Texas literacy advocate dies at age 68

Dr. Teri Lesesne, known to some as “the goddess of young adult literature,” died on August 31, 2021, after years of battling cancer. A Texas educational trailblazer and legend, Dr. Lesesne was an author, professor, middle school teacher, and literacy advocate. She touched the lives of many young authors, current and future librarians, and countless others and was especially passionate about connecting YA books to readers. She was known for saying that “the right book given to the right student at the right time would create a reader.”


A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native, Dr. Lesesne lived in Texas all her adult life. She graduated from the University of Houston in 1991. After teaching in middle school, she became a professor at Sam Houston State University, where she was affectionately known as Professor Nana. She taught in the Department of Library Science for the greater part of thirty years. The SHSU Library Science Department has announced plans for a celebration of Lesesne’s professional life and legacy are forthcoming.


Dr. Lesesne was also an active member of the Texas Library Association, receiving the 2020 Outstanding Library Services Award, and frequently spoke at TLA’s annual conferences.


Dr. Lesesne published three books: Reading Ladders, Making the Match, and Naked Reading. A fourth title, co-authored with Donalyn Miller, is forthcoming.