BookUp students interview author Rebecca Stead

BookUp Students from CAMBA at M.S. 25 in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, led by instructor Willie Perdomo, read When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead earlier this year. They sent her some questions about Liar & Spy, which she was kind enough to answer.


BookUp: Why did you write about a twelve-year-old drinking coffee?

Rebecca Stead: I wanted to write about a kid who’s a little bit of a puzzle. At first I thought maybe he was just pretending to drink coffee, but by the time I finished the story and really understood Safer and his family, I realized he was probably drinking the real thing. Not that I recommend it. I don’t let my actual twelve-year-old son drink coffee, for instance.

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BookUp students interview with YA author Lisa Schroeder

Students from our BookUpNYC site at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn recently read I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder. BookUp instructor Lissette Norman said her students loved the book so much that they chose to keep reading it during two BookUp sessions instead of doing an activity. The students sent us a few questions to pass on to Schroeder, who was generous enough to answer via email.

BookUp: Is the book I Heart You, You Haunt Me based on a true story?

Lisa Schroeder: No, I actually had a dream about a girl whose boyfriend died, but he loved her so much he didn’t want to leave her. I woke up feeling a strong sense of love, and I really wanted to write about the teens in the dream. I didn’t know their names, I didn’t know how the guy died, I didn’t know much, except there was sadness and love. I don’t like scary things, so I knew it wouldn’t be a scary ghost story, but something different. As I started writing, Ava seemed to feel guilty, but I didn’t know why. I kept writing, trying to discover how he died, but nothing came to me. One day I was talking to a friend about the story, and she told me about something that happened when she was in high school—at a party a kid jumped off a cliff into the water below and was killed. It gave me chills, because as soon as she said it, I knew it was perfect for the book.


i heart you you heart me by lisa schroeder coverBU: Is it easier or harder to write a book in verse?

LS: This is a hard question to answer because each book is different and each book, no matter how it’s written, usually has things that are easy and other things that are difficult. But I guess, for me, verse is a little easier than prose. My brain seems to work well in trying to describe things in a short, poetic way. Other authors are gifted at being able to write long, beautiful paragraphs of description. That is not me! However, it can be difficult trying to balance the story and the poetry. Story should always be the most important thing, yet I’m constantly worried about being criticized for not being poetic enough. It’s a fine line that has to be walked throughout the entire novel. So it’s not exactly easy.


BU: Do you also write poetry?

LS: I’ve dabbled in poetry throughout the years, yes, but I don’t write much anymore, mostly because of lack of time. When I first started writing, I wrote rhyming picture book stories, which, to me, are like poetry. It’s not just the end words rhyming; it’s very much about rhythm and the words chosen to tell the story. Like I said, I seem to have a brain that enjoys that kind of writing.


BU: Who were some of your favorite authors when you were younger?

LS: I didn’t read a lot as a teen, probably because there wasn’t the wide selection of YA books there is now! You guys are so lucky to have so many books to choose from. But I read a lot when I was like 8-12 years old, and I especially loved Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.


BU: Do you get ideas for your books from dreams you’ve had?

I’ve only had one dream that inspired a book. I wish it would happen more often! People always seem to be interested in where authors get their ideas, and really, inspiration is everywhere. I’ve been inspired by a song, by a story in the news, by a line in another book, and also just by brainstorming ideas. I keep a journal specifically for ideas, and I write all kinds of things in there—words and names I like and little seeds of ideas. I think keeping an idea journal is one of the best things an aspiring writer can do.


BU: Will you publish the book about the lion that you wrote when you were a young girl?

LS: One of the things I tell kids when I visit schools is that we don’t always have to write hoping for publication. I wrote for many, many years just because I enjoyed it. That little book I wrote was just for fun, and it’s actually not a very good story and no one else would really like it, trust me. So no, I won’t try to get it published. And even now, sometimes I write a story and I’m not sure if it’s good enough to be published, but I like writing, and so I write the book for myself and I don’t worry about what anyone else might think. I still have projects that don’t sell, but that’s okay. I am a writer because I love writing. And like anything else—sports, music, art—the only way I improve is by practicing a lot. For any of you who enjoy writing, I encourage you to write for yourself first and foremost. Write because it brings you joy. If anything happens after that—if it’s good enough to be published, great. And if not, it’s okay, because you had fun writing it!


Lisa Schroeder is a native Oregonian which means her childhood summers were spent camping, fishing, reading books (of course!), and playing in the sun, when it finally came out. These days, Lisa spends her summers, and every other part of the year, sharing all of the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of numerous books for kids and teens, including The Day Before (Simon Pulse, 2011) and Sprinkles and Secrets (Aladdin, 2011).

Interview with Tim Manley, artist, storyteller, and BookUp instructor

Tim Manley is a BookUp instructor, longtime Moth storyteller, and multigenre artist. His first book, Alice in Tumblr-Land, was published by Penguin in 2013. His first one-person show, Feelings, is running at FringeNYC through August 29.

NBF: What drew you to BookUp originally?
TM: I used to be a high school English teacher here in New York City, and I feel like BookUp is just the most fun parts of being a teacher. From my point of view, BookUp’s real goal is just to have fun with kids with reading. What could possibly engender a love of reading more than the pure joy of being given a book and not being tested, when it’s just for fun?

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BookUp Expands to Detroit, MI

The NBF has expanded BookUp, it’s afterschool reading program, to Detroit, MI in partnership with locally-based InsideOut Literary Arts Project (iO). For eight years, BookUp has worked in underserved communities throughout New York City to put books into the hands of middle school students and inspire them to become lifelong readers. For the past twenty years, InsideOut has helped strengthen the voices of more than 50,000 of Detroit’s youth through writing workshops and mentorships. Detroit is the NBF’s first partner city, and the BookUp iO Detroit site represents the first step in an ongoing expansion effort.

“BookUp has achieved tremendous results in New York, and we see Detroit as a city that welcomes new initiatives to address literacy and educational equality,” said Leslie Shipman, Assistant Director of the NBF and founder of the BookUp program. “We see InsideOut Literary Arts Project not just as an expert in how BookUp can accomplish its goals in Detroit, but also as an important ally in our mission to promote reading among young people.”

Inside Outs literary arts logoBookUp sites are all led by acclaimed local writers, helping to bring new depth and excitement to reading lists and books selected by students. To date, BookUp has given away over 25,000 books to its students, often establishing their first home library. Shawntai Brown, a playwright, poet, and iO writer-in-residence living in Detroit, will be BookUp iO Detroit’s instructor, meeting weekly with a group of approximately 20 students at the Garvey Academy.

“As an organization founded on the belief that young people want and deserve opportunities to engage deeply with literature, InsideOut sees the launch of our first BookUp site as a natural extension of our mission,” said Alise Alousi, Associate Director of iO. “We share BookUp’s belief that there’s a powerful level of engagement that happens when professional writers become part of a school community. We look forward to growing our work with BookUp iO Detroit and with the young readers of Marcus Garvey Academy.”

The launch of the BookUp iO Detroit site will be celebrated with a book giveaway at 11 a.m. on October 19 at Garvey Academy. All students in the BookUp iO Detroit program will receive a free copy of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, Longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Leslie Shipman and Alise Alousi will give remarks alongside James Hearn, Principal of Garvey Academy.

Shawn tai Brown works with students as part of BookUp iO Detroit at Garvey Academy from National Book Foundation on Vimeo.

Questions about the BookUp iO Detroit site and/or requests to attend the site launch should be directed to [email protected].

About the InsideOut Literary Arts Project

iO is a nationally recognized hub of creativity for K-12 students in Detroit who are curious about exploring their worlds through the power of poetry. Since 1995, iO has helped to amplify the voices of thousands of students by dispatching established and emerging poets and writers into classrooms. The writers conduct creative workshops work side-by-side with students over the course of the year, helping them to create poems, stories, artwork and stage-ready performance pieces. Students contribute to their school’s literary journal, which is published and presented by iO at the end of each year during in-school galas.

In 2009, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities tapped iO as one of the country’s top youth arts programs with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. What began as a tiny idea in the heart of one teacher, founder Dr. Terry Blackhawk, continues to blossom into a grand example of the literary arts helping students leap over academic obstacles to express themselves as leaders now.

Interview with Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion, Writer, Educator, and BookUP Texas Instructor

Started in 2011 in Huntsville, TX, BookUpTexas is one of our longest running BookUp sites, facilitated by writer and educator Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion. Amanda took the time to chat with BookUp about how the program has helped the community, the books her students loved, and the success they’ve had as readers.

BookUp: What drew you to the BookUp program?

Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion: I had a difficult time reading in middle school. A program like BookUp would have introduced me to a wider variety of books, and maybe I would have fallen in love with one. The fastest way to turn a struggling reader into a fluent reader is to give that person a book s/he can’t put down, even when the process of moving from sentence to sentence is excruciatingly slow.


[pullquote align=”right” cite=”Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion” link=”” color=”#FBC900″ class=”” size=””]We know reading improves literacy and stories take us away from our problems, but they can also show us new, different, hopeful versions of the world.[/pullquote]

BookUp: Huntsville is a town that seats the Texas Criminal Justice Department, including five prisons within the city limits and two more in the county. How has BookUpTexas been able to help this unique community?

ANO: It’s also the town where I grew up. Many, many of us in this community know someone who is locally incarcerated. To make visitations easier, families often move here to be closer to loved ones who are locked up. BookUp can be especially useful for these kids. We know reading improves literacy and stories take us away from our problems, but they can also show us new, different, hopeful versions of the world. I’ve taught in most of the prisons in Huntsville, and I can tell you, books provide the same service to the men inside.

BookUp: Diversity plays a huge role in how BookUp can reach students. Can you talk about the diverse titles that BookUpTexas students have responded to?

ANO: Last year’s BookUp group picked [National Book Award winner] Brown Girl Dreaming as their favorite book. That group was made up mostly of Hispanic and African American girls. Regardless of their backgrounds, each saw her reflection in Jacqueline Woodson’s images. In January, we’re headed to Houston on a field trip to see Ms. Woodson read. The students are beside themselves. Other beloved books are Confetti Girl, One Crazy Summer, and The Skin I’m In.

Photo of BookUp Instagram projectBookUp: A unique part of BookUp is making reading interactive. What have been some ways BookUpTexas has made reading interactive for their students?

ANO: Lately, we’ve been using readers’ theatre, art projects, and cork board Instagram and Snapchat posts. In the latter, bulletin boards represent social media portals, but kids have to use paper and markers to draw what they want to post. Sometimes they take on the persona of the author or a character. Other times, they post as the fantastically curious readers they really are.

BookUp: The blog Disability in Kidlit recently published a piece about how we need more disabled heroes in stories. You mentioned your students loving El Deafoby Cece Bell for featuring a special needs character. What was the experience of reading that like?

ANO: This semester we’ve read three books about kids with special needs. El Deafo was one of them. Adults sometimes focus on the defining vulnerabilities of special needs children. Average-needs kids, I’m finding, don’t recognize these vulnerabilities because they aren’t socialized to see and interact with children who have special needs. El Deafo, Wonder, and Out of My Mind have created personal connections between characters and readers, which help BookUp kids recognize that the emotional vulnerabilities of a special needs child are very much like all kids’ emotional vulnerabilities, only amplified in some cases. After El Deafo, BookUp students could say, “Hey, me and Cece, we are the same. We have the same fears about being accepted and liked.” Kids bond when they can be vulnerable together in a safe space, and there is no safer place to process insecurities than with a book.

BookUp: Is there a BookUp experience that stands out to you?

ANO: One BookUp student’s teacher recently wrote to me about the great strides the student is making in Language Arts. He asked this teacher to email me a picture of him holding a reading assessment with a red 100 circled at the top. He is so happy in the picture, the kind of stunned happiness you see in the faces of people who’ve won the lottery. But this kid earned it, and he directly connected the achievement to his new interest in reading fun books. This assessment, he told me later, was one of the few he had passed and his first A.

BookUp: How has working with BookUp affected you?

ANO: BookUp is a reliable source of joy. I’m tapped into something good, something pure and helpful. It’s taught me how to be a better parent. How to be a better teacher and a better writer. It’s made me hopeful about the future of the human race. These kids are damn smart.

Students Share BookUp with Reading Rainbow


“In BookUp, we get free books to keep. These books have influenced me to read more than I ever did before. Most of the books that we get are interesting and enjoyable. Now that I’ve found an interest in reading, doing my homework like completing my reading log is much easier. I read almost every day. On the train, instead of turning to my phone for entertainment, I’m now reading.”

In a guest post for Reading Rainbow, Eisa Ulen Richardson, author of the novel Crystelle Mourning and a BookUp instructor, ask her students to share how BookUp has changed their lives.  Read more.

Video interview with Sofia Quintero, author and BookUp instructor

Longtime BookUp instructor Sofia Quintero published her second young adult novel, Show and Prove, last month. Show and Prove follows two friends, Smiles and Nike, as they try to keep their friendship together while attending separate schools.

Below, Quintero shares her thoughts on growing up in the 80s, not writing in proper English, and the influence that young adult novelists had on her authentic writing voice.

National Book Foundation: What drew you to teaching for BookUp? What about the program’s philosophy resonated with you?

Sofia Quintero: One of the reasons why I love being a teaching artist for BookUp New York City is because of the age group that it targets. We work with tweens. Middle school grades. That’s a key time in a young person’s literary history. That’s the time when they’re still open to reading, but there are other things that are starting to interest them that can pull them out of their reading habits. It’s a critical time to make the reading habits stick, but at the same time it’s not pulling teeth to try to get them to read in the first place.

I particularly love where I work because I was born, raised, and still live in the Bronx. I work in a Bronx location, so it’s very fulfilling to me to be working in my home borough, and working with kids that are a lot like me and who can see themselves in me. My own teaching philosophy is to expose them to books that they might not otherwise read, particularly authors of color, authors whose stories are based in New York City. That’s not all that we read, because I really do take into account what might interest them. But I find that there are a lot of authors, stories, and books that they would really relate to and that would really resonate with them that will keep them reading, but that they have never heard of. So I really make it a point not to expose them to things that they’re going to read already in school.


A lot of times, people say that people read to escape. But I think if you come from any community that is underrepresented, in any kind of media, whether that’s around race, around class, or sexual orientation, religion, whatever it may be, sometimes you read to be affirmed. To have your humanity rendered complexly. And sometimes seeing yourself on the page is affirming. And we know that for some young people, that can also be life-saving.

NBF: What has been your most memorable experience with BookUp so far, if you could name one?

SQ: I can’t name just one. There have been many. I’ve been a teaching artist for BookUp for seven years now, and every year, there are always a couple of memorable stories.

One really exciting thing happened this past year—a young woman [came to my site] who was in the program a couple years ago, one of my first students. She was someone who never wanted to read in the group. She was someone that I discovered was maybe a couple of grades behind her reading level and was very, very self-conscious about that. But she was always there. She comes back to visit me, which was awesome. At one point, I was having a rough moment with the kids. It’s springtime, it’s getting to the end of the school year, they’re a little restless. She was like, “Hey! Sofia’s here doing something for you and y’all need to respect and appreciate it!” [Laughs.] It just goes to show you that, in the moment, you may not realize the impact that you’re actually having. Because she was always really quiet – she never wanted to read out loud in the group for the reasons I’ve explained. So for her to want to come back and spend an afternoon with us as a high school student and to impart on the younger ones, “Hey, you really need to understand what an amazing experience and opportunity you have here,” not only because she had my back, but also because it told me that her experience in BookUp made a difference and was something that was memorable to her and something that she wants other young people to have.


NBF: Which books changed you as a young reader?

SQ: I just finished writing a guest blog post about this. I was talking a little bit about my literary forbears, particularly as a young adult novelist. My blog post ended up being a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, but I also mentioned people like Judy Blume. Judy Blume could write haiku on Kleenex and I’d want boxes of it, you know? [Laughs.] I grew up reading Marilyn Sachs because Marilyn Sachs was also the first author that I read who had books set in the Bronx. [And] S.E. Hinton – I was in Catholic school in seventh grade, and I chose Elizabeth as my Confirmation name because I wanted to have the initials ‘S.E.’ to put on all my writing. So I was S.E. Quintero. [Laughs.] That’s how influential she was. What I loved about her work was that I related socioeconomically to the young people she wrote about. So there was something about thinking, “they don’t live where I live, they’re not the same race as I am, but there’s something I find really relatable as a girl who grew up working class.”

But what really turned it around for me was Walter Dean Myers. When I discovered his work, it influenced me not only as a reader, but as a writer. I thought that if I wanted to be a writer, then my characters would have to be white. And when I discovered his work, I was like, “no, I can put my people on the page.” And that liberated my authentic voice. Reading his work led me to Rosa Guy, and Rosa Guy led me to Nicholasa Mohr, and it just opened up a whole new world for me. It opened me up to a lot of African-American writers that I might not otherwise have been exposed to at that age. I might have had to wait until I was in college to read these. But once I found one, I went looking for more and I found them because they were there.


NBF: You could finally put yourself on the page.

SQ: Exactly. That was really important. And when I say myself, I don’t mean just as a woman of color, as a girl who’s growing up in the Bronx, as people growing up in some way economically-challenged, not growing up with money. It was also even just the way we spoke. The vernacular. I learned that it’s alright to say “ain’t.” [Laughs.] My characters can speak the way they authentically are, and that makes for good story. It’s not making for good story to make them speak proper English when nobody speaks like that on the playground.


NBF: I grew up in an area in which “ain’t” was used commonly, and I remember the first time I read a book that had the word “ain’t” as part of the grammar. It’s like the people you know are possible because you see them in books. It sounds backwards, but I know what you mean. That struck me.

SQ: Here’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. A lot of times, people say that people read to escape. But I think if you come from any community that is underrepresented, in any kind of media, whether that’s around race, around class, or sexual orientation, religion, whatever it may be, sometimes you read to be affirmed. To have your humanity rendered complexly. And sometimes seeing yourself on the page is affirming. And we know that for some young people, that can also be life-saving.

Literature can be life-saving. I noticed that with my BookUp kids. Sure, they want to read whatever is the hot book, and of course they want to read fantasy and any kind of speculative fiction, but they also like to read stories with kids that look just like them, that have the same problems as them. And I’ve noticed that what they particularly want to see is to see those characters prevail. So they don’t want sanitized situations. They want [stories] to be raw, they want them to be gritty, but they also do want to see the hope at the end of the story.


cover of sofia quintero's book show and proveNBF: Which authors inspire you now? Which authors continue to inspire you?

SQ: One of my favorite authors is Richard Price. I’ll read anything he writes, and I’d like to think that I’m writing Richard Price-esque novels for a young audience. [Laughs.] I love the economy of his language, and the richness of his characters, and the way place is always a character in his stories, and how he really deals with complex issues of race and class and where they intersect in his stories in ways where it’s always there. It’s visceral, but it’s not heavy-handed. So I’m always reading and rereading his work and being inspired by it and learning how less can be more. If you can say the same thing in one word instead of five, do the one word.


NBF: What has surprised you most during your time at BookUp?

SQ: I’m constantly growing from the surprises I get by working with young people as a BookUp teaching artist. But the one thing that always sticks out to me was how reading to young people —even if they’re not that young, even if they’re too cool for school, middle schoolers—what a profound act of love it is.

So the way I get them interested in something that they’re kind of like, “I don’t know about that, Sofia,” is I will read to them. I’ll do an animated reading. I’ll perform the characters and change my voices. And it never ceases to amaze me just how that’s an act of love for a lot of young people. We can speculate why that is, but I have had the toughest boy who’s got the persona on, he’s edgy and hard or whatever, listen to me read like this. [Leans forward.] I have had that happen. So I realized that reading to these kids is showing them love. And they will listen. The toughest kid will melt when he’s being read a story. I try to do that as often as possible.

But then I get to the point where I go, “I want you to read to me.” [Laughs.] And then, of course, if I do my animated thing, then they want to perform. It’s a tactic because making it fun and performing it and making it visceral in that way makes them want to—especially if [the story] has some choice words in it—because I don’t censor with my young people.

And that’s what’s been really wonderful about working for BookUp New York City because the Foundation does not tell us, “You better not read that.” They say, “The kids want to read it, and you want to teach it, and it addresses the objective of getting them excited about reading and getting them to read independently and getting them to be lifelong readers. Run with it.” That’s not the case everywhere.


NBF: Could you talk about your inspiration for the book? Were Smiles and Nike drawn from personal experience?

SQ: I think I’ve been writing Show and Prove since I was twelve years old. It was at that age that I was going to a summer day camp in the south Bronx. I was looking at some of the counselors, the older kids, and being curious about them.

It’s not like when I sat down to write it, I was like, “I’m writing a piece of historical fiction.” I think if I would’ve told myself [that], I think I would’ve scared myself out of doing it. [Laughs.]

[The book] was being described as historical fiction, and I was like, “No wonder it was so damn hard.” [Laughs.] All the research and details and trying to get it accurate but also letting the details of the time enhance the story but not overpower the story – that was a challenge. That was a dance.

What was really important to me was that I wanted to capture that time. I grew up in that time, and I think even as a kid growing up then, I had a very instinctual understanding that what we were creating, especially around hip hop, was something really special. And something very powerful. I remember writing things down, stories, anecdotes, starting off with something that was true and then remixing it. [Laughs.] So even at that age, I knew that there was something there that was worthy of preserving on the page.

There’s just something about being a young, working class, working poor, person of color in New York City in the 80’s that needs to be understood by people outside of that experience. The way I put it is that we created something really amazing, hip hop, when we weren’t even supposed to survive. Not only did we survive AIDS, Reaganomics, poverty, racism, gang violence, police brutality, substance abuse – not only did we survive that, we created something endured. And whatever you might think of commercial hip hop now, there’s a lot there to like and there’s a lot there to critique and there’s a lot of things you could say both about. But we created something that endured when we ourselves were not supposed to endure. When we ourselves were not supposed to survive and thrive. So I think that is worthy of respect and preservation and it’s US history. It’s US cultural, social, political history. And it’s [history] that everybody should know.


NBF: Could you give us some recommendations for summer reading?

SQ: I just finished reading Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper. I highly recommend it, not just because he’s a friend and because he’s a fellow BookUp instructor, but because it’s an amazing book with necessary themes and characters. I’m not a person who reads a lot of fantasy. So for me to get caught up in Sierra Santiago’s story is no little thing, because it’s not usually a genre that I read. And I loved reading that book on the subway with that beautiful cover. I was trying to get the day camp kids’ attentions like, “Yeah, you want to read this.” We don’t see covers like that, so right from the cover, it’s a groundbreaking book. I’m very happy for that and to recommend that.

A book that I haven’t read that I’m really looking forward to reading is Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not. Of course I’ve got to support a fellow Bronxite. [Laughs.] I’m really excited to read that.

Some other authors that I highly recommend that inspire me as a writer whose work I like to reread whose work I like to introduce to young people is Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon, anything by Coe Booth, a fellow Bronxite, [and] anything by Rita Williams-Garcia. And of course, for me, my classics are to reread Judy Blume, reread Marilyn Sachs, Paul Zindel.

And of course, Walter Dean Myers. This month makes a year since he passed. And that’s in the forefront of my mind because my book just came out this month, [during] the anniversary of his death. One of the most affirming criticisms that I got for Show and Prove was a likening to Walter Dean Myers’s All the Right Stuff. That was just an honor to have.

BookUp LGBTQ Launches
at the Hetrick-Martin Institute

tai freedom ford photo
t’ai freedom ford

The Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of our first BookUp site for LGBTQ youth at The Hetrick-Martin Institute, an after-school center that creates a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ youth, many of whom are homeless or otherwise at risk. Taught by award-winning poet and Cave Canem fellow, t’ai freedom ford, BookUp LGBTQ will run similarly to our current BookUp sites,but will focus specifically on giving the youth a richer sense of their history and the tremendous contributions of LGBTQ authors throughout time.

The youth will select books they want to read from their own list as well as a curated list of books hand-picked by LGBTQ authors, including Naomi Jackson, Garth Greenwell, and 5 under 35 honoree Megan Kruse. The field trips will be geared towards queer bookstores and historic sites throughout the five boroughs. BookUp LGBTQ is run in partnership with Lambda Literary, the longest running literary organization championing the works of LGBTQ writers.