contestants, you could also say he came in last. 

The Color Collector

The Color Collector is a poignant story about newness, friendship, and common ground. When a boy notices the new girl picking up all manner of debris and litter on their walks home from school he wants to know why. So she shows him the huge mural she’s created in her room that reminds her of the home she left behind. He learns all about where she’s come from and they both find how wonderful it is to make a new friend.


Named State Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015, Dr. Carmen Tafolla is an award-winning poet and children’s author, storyteller, performance artist, motivational speaker, scholar, and university professor.

The author of more than 30 books and a Professor of Transformative Children’s Literature at UT San Antonio, she holds a Ph.D. in Bilingual Education from the University of Texas and a B.A., M.A., and a Doctorate Honoris Causa in Humane Letters from Austin College.  Tafolla has performed her one-woman show throughout the Americas, Europe, and New Zealand, and her work appears internationally in textbooks, newspapers, journals, magazines, elementary school Big Books & posters on city buses, and engraved on sidewalks and museum walls. Tafolla credits the community around her with her inspiration and her training, and says her works are inspired by “ancestors whispering over my shoulder.”

A brave young butterfly, a small boy, and a dancing blue planet build a bond of love and hard work, drawing on the magic of their relationship. A delightful adventure into the migration of monarch butterflies, and the value of protecting those things we love, this touching story is told in simple but poetic language aimed at children from 5 to 99 and is beautifully illustrated with the rich colors of the Mexican forests where the monarchs head each winter.


Andrea Wang is an acclaimed author of children’s books. Her book Watercress was awarded the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a New England Book Award, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Her other books, The Many Meanings of Meilan, Magic Ramen, and The Nian Monster, have also received awards and starred reviews. Her work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. She is also the author of seven nonfiction titles for the library and school market. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family.

The Many Meanings of Meilan

The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang

Pure joy and the power of community radiate from this sweet picture book about a young Black girl’s perseverance and confidence in following her double Dutch dreams.

Africa’s grandmother was a double Dutch legend, and Africa knows she can become the same. Her brother scoffs when she signs up for a double Dutch competition, though—how can she hope to compete when she’s never done it before? But Africa has all the tools she needs: memories of her grandmother, her bestie Bianca’s dance moves, her friend Omar’s rhythm, and her classmates’ Mary Mack timing and cartwheels.

If Africa can pull everything together to jump some winning moves, she might just fly, but it’s the birthmark in the shape of her name that tells her she’s always been a winner.

Reading Rock Stars Rio Grande Valley

On March 3 and 4, the Texas Book Festival returns to the Rio Grande Valley to visit six elementary schools as part of the Festival’s annual Reading Rock Stars program. Throughout the two days, nine nationally-acclaimed children’s authors will visit each school and present to students, a culmination of weeks of each school’s preparation for the program. Additionally, TBF will gift each student a copy of the visiting author’s book.

TBF will donate 3,915 books to classrooms at Hurla M. Midkiff Elementary School, Bryan Elementary School, Guillermo Flores Elementary School, Enedina B. Guerra Elementary School, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, and Dr. R. E Margo Elementary.

With this latest round of Reading Rock Stars, the Texas Book Festival will have given more than 133,000 books to students in elementary schools across Texas since the program’s inception.

The Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars literacy program brings books to life for children in elementary schools by inviting authors and illustrators into classrooms with entertaining presentations that inspire students to read, write, and create. Thanks to generous support from sponsors—including H-E-B and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley—the Texas Book Festival gives each student an autographed copy of their author’s book and provides the school library with a new set of books by the visiting Reading Rock Stars authors. After each presentation, the author personally hands an autographed copy of their book to each student.

Get to know the authors and their books:

Jon Scieszka was born in Flint, Michigan on September 8, 1954. It was a Wednesday. Right around lunchtime.

He is the second-oldest, and nicest, of six Scieszka boys. No girls.

His mother, Shirley, worked as a registered nurse.

His dad, Louis, was an elementary school principal at Freeman Elementary.

His dad’s parents, Michael and Anna, came to America from Poland. “Scieszka” is a word in Polish. It means “path.”

Steven Weinberg

I write and illustrate kids’ books about mutants fixing climate change, being a middle kid, chainsaws, beards, roller coasters, and dinosaurs. And I paint landscapes and fish, too. Basically all the fun stuff.

My books have been called “Brilliant” by Dave Pilkey, “thrillingly shameless” by the NY Times, “guaranteed to fuel read-aloud energy” by Publisher’s Weekly. They have won awards such as the Virginia Reader’s Choice Award (YOU MUST BE THIS TALL) and the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection (ASTRONUTS: MISSION ONE THE PLANT PLANET), and the best board book of 2021 by Parents Magazine (WASHER AND DRYER’S BIG JOB).

My art has been featured in The New York Times, on book covers, beer cans, in magazines like Gray’s Sporting Journal and Boys’ Life as well as being exhibited across the country.

I live in the Catskills with my wife Casey Scieszka, our daughters Amina and Felix, our dog Waldo, and our bed and bar called the Spruceton Inn (and Artist Residency!) that we all run together in the backyard.

3D-book-cover-MISSION-3-1400.jpgAstro-Nuts Mission Three: The Perfect Planet

In this final book in the series, the crew (AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug) must find a planet fit for human life before it’s too late.

So when they land on a place called “the perfect planet” their mission sounds way too easy. However, they quickly discover they’re dealing with the most dangerous specifies of all time . . . humans!? The AstroNuts have to work fast to convince the humans to risk death for the sake of their own lives!


Diana Lopez

Diana López is the author of the adult novella Sofia’s Saints and numerous middle-grade novels, including Confetti GirlNothing Up My Sleeve and Lucky Luna. Her debut picture book, Sing With Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla, is available in English and Spanish. She also wrote the novel adaptation for the Disney/Pixar film Coco. Diana retired after a 28-year career in education at the middle grade and college levels, but she enjoys meeting with students when she visits schools to chat about books and writing. She lives in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla by Diana López

Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla:

An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.

From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.


Raquel Ortiz

Raquel’s book Broken Butterfly Wings: Alas de mariposa rotas tells the story of a girl who wants to be a great dancer but she feels she can’t get anything right. Then, when she feels the beat of the drums, she loses herself in the music.

Raquel was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. She is the author of two other bilingual picture books: Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical (Arte Público Press, 2015) and Sofi Paints Her Dreams / Sofi pinta sus sueños (Piñata Books, 2019). She has worked at The Brooklyn Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Currently, she creates educational material for the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City.

Broken Butterfly Wings: Alas de mariposa rotas:

Gabriela is super excited when her gift from Titi Sylvia finally arrives. She loves the colorful, glittery butterfly wings! She stands in the middle of her room and flaps and flaps her new wings, but nothing happens. She jumps off her bed, vigorously moving the wings up and down, but again, nada. She hops down the hallway and the stairs, but she still can’t fly!

Disappointed, Gabriela goes to the garage, digs into her father’s toolbox, and sets about trying to fix the broken butterfly wings. Maybe she can add a battery or an engine. Her father has a better idea, though, and encourages her to close her eyes and think about where she would like to fly. Soon she is envisioning El Yunque, a rainforest on the island of Puerto Rico that is full of tall green trees, humming waterfalls, and chattering birds. She can even hear the coquí, a tiny tree frog that lives only on the island, singing its special song: coquí-coquí.

Demonstrating the joy found in using one’s imagination, this bilingual picture book depicts a young girl drawing on her senses—smell, hearing, sight—to return to a beloved place. Kids will appreciate the beauty of the rainforest’s birds, frogs, and other natural wonders while admiring a strong girl willing to create solutions to problems.


Victoria Castillo

Victoria is an illustrator and comic artist who has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of North Texas. Her Colombian mother and Mexican father ensured that she was exposed to different cultures from an early age. She has traveled extensively, and those adventures taught her the importance of diversity. She credits her passion for languages and communication to these experiences. The illustrator of The Little Doctor / El doctorcito (Piñata Books, 2016), Victoria loves vibrant, expressive shapes and colors. She surrounds herself with books, toys, music, cartoons, and monsters of various forms and sizes for inspiration in her drawing, sculpting, and painting. She lives in Texas with her family and numerous dogs.

Luna Luminosa, Dónde Estás? / Luminous Moon, Where Are You?

Juanito looked outside one dark night and discovered the moon was nowhere to be seen! Where could it have gone? Is it hiding under the bed or behind a great mountain?

He wonders if the coyote took it to his lair, but the wily canine couldn’t catch the slippery moon. “Aaah-ooooooh, aaaah-ooooooh, aaaah-ooooooh,” he cries sadly. Maybe the cicada’s deafening screeches made it disappear! Or did the owl bewitch the luminous moon? Perhaps the frog drowned it in the lagoon! Could the fireflies’ bright lights have hidden its glow? Juanito just doesn’t know!

This charming story by Aracely De Alvarado introducing the phases of the moon to children is enlivened by Victoria Castillo’s bright, eye-catching illustrations depicting the nighttime sky and animals in their habitat.  Kids ages 4 – 8, and some adults too, will enjoy repeating the sounds animals make—in English and Spanish!


Anna Meriano

Anna Meriano grew up in Houston and graduated from Rice University with a degree in English, and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in writing for children from the New School in New York. There she met CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, who started her on the Love Sugar Magic journey. Anna has written three Love Sugar Magic books.

Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief:

Anna Meriano’s unforgettable family of brujas returns for one more serving of amor, azúcar, and magia, in this breakout series that’s been called “charming and delectably sweet.” (Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series)

It’s spring break in Rose Hill, Texas, but Leo Logroño has a lot of work to do if she’s going to become a full-fledged bruja like the rest of her family.

She still hasn’t discovered the true nature of her magical abilities, and that isn’t the only bit of trouble in her life: Her family’s baking heirlooms have begun to go missing, and a new bakery called Honeybees has opened across town, threatening to run Amor y Azúcar right out of business.

What’s more, everyone around her seems to have secrets, and none of them want to tell Leo what’s going on.

But the biggest secret of all comes when Leo is paid a very surprising visit—by her long-lost Abuelo Logroño. Abuelo promises answers to her most pressing questions and tells Leo he can teach her about her power, about what it takes to survive in a world where threats lurk in the shadows. But can she trust him?


Margarita EngleMargarita Engle

Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Rima’s RebellionYour Heart, My SkyWith a Star in My HandThe Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture books include Drum Dream GirlDancing Hands; and The Flying Girl. Visit her at MargaritaEngle.com.

A Song of Frutas:A Song of Frutas

From Pura Belpré Award-winning author Margarita Engle comes a lively, rhythmic picture book about a little girl visiting her grandfather who is a pregonero—a singing street vendor in Cuba—and helping him sell his frutas.

When we visit mi abuelo, I help him sell
frutas, singing the names of each fruit
as we walk, our footsteps like drumbeats,
our hands like maracas, shaking…

The little girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit: mangolimónnaranjapiña, and more! Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words carried on letters that soar across the distance like songbirds.


 Angela Dominguez
Image of Angela Dominguez
Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City and grew up in the great state of Texas. She now resides on the east coast with her boyfriend, Kyle, and their petite dog, Petunia. She is also the author and illustrator of several books for children and a two-time recipient of Pura Belpré Illustration Honor. Her debut middle-grade novel, Stella Díaz Has Something To Say, was a New York Public Library and a Chicago Public Library pick for Best Books for Kids, Sid Fleischman Award winner, and an ALA Notable. She recently illustrated Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s newest picture book, Just Help! How to Build a Better World. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. She’s delighted to still be doing both.

Stella Díaz Dreams Big: Stella Díaz Dreams Big

In Stella Díaz Dreams Big, by award-winning author and illustrator Angela Dominguez, how will Stella fare when the waters get rough?

Stella is happy as a clam in fourth grade. She’s the president of the Sea Musketeers conservation club, she starts taking swim lessons, and she joins a new art club at school. But as her schedule fills up, school gets harder, too. Suddenly the tides have turned, and she is way too busy!

Stella will be in an ocean of trouble if she can’t keep her head above water. But with her trusty Sea Musketeers by her side, she hopes to make her big dreams come true!

Based on the author’s experiences growing up Mexican-American, this infectiously charming character comes to life through relatable storytelling including simple Spanish vocabulary and adorable black-and-white art.


Dr. David Bowles, UTRGV Assistant Professor in Literatures & Cultural Studies, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 at the Liberal Arts Building South in Edinburg, Texas. UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy

David Bowles

David Bowles is a Mexican-American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written several titles, most notably The Smoking Mirror (Pura Belpré Honor Book) and They Call Me Güero (Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, Claudia Lewis Award for Excellence in Poetry, Pura Belpré Honor Book, Walter Dean Myers Honor Book).

His work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as Asymptote, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Metamorphoses, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature.

In 2017, David was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

My Two Border Towns:My Two Border Towns by David Bowles

Reading Rock Stars Austin 2021

This fall, Texas Book Festival hosted visits from twenty-two exciting authors with nine Title I elementary schools in the Austin area as part of our Reading Rock Stars program. During these highly-anticipated visits, students had the opportunity to hear from authors about their writing journeys and craft, listen to stories, and ask questions.

Children holding the book "The Color Corrector"

Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars program is a hands-on literacy initiative that sends nationally recognized authors into Title I schools in Texas to inspire young readers with dynamic presentations. With generous donations from our sponsors, Texas Book Festival funds and coordinates these author visits and provides copies of visiting authors’ books to children and to their school’s library. Since the program began, Texas Book Festival has provided more than 133,000 books to students and hosted 400+ author visits. Reading Rock Stars is currently partnered with schools in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and the Rio Grande Valley.

Author, Gloria Amescua, greeting student

students seated in library

Thank you to our Reading Rock Stars sponsors who provide books and author visits to thousands of children in Title I elementary schools throughout Texas!

ICYMI: TBF 2021 Session Recordings Available for Replay!

We’re currently remastering all of 2021’s virtual session recordings, but meantime did you know you can watch the original recordings of more than 100 sessions—across all genres and age groups—right now?

It’s as easy as:

  1. Going to the Festival Schedule
  2. Clicking the Rewatch Stream button on any session you’d like
  3. Clicking the Watch Replay button in CrowdCast and using your email to get access

Then, if the session doesn’t start right away, just scroll forward in the video a bit to get past the opening slides.

For the Children’s Program, simply click the Rewatch Stream button to be taken directly to the YouTube video!