National Book Foundation's BookUpTexas
BOOKUPTEXAS STUDENTS ATTEND CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI READING
On April 15, our BookUpTexas students went to Houston’s Brazos Bookstore to see Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni read from and discuss her work. Divakaruni is an award-winning author, poet, and teacher, and she was a National Book Awards Fiction Judge in 2000.
New BookUp Site Opens in Huntsville, Texas
In January 2012, BookUpTX opened a new site in Huntsville at the Boys & Girls Club of Walker County. Writer-instructor Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion says, “We had a fantastic turnout from the start, with fifteen to twenty students attending each week. At the end of the semester, the kids said they couldn't wait until fall to get ‘more cool books!’"
The new site services middle-school children in a unique rural community. Huntsville is the seat of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which operates five prisons within the city’s limits and two more within the county. TDCJ is far and away the biggest employer in the area. Many parents working for the prison system have been hit hard by the recession as a result of the state's budget deficit. “We want this program to raise the hopes of the kids in our community while helping them become better readers. As every book lover knows, a good novel opens up the world,” Nowlin-O’Banion says.
Anyone interested in donating to this BookUpTX site should contact Amanda Nowlin-O'Banion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BookUp Texas Students Interview Author Thane Rosenbaum
Students in BookUp Texas in Brazos Valley, led by author Angie Cruz, read Thane Rosenbaum’s The Stranger Within Sarah Stein earlier this spring. Rosenbaum answered a few of their questions via email.
BookUp Texas Students Interview 2011 NBA Winner Thanhha Lai
Students in our BookUp Texas program recently had a Skype conversation with Thanhha Lai, Winner of the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for her novel-in-verse, Inside Out & Back Again. Afterward, Lai was kind enough to answer the students’ follow-up questions via email.
BookUp Students Interview Author Helena María Viramontes
Helena María Viramontes visited our BookUp Texas site through Texas A&M University’s Brazos Valley Reads program. After a wonderful class visit with Angie Cruz and her students, Viramontes was kind enough to answer a few of the kids’ follow-up questions via email.
Since 2007, we have been proud to administer BookUp, an after-school program for middle-school students, at five sites in New York City. In September, 2010, BookUp expanded to a new site at the Boys & Girls Club of Brazos Valley, Texas, led by instructor Angie Cruz and our very first BookUp Fellow, Casie Cobos. The new site began with a small group of just five students, but over the course of its first semester, membership grew to a total of twenty students. Generous financial support from the Education Department of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum goes toward purchasing books for BookUpTX participants and funding their field trips to literary destinations.
Angie Cruz is the author of two novels, Soledad (2001) and Let it Rain Coffee (2005). Her work has earned numerous honors, including the Camargo Fellowship, the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and residencies at Yaddo and the Macdowell Colony. Her shorter works have appeared in the New York Times, the Indiana Review, and the Callaloo Literary Journal. Angie currently teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University, where she is at work on her third novel, In Search of Caridad.
Marcos Del Hierro
Marcos Del Hierro is a PhD student at Texas A&M University studying Cultural Rhetorics and Writing. His work primarily looks at how hiphop methods and tactics can produce positive community change. He currently teaches freshman writing classes at Texas A&M, and he has worked for the Upward Bound program, which works with at-risk high school students to help them prepare for college.
For more information, visit:
Boys & Girls Club of Brazos Valley
Angie Cruz, Department of English, Texas A&M University:
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum:
On March 27, 2011, the BookUpTX group took an hour-and-forty-five-minute bus ride to Houston, where they had lunch at the Downtown Aquarium and then shopped at the independent Brazos Bookstore. It was many of the students’ first time in Houston, and all of the students’ first experience visiting a small, independent bookstore. As is the custom in BookUp, the students received $25 each to purchase books for their own home libraries. The group then continued on to Pershing Middle School, where YA author Rebecca Stead read from her work, took questions from the audience, signed books, and posed for a photo with the group.