The 2019 Kirkus Reviews Tent

We’re pleased to once again partner with Kirkus Reviewsthe prominent American review magazine and one of the most trusted voices in book discovery, to present a full weekend of literary sessions for readers of all ages in the Kirkus Reviews Tent on Eleventh Street.

Kicking off the weekend is a high-power panel of the 2019 Kirkus Prize Finalists. The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. Don’t miss this chance to hear them talk about their acclaimed work.

The Kirkus Reviews Tent is in the center of the Festival, close to the Book Sales Tents and the C-Span2/BookTV Tent. Be sure to stop by!


Meet the 2019 Kirkus Prize Finalists!
10:00AM – 11:00AM, Saturday 10/26
Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading pre-publication journal of book reviews, is proud to sponsor the annual Kirkus Prize, which bestows $150,000 divided by three winning writers. At this panel, you’ll hear the finalists of this year’s Prize—some of this year’s most intriguing and insightful writers—talk about their most recent books. Featuring Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson (The Undefeated), Jerry Craft (The New Kid), Laila Lalami (The Other Americans), Rosalind Harvey (The Other Side), Alicia D. Williams (Genesis Begins Again). More authors to be announced!
Author(s): Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson, Jerry Craft, Laila Lalami, Rosalind Harvey, Alicia D. Williams

Forget Astronauts, Introducing The AstroNuts!
11:00 am – 11:45 am, Saturday, October 26
Uh-oh! Looks like humans have no place to go after Earth. Worry not! The AstroNuts are here! Hybridized to find other planets, AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are here to find another planet for humans to live. Join us as this major new series by kid lit legend Jon Scieszka and illustrator Steven Weinberg launches us into outer space adventure!
Author(s): Jon Scieszka, Steven Weinberg

The Undefeated with Kwame Alexander
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm, Saturday, October 26
Bestselling poet and Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander returns to the Texas Book Festival with a powerful, moving new picture book that celebrates black life in America and pays tribute to the struggle of black Americans. The Undefeated is a love letter to black life in the United States and is one of the most remarkable and beautiful new picture books of the year, a must for the shelf of readers young and old. Kwame is planning a special presentation that includes a musical performance!
Author(s): Kwame Alexander

Writing the Civil Rights Movement
1:15 pm – 2:00 pm, Saturday, October 26
Bestselling author Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball player Jackie Robinson, will be joined by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney and author Barry Wittenstein to discuss their new books that remember and celebrate the Civil Rights movement. What can young readers–and all of us–learn from the past?
Author(s): Sharon Robinson, Jerry Pinkney, Barry Wittenstein

When I Was a Kid: Writing Books Inspired by Our Childhoods
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm, Saturday, October 26
Newbery Award-winner Meg Medina (Merci Suarez Changes Gears), bestselling author Ibi Zoboi (My Life As An Ice Cream Sandwich), and Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (Proudest Blue) take the stage to share their latest books, all fictional stories inspired in different ways by their childhoods. This is a panel with major star power, featuring three of the biggest names in children’s literature who inspire kids every day with their words. Don’t miss it!
Author(s): Meg Medina, Ibi Zoboi, Ibtihaj Muhammad

No Treehouse is Complete without 117 Stories!
4:00 pm – 4:45 pm, Saturday, October 26
Get ready for another zainey adventure with Andy and Terry as they upgrade their tree house to 117 stories! We love this hilarious, bestselling series. This absurdly funny ninth book in the series will surely inspire you to have your own 117 story treehouse.
Author: Andy Griffiths


Repeating the Past: Historical Fiction About Turbulent Times
11:00 am – 11:45 am, Sunday, October 27
Spain under Franco in 1957 sets the scene for young Americans who find themselves faced with the dark shadow of fascism in Fountains of Silence, the highly anticipated new historical novel. Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence—inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.
Author: Ruta Sepetys

 Story For Miles: Writing Big Fiction
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm, Sunday, October 27
In an era of 7 second videos and 33 character tweets, two novelists dare to bring us sprawling epic stories that span generations and embrace multiple perspectives. Award winning author Elizabeth McCracken (Bowlaway) and debut author Namwali Serpell (The Old Drift) take on BIG family sagas that hold our attention.
Author(s): Elizabeth McCracken, Namwali Serpell

Everything We Didn’t Know: Riveting Memoirs of Family Secrets
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm, Sunday, October 27
In complex, beautiful memoirs, literary icons Dani Shapiro (Inheritance) and Adrienne Brodeur (Wild Game) explore the corrosive effects of long-held family secrets. With stories that reach far beyond the personal, these memoirs each pose larger questions about the nature of identity and what it means to rebuild in the aftermath of betrayal.
Author(s): Dani Shapiro, Adrienne Brodeur

We’ve Been Through It: Stories of Strength and Survival
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm, Sunday, October 27
True stories of making it through the hardest, darkest human experiences are some of the most powerful and shared literature on our shelves. But what does it take to write the books? Authors Laurie Halse Anderson (Shout), Jaquira Díaz (Ordinary Girls), Cyrus Dunham (A Year Without A Name), and Jeannie Vanasco (Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl) share their stories of strength, survival, and the power of the pen to transform.
Author(s): Laurie Halse Anderson, Jaquira Díaz, Cyrus Dunham, and Jeannie Vanasco

A Conversation with Rainbow Rowell
3:15 pm – 4:00 pm, Sunday, October 27
Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell sits down at Texas Book Fest to talk about her brand new book, Wayward Son, the sequel to her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Carry On. What happens when the hero’s journey is over? What comes next when your life has only just begun? Don’t miss this amazing conversation!
Author(s): Rainbow Rowell, Mariko Tamaki



All the YA Lit at Texas Book Fest!

Teens! A ton of amazing Young Adult authors will be at this year’s Fest. We’re once again bringing back YA HQ Tent on Congress, an entire tent dedicated to young adult authors and panels.

Tons of the year’s most exciting YA authors will be here, including Rainbow Rowell, Mariko Tamaki, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Hafsah Faizal and more. Come out to meet them and hear about their brand new books October 26-27!


Taking Care of Business: Kick-Butt Women in Fantastic Worlds
YA HQ Tent, 11:00 AM – 11:45 

The powerful women in these big new fantasy and sci fi novels are taking on the world to do what only they can do: save it from itself. From the Wild West to Wonderland to deep space, these authors talk about riveting new adventures that leave us feeling empowered and energized to take on our own worlds!
Authors: Charlotte Nicole Davis, L.L. McKinney, Nicky Drayden
Moderator: Katrina Ashton

Confronting Injustice: New YA About Major Issues
YA HQ Tent, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

One of the most important things stories can do is encourage us to become more engaged with the world around us. In their new novels, these authors show us characters who stand up for what they believe in and make change in their communities. What are you capable of changing? Come be inspired by these stories!
Authors: Kekla Magoon, Rafi Mittlefehldt, Mitali Perkins
Moderator: Vanessa Lee

Matters of the Heart: Modern Love Stories
YA HQ Tent, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Love is great… until it sucks. Oh, but even then, relationships are so interesting to discuss. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or have sworn off love forever, grab a seat while we talk about the different kinds of love and heartbreak in these new books, from star-crossed love on the border, to two teenage girls outed in a small Texas town, to a graphic novel about a girlfriend who just will not go away.

Authors:Rubén Degollado, Brynne Rebele-Henry, Mariko Tamaki
Moderator: Anna Lyon

Dramatic Destinies: Death-Defying Stories of Daring and Courage
YA HQ Tent, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM

Death-defying feats of deception, daring, cunning and courage fill these page-turning adventures. It’s going to be a wild ride as the authors dive in and tell us how they create these imaginative, carefully-plotted stories that keep us reading way past our bedtime.
Authors: Hafsah Faizal, Maureen Johnson, Mary Pearson
Moderator: Princess Jones Curtis


On Our Own Terms: Creating the Lives We Want
YA HQ Tent, 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM

The world can be a lot to bear sometimes. Like, way too much. When that happens, the worlds we create for ourselves with music, friends, and our own imaginations can literally save us. But what happens when that salvation stops working? These authors share new stories where personal survival takes unique forms–and faces its own unforeseen consequences.

Authors: Audrey Coulthurst, Paula Garner, Morgan Parker
Moderator: Leticia Urieta

Wise Warriors and Epic Adventures
YA HQ Tent, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Acts of daring and drama tear across these new novels, where wit and bravery save worlds, battle injustice, and take on enemies across the ages. Dive deep into these tales of vengeance and justice and find out how these authors fuel the fire of these stories.

Authors: Tochi Onyebuchi, Lilliam Rivera, Sherry Thomas
Moderator: Natalia Sylvester

What I Never Told You: Spinning Secrets and Uncovering Truths
YA HQ Tent, 2:00-2:45

Secrets spin at the heart of all of these new novels. From the truth behind a rap song that’s gone viral, to the unspoken traumas of family history, to a character’s deepest desires to make more of his life, to uncovering the truth behind a murder, each author explores the implications and consequences of what we do and don’t reveal, to ourselves and the people we care about most.

Authors: Tiffany D. Jackson, Jennifer D. Mathieu, Matthew Mendez, Randy Ribay
Moderator: Kendra Fortmeyer

A Conversation with Rainbow Rowell
Kirkus Reviews Tent, Sunday October 27, 3:15-4:00

Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell sits down at Texas Book Fest to talk about her brand new book, Wayward Son, the sequel to her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Carry On. What happens when the hero’s journey is over? What comes next when your life has only just begun? Don’t miss this amazing conversation!

Authors: Rainbow Rowell
Moderator: Mariko Tamaki


2019 Texas Writer Award Winner: Attica Locke!

Every year, the Texas Book Festival awards the Texas Writer Award to one author who has significantly contributed to the state’s literary landscape. These authors put Lone Star narratives on the national radar, connecting people everywhere to the depths and  joys of Texas literature. Previous recipients include Sandra Cisneros, James Magnuson, Dan Rather, and Benjamin Alire Sánez, as well as many, many other talented individuals.

This year, we are so excited to present this award to Attica Locke, author of five notable novels, including Bluebird, Bluebird and the recently-published Heaven, my Home. A native of Houston, Locke often sets her novels along the thoroughfares that connect Houston to its surrounding small East Texas towns, centering Texas narratives in a big way. Her legal fiction highlights the pervasiveness of racism and social inequity, explores the persistence of the past in the present, and showcases how one situation involves many involved, complex layers.

Locke’s writing grandeur extends beyond the novel and into television, having worked as a writer for Empire and recently on the Netflix special When They See Us. She is also working on a forthcoming Netflix adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere.  Attica Locke’s writing is dynamic, illuminative, and downright entertaining, and we are so excited to honor her at this year’s Festival.

Attica Locke was presented with the Texas Writer Award on Saturday, October 26th in the House Chamber at the Texas Book Festival.

Free Family Fun at Texas Book Fest!

Calling all young book lovers! There’s so much to learn, explore, and do at this year’s Texas Book Festival! Kids on Congress, our Congress Avenue thoroughfare highlighting exciting kids authors and activities, is back and better than ever. In fact, it’s so robust, we can’t even fit it all on Congress Avenue! Whether you’re a picture book reader, YA fanatic, or chapter book lover, we’ve got something for you. You don’t want to miss out on these free, all-day events, including author storytimes, live music, hands on activities, and giveaways!

Explore the Festival with a Kid’s Passport


Stop by the Children’s Activity Tent and pick up a Kid’s Passport! Return your passport at the end of the day with at least five stamps from specific activities — such as meeting a new friend, reading a new book, and visiting the Kirkus Reviews tent — and get a free small scoop of Amy’s ice cream!

Where’s Waldo? At Texas Book Fest!


2017 Texas Book Festival

Make sure to keep an eye out for everyone’s favorite hidden, red stripe-wearing character, Waldo! Candlewick Press is presenting a Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt, scattering several Waldo cutouts throughout the Festival grounds. You can pick up the scavenger hunt forms at the Children’s Activity Tent, but also be on the lookout for a real-life Waldo running around Congress Avenue!

How to See Sonia Sotomayor at Texas Book Fest

U.S. Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be in conversation about her new picture book, Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You in the House Chamber at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, October 27 at 11:30AM. Afterwards, she will sign books. Space is limited. Please read the full event guidelines if you’d like to attend.

Must-See Authors at First United Methodist Church!

Saturday, October 26 at 10:00AM
Graphix Con: Great New Graphic Novels for Young Readers
featuring Raina Telgemeier, Gale Galligan, and Molly Ostertag!

Saturday, October 26 at 12:45PM
The Power of Kindness and Wonder: R. J. Palacio in Conversation

Read Me A Story Tent: The Spot for Picture Books


We’re so happy to bring some of today’s best picture book authors and illustrators to this year’s Festival, including Judy Schachner, Kat Zhang, Eric Velasquez, Isabel Quintero, Matt Tavares, and many more! With new storytimes beginning every 30 minutes, this tent invites kids to interact authors and illustrators while understanding they may have to get up and get their wiggles out, too! Search “Read Me A Story” on our schedule to see the full list of authors, illustrators, and storytimes!

Children’s Authors in the Latinx Lit Tent!


This year’s bilingual storytimes in the Latinx Lit Tent bring Tania de Regil, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Megan and Jorge Lacera to Congress Avenue! Additionally, make sure to catch Saturday’s celebration of the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Book Award winners with David Bowles and Xelena Gonzalez. 

Children’s Authors in the Kirkus Reviews Tent


Don’t miss some of our favorite picture book, chapter book, and YA authors in the Kirkus Review Tent! Kwame Alexander brings us The Undefeated; Steven Weinberg and Jon Scieszka are going AstroNuts, and Andy Griffiths invites us to imagine his 117-story treehouse! This is where you’ll also find special conversations with Ibtihaj Muhammad, Ibi Zoboi, Meg Medina, and Sharon Robinson. And don’t miss YA superstar Rainbow Rowell in conversation with Mariko Tamaki!

Next Chapter Tent: The Spot for Middle Grade Readers


Magic, animal adventures, and spies, oh my! The Next Chapter Tent will feature a variety of panels for middle grade readers and early chapter book lovers. Plus — we’ll be teaming up with the Texas Library Association to announce this year’s Texas Bluebonnet Award winners! Check out the full schedule in the Next Chapter Tent and come ready to ask questions and learn about the big adventures in these books!

The YA HQ Tent: All Young Adult Authors, All the Time

The Young Adult HQ Tent is back this year, giving YA lovers of all ages a chance to dive into fantastic worlds, epic quests, unique situations, star-crossed love stories, and some with happy endings, too. Join young heroes and heroines as they solve the world’s problems, save the adults and the planet, and find how to love themselves and others. Featuring tons of authors, including Maureen Johnson, Tochi Onyebuchi, L. L. McKinney, Jennifer Mathieu, and so many more! Check out the full YA HQ schedule here.

And don’t miss bestselling YA author Rainbow Rowell in the Kirkus Reviews Tent on Sunday, October 27 at 3:15PM! She’ll be in conversation with Mariko Tamaki about Wayward Son, the highly-anticipated follow up to Carry On!

So Much More Fun To Have!


2018 Texas Book Festival

YA publisher FIREreads and children’s book club Literati will be on-site at 10th and Congress with various interactive activities for kids of all ages. You won’t want to miss this fun opportunity for a hands-on Festival experience with these two fantastic, book-centric communities! And while you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop by the Penguin Young Readers outpost in our Next Chapter tent. The wonderful Penguin team will be giving away goodies throughout the day, so get ready middle grade readers!

Many thanks to St. David’s HealthCare for bringing Hook’em, UT’s lovable mascot, to our Festival grounds.

We’re so excited for a great, fun weekend! Check out our author lineup for a complete list of the authors at this year’s Festival.

Texas Book Fest Q&A with Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is the author of the middle grade novel The Dactyl Hill Squad: Freedom Fire

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? 

Daniel José Older: I was studying Civil War era New York for a rock opera project about old Brooklyn and I ended up with so much info my head that I didn’t know what to do with. When I came across a group of Cuban girls who had been left at the Colored Orphan Asylum, I wondered if they would’ve been good at riding pterodactyls and the Dactyl Hill Squad series was born.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

DJO: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi is one of the most brilliant, fun, sad, engaging, downright thrilling books I’ve read in ages. It’s so so so great. Read it.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

Yikes, I’m not sure, but one of my earliest memories of being completely swept up in a book was reading a scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where it was pouring rain and then looking up shocked because it was actually a sunny day outside.

Daniel José Older is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! Check out all of this year’s authors.

Texas Book Fest Q&A with Eric Silverstein

Eric Silverstein is the author of The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration?

Eric Silverstein: Originally, my agent and I were trying to circulate a pitch for a memoir. The food truck business is rough and we wanted to tell the story of trying to go from food truck to restaurant. When that pitch never got picked up, we pivoted to a cookbook/memoir.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

ES: The E-Myth. It’s a book about being an entrepreneur, and the pitfalls most entrepreneurs and small business owners make. At the surface, the book can read kind of basic and simplistic. You read it and you think “I could run a business better than this.” “These are basic mistakes.” But the reality is I made those same mistakes once I started a company of my own. I look back on that book and shake my head. I guess I should have read it twice.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

ES: When I was really young I used to read the Berenstain Bears. I vividly remember reading The Witch by Roald Dahl. I used to read all of his books as a kid (Matilda, The Twits). I think I picked it up at the bookstore with my mom.


Eric Silverstein is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! Check out all of this year’s authors.

Texas Book Fest Q&A with Emiliana Puyana

Emiliana Puyana is the editor of We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? (What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?)

Emiliana Puyana: To tell the stories of the women who make up our program. To create a platform to celebrate the kinds of people who make up the sort of communities that we at La Cocina believe can and should exist in every corner of the globe. And, to celebrate the communities that thrive today despite a system of oppression and marginalization.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? 

EP: High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? 

EP: Green Eggs & Ham


Emiliana Puyana is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! Check out all of this year’s authors.

Texas Book Fest Q&A with Cassy Joy Garcia

Cassy Joy Garcia is the author of Cook Once Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration?

Cassy Joy Garcia: The inspiration really came from the Fed and Fit readers! So many of them wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, but found it difficult to actually cook healthy meals each night. Many had tried meal prepping before, but found it overwhelming to spend a full day cooking and found that they were tired of leftovers halfway through the week. I knew there HAD to be a better way. A way to save time, money, mental energy, and not have to eat leftovers all week. So, I got to work on different meal prep methods, and Cook Once, Eat All Week was born!

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good? 

CJG: Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui. Profound and masterful poetics of the Southwest and Diné ideology. Also, Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg. The short story is my favorite form/genre and Eisenberg is certainly the best.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang by Ian Fleming. Somewhere between 4th and 5th grade we were let loose in a library and encouraged to find books to read for a BookIt program. The cover had a flying car, so why not?


Cassy Joy Garcia is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! Check out all of this year’s authors.

Texas Book Fest Q&A with Ibi Zoboi

Texas Book Festival is excited to welcome Ibi Zoboi to the 2019 Texas Book Festival! Zoboi is the author of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwicha story about the sci-fi obsessed 12 year-old Ebony-Grace finding her place while visiting her father in Harlem in 1984.

TBF: What was the inspiration for your book? 

Ibi Zoboi: I wanted to write about a character I’ve never seen in books–a highly imaginative nerdy black girl who is trying so hard to make sense of her world and her place in it. I was inspired by the music and overall zeitgeist of the early 1980s, mainly the space race, science fiction, and early hip hop. I found common ground in all three of these things and they converge in the summer of 1984 in Harlem. My science-fiction obsessed character is the only one who can see how they are all connected. 

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

Ibi Zoboi: Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. It covers a the topic of colorism that I’ve rarely seen done in children’s literature. I love the voice and the harsh realities the author brings to light.  

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

Ibi Zoboi: Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I don’t remember, but I was nine and obsessed with that one famous line.

Ibi Zoboi is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! To learn about more children’s and young adult authors appearing at this year’s Festival check out Kids On Congress

Recommended Reading: Books That Amplify Our Voices

Pictured above: Austin authors Juli Berwald and ire’ne lara silva, with TBF Literary Director Julie Wernersbach, laugh along with a gathering of local readers and writers.

Last week, we kicked off our quarterly Book Tips and Sips series at Prohibition Creamery. I sat down with authors ire’ne lara silva and Juli Berwald to talk about books that inspire us, encourage us to amplify our voices, and motivate us to engage beyond the page with big ideas and action in our communities.

The conversation ranged across many topics and looked at books about the environment, women’s rights, grief, untold history, and more. We received some great recommendations from the audience, including What if It’s Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera (a story told in dual perspectives of two boys who meet in a post office and then try to find one another); What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (a good look at how to think clean and clear when the mind is scattered); Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli (a look at immigration and the systems that handle undocumented children in America); and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (“Dystopia always makes us want to be better!”)

Our featured writers gave us some terrific book recs, which you can peruse below. I scribbled notes as fast as I could, trying to catch all of the brilliant summaries and perspectives silva and Berwald had on these great reads. Enjoy!

Join us for the next installment of Book Tips and Sips at Prohibition Creamery on Tuesday, May 7 from 5:30 – 7:00pm when we talk summer reading picks with Austin writers Maya Perez and Amy Gentry. 


Recommended by Juli Berwald

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Originally published in 1971, Boom recounts her family’s story of hiding Jews during World War II and their subsequent imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. The author was the family’s only survivor. In addition to serving as a reminder of this period of history, it also holds up moments of the family’s glory in the midst of terrible situations.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Her voice, her story; we all know this book is incredible and has been in the hands of so many readers of all ages, despite censorship in school districts such as Katy, Texas. A well-written story about a difficult subject, this novel is an example of how fiction can speak to our current moment.

Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
An engrossing book about what we can learn from moss. Seriously, this book is fascinating! It’s a close-up look at ecology, environmental health, and how the organisms that live in moss can be an indication of change. Our planet is rich with life! 

Archangel by Andrea Barrett
This book is a wonderful example of how the natural world is exalted in the hands of a skilled writer who reminds us how precious our planet is by demonstrating how beautiful it is, and how beautifully it can be written. 

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The story of the author’s friendship with an unlikely companion, a snail who makes a home on her nightstand, demonstrating how much there is to learn by being quiet and attentive to our world. 

Life and Death in a Coral Sea by Jacques-Yves Cousteau
For all his faults, Cousteau pointed us towards the need to protect our oceans. In 1971, he was calling attention to dying coral reefs and was surprised by how much our oceans were at risk. This book serves as a good measure of what the status quo was then, so that we might evaluate our interpretations, responses, and actions now.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck
Sometimes, it’s fun to simply remember the sea. In this work by Steinbeck, you see history fleshed out it in the story and bodies, and think about how the story parallels now and how history has shaped the present.

The Dragon Behind the Glass by Emily Voigt
Voigt discovers the most expensive fish in the world and goes on a mission to find its remaining wild populations. The book talks about the importance of taxonomy, how things are related to one another, and demonstrates how Voigt’s understanding of our planet shifted.


Recommended by ire’ne lara silva

Shame the Stars Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Set in South Texas in 1915, this retelling of Romeo and Juliet illuminates a time in Texas history when the Mexican Revolution took hold of one side of the border while Texas Rangers confronted Tejanos on the other. 

Future Home of the Living God Louise Erdrich
A story of evolution gone wrong, written as a letter from a woman to her unborn child and touching on women’s rights. Reviewers missed the point of this novel when it was first published. This isn’t entertainment so much as a look at the apocalypse of the conquest, as if Walking Dead told a story of indigenous people. 

Citizens of the Mausoleum Rodney Gomez
Poems about grief that go beyond personal grief to look at our larger community and cultural losses. 

Invocation to Daughters Barbara Jane Reyes
Reyes is a Filipina writer who completely inhabits her rage and turns it into fuel, exploring the places women are permitted to inhabit. 

Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality by Gloria Anzaldua
Full of epiphanies! Published thirteen years after the writer’s death, this work is about more than physical borders; she’s writing about liminal frontiers, places of conflict and intersection, looking at things holistically and how to describe life, creativity, spirituality while bringing all of your pieces to bear.