“The conversations sparked by these titles might be difficult, maybe at times uncomfortable, but that is part of the process and should be embraced rather than feared.”
The Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) invites libraries, community nonprofits, and readers statewide to join in its 2021 reading campaign. Read Across Texas: Recovery kicked off last month, with libraries signing up to facilitate reading and discussion opportunities exploring what “recovery” could mean within their communities.
Read Across Texas: Recovery offers libraries a broad canvas for convening individuals and groups to explore the unique questions, challenges, and solidarity that can occur in communities throughout the state. During a period of extreme difficulties, isolation, and loss, the TCFB recognizes the importance of sharing our stories to build understanding and support. Literature can be one of the many routes to recovery. This year’s campaign features four book selections that will give communities a platform to engage in challenging, insightful, and transformative conversations.
Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here by Nancy Wayson Dinan considers questions of history and empathy and brings a pre-apocalyptic landscape both foreign and familiar to shockingly vivid life. This title will be available for Texans in e-book format in May and June. This title is one of Lone Star Lit’s “Best of 2020” picks.
All of a Sudden and Forever by Chris Barton, illustrated by Nicole Xu, considers tragedy, hope, and healing and was released to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. This title will be available for Texans in e-book format in May and June.
We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by José Andrés (with Richard Wolfe) describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future. This title will be available for Texans in e-book format in May and June.
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner documents Rather’s witness to historical change, offering a map to trace where we have been and what might be a way forward to heal division.
“The conversations sparked by these titles might be difficult, maybe at times uncomfortable, but that is part of the process and should be embraced rather than feared,” said Mark Smith, State Librarian and director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). “These books offer starting points for discovery.”
This year, thanks to E-Read Texas, access to the e-book versions of We Fed an Island, All of a Sudden and Forever, and Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here will be available to all Texas residents in May and June. Activities for Read Across Texas begin in March, but participating organizations may conduct programs throughout the spring and summer. The TCFB will host an online author panel on May 18. Additionally, organizations can access an online step-by-step facilitator toolkit that includes materials such as a how-to guide, additional recommended titles, digital resources, and links to recovery-specific discussion questions. The toolkit along with the program registration form and details are available at tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas.
Established in 1987, the Texas Center for the Book seeks to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. The center builds partnerships with library professionals, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers who provide support to their shared mission of promoting a love of literature throughout the Lone Star State. The Texas Center for the Book is under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.