Reading Rock Stars Dallas-Fort Worth

It’s finally time for Reading Rock Stars Dallas-Fort Worth!

We’re so excited to return to Thomas Tolbert Elementary in Dallas on February 8, and also thrilled to announce we will be visiting Rosemont Elementary in Fort Worth on February 9 for the first time!

Whenever we bring a new school into the Reading Rock Stars family, we look for schools which are passionate about reading and ready for the exciting challenge of hosting three author visits in one day. Schools apply for the program, highlighting how their team plans to get their students excited to meet authors, and how they want to use Reading Rock Stars to start new reading initiatives.

In conjunction with Reading Rock Stars, Rosemont Elementary is launching their “Celebrity Readers” program. Members of the community will visit classrooms to read their favorite books and speak to students about why they love to read. The team at Texas Book Festival is happy to provide the very first celebrity readers (and Rock Stars): Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Roda Ahmed, and John August! Vanessa Brantley-Newton and Roda Ahmed will also visit Thomas Tolbert Elementary with veteran Reading Rock Stars author Mac Barnett, who will visit with 4th and 5th grade.

Learn more about our Reading Rock Stars authors and check out their books below!


Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA in film from USC. As a screenwriter, his credits include Big FishCharlie’s AngelsCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryCorpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. His books include Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire.In addition to his film career, he hosts a popular weekly podcast, Scriptnotes, with Craig Mazin. He also created the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling tool that was distributed to over 2,000 classrooms in partnership with nonprofit literacy groups like 826LA and NaNoWriMo. John and his family live in Los Angeles.

John’s book: Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire 


Roda Ahmed is a Norwegian author and columnist born in Hargeisa, Somalia. Roda is the bestselling author of Forberedelsen (The Preparations). Mae Among the Stars is her first children’s book. She speaks five languages: Somali, Arabic, Norwegian, English, and French. Roda lives in LA with her husband and two children.

Roda’s book: Mae Among the Stars 


Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  She is the author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table and has illustrated numerous children’s books including Mary Had A Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, One Love and  Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and cat.


Vanessa’s book: Grandma’s Purse 



Mac Barnett is a New York Times-bestselling author whose books for children have sold more than one million copies in the United States and have been translated into over 30 languages. His picture books include two Caldecott-Honor-winning collaborations with Jon Klassen: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, which also won the E.B White Read-Aloud Award, and Extra Yarn, which won both the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. Leo: A Ghost Story, illustrated by Christian Robinson, and The Skunk, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, were named two of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2015 by The New York Times. Mac’s novels include the Brixton Brothers mysteries and  The Terrible Two series. He lives in Oakland, California.

Mac’s book: The Terrible Two Go Wild