The Texas Center for the Book has announced that Books to the Border, a project of Trinity University Press, is the recipient of the fifth annual Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award. This $2,000 award, which honors a qualified 501(c)(3) organization that has made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in Texas, is modeled on the Library of Congress’ annual literacy awards. Funded by the Texas Library and Archives Foundation, Inc., the 2020 Literacy Awards also include two honorable mentions, awarded to the Rotary Club of Wimberley and The Leaders Readers Network.
Books to the Border, a project by Trinity University Press in San Antonio, is an innovative, newly expanded initiative that focuses on early childhood literacy in one of the country’s most economically challenged regions. Their goal is to give one free book to every child aged from infancy to age five living along the United States-Mexico border. To achieve this, Books to the Border collaborates with local social service organizations to distribute both books and creative, parent-focused support materials to families in the region. The books in the campaign are from the press’s award-winning, bilingual Arte Kids series, which features colorful artwork and text in English and Spanish. These beautiful board books are designed to encourage parental engagement with children and can be used for years by everyone in the home.
"The Books to the Border project is committed to bilingual early childhood literacy along the U.S.-Mexico border—one of the country’s most economically challenged regions. Many homes do not have even one book on hand for their children,” said Tom Payton, Director of Trinity University Press. “Together with our local community partners, we are thrilled to accept this award, enabling us to broaden this program to a new community in Texas."
Honorable mention award recipients the Rotary Club of Wimberley and The Leaders Readers Network will each receive an award of $500 in recognition of their efforts to promote reading and combat illiteracy.
The Rotary Club of Wimberley was started more than 15 years ago; a small group striving to make a big impact, their mission is to encourage lifelong learning. To this end, they provide a series of programs under the theme "Rotary Loves Readers." These programs include reading initiatives within local schools, library seminars, nursing home book clubs, book giveaways, and scholarships. The Rotary Club of Wimberley's largest ongoing endeavor is as a benefactor for the Back to School Fiesta, which provides school supplies to 500 children in need.
The mission of The Leaders Readers Network is to cultivate a national network of leaders who provide books, supplies, and projects to support early literacy in underfunded schools. They work to empower teachers and students to be lifelong advocates for creating equal access to educational opportunity for all children. Current projects being led by teachers and students include book drives, read-alouds (both in school and virtual), adopting classrooms to provide brand new books to students, and several programs: the Foster Book Love Project, the Bilingual Book Project, the Black is Beautiful Book Project, and the Military Children Book Project.
“We were delighted to receive 20 nominations from across the state in the fifth year of this Texas award. The purpose of the Literacy Award is to highlight a winning organization, while promoting a greater appreciation and awareness of literacy efforts statewide,” said Texas Center for the Book Coordinator Rebekah Manley.
The nomination period for the annual Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award is June 1 - September 1. The award is formally presented during the Center’s Texas Authors Celebration kicking off the Texas Book Festival each fall. This year’s winner, Books to the Border, will receive the Texas Center for the Book’s nomination for the 2020 Library of Congress State Literacy Award.
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 our 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 at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit tsl.texas.gov.