Book Grant Applications are Open for 2023 Read Across Texas: Empathy

The Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) invites libraries and readers statewide to join in its 2023 reading campaign. Read Across Texas: Empathy kicks off in March, with libraries signing up to facilitate reading and discussion opportunities exploring what “empathy” could mean within their communities.

Banner of Read Across Texas Empathy depicting a cartoon graphic of a van with oversized books attached to the roof driving along a Texas road with a road sign reading "EMPATHY".

Read Across Texas: Empathy will offer 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 the recent years of difficulties, division, isolation, and loss, the TCFB recognizes the importance of sharing our stories to build understanding and support. Literature—by definition a way of sharing in a story other than our own—can be one of the many routes to empathy.

The TCFB is excited to kick off the 2023 campaign by announcing four book selections that give communities a platform to engage in challenging, insightful, and transformative conversations.

“These four titles provide a wonderful jumping-off point for communities statewide to explore this year’s theme of ‘empathy’ through literature.” said Gloria Meraz, Director and Librarian, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). “This is a fantastic opportunity for libraries to be sites of community, empathy, and transformation through the power of reading.”

Read Across Texas 2023 Library Grants

Texas libraries are eligible to apply for grants to receive a bundle of 10 copies of one of the four chosen titles. The amount of “book bundle grants” available depends on funding, and applicants will be evaluated and awarded as fundraising progresses. Libraries are encouraged to apply for grants and hold programming space on their spring calendars.

These grants are made available through a generous distribution partnership with BookPeople. The BookPeople website will include a link for donations to go directly to the Center for the entire month of February. In addition, on a day in February to be determined, 10% of all in-person and online sales will go toward book grants, as well.

“BookPeople is excited for the opportunity to partner with the Texas Center for the Book on this amazing program that puts free books into the hands of Texans for important conversations,” said Charley Rejsek, BookPeople CEO. “The 2023 theme of empathy could not have come at a more timely moment. We are happy to be able to support our community bound by books in this partnership, with hope to grow it in the years to come.”

Texans can also support the program directly by donating to the Texas Library and Archives Foundation.

Read Across Texas 2023 Activities

Community activities for Read Across Texas officially begin in March, but participating organizations may conduct programs any time throughout the spring and summer. Additionally, in February, 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 empathy-specific discussion questions.

View Past Programs and Resources:

Stay tuned to for more information.

One thought on “Book Grant Applications are Open for 2023 Read Across Texas: Empathy

  1. The Texas Center for the Book’s “Read Across Texas: Empathy” campaign is a fantastic initiative that encourages communities to come together and explore empathy through literature. The themes of the chosen books are all relevant, thought-provoking and provide a platform for meaningful conversations. I think that the campaign is particularly important during these times, where there’s a lot of division and isolation, literature is a powerful tool that can help promote empathy and understanding.
    I am also impressed by the commitment of the Texas Center for the Book and its partners, such as BookPeople, to provide free books to libraries throughout the state through the library grants program. This support will help to ensure that a diverse array of readers will have access to the campaign’s selected titles. I am also excited about the toolkit that will be made available to participating organizations in February, it will be a valuable resource to help facilitate meaningful discussions within the community. This is a great program that could make a real impact within the Texas communities. Best regards, Mark Green of

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