Rebekah Manley

Coordinator, Texas Center for the Book

Texas Center for the Book Expands Statewide Literacy Efforts

Monday, October 3, 2016 • Austin, Texas • News Release

Dear colleagues,

I am very happy to inform you of several great opportunities coming soon from the Texas Center for the Book.
This fall we will be promoting the annual Letters About Literature contest to urge all Texas students in grades 4 to 12 to write letters to their favorite authors (living or dead). Letters are judged on the students’ expression of how a book has changed their lives. Letters About Literature is a wonderful way to promote reading and writing for students in grades four and up. A panel of judges across Texas select a winner from each of three groups (grades 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12) and the winners will travel to the TLA annual conference to read their works and will also be included in a national competition. National winners receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. Please urge your students and your own children to participate in this exciting program. Full information, including submission rules, available at Please check out the Educator Resources section on the site to provide an easy turn-key implementation in schools.

Librarians, educators, and individuals are urged to nominate their favorite literacy organization for the 2016 Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award. This $1,000 award will go to a non-profit organization working in partnership with libraries to encourage and promote literacy. For more information and to apply, please visit
I am very excited to announce that in March 2017, we will be holding our first-ever statewide reading program. “Read Across Texas: Veteran Conversations” will feature three books that explore the complex topic of the veteran experience from three very different perspectives. What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes, is a non-fiction discussion about the impact of war on the lives of Americans who are called to serve. Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain (the film adaptation directed by Ang Lee will be released in October) is a rollicking comic novel featuring the exploits of a group of soldiers who find themselves reluctant heroes upon their return from Iraq. You Know When the Men Are Gone is a collection of linked short stories by Siobhan Fallon that tells the veterans’ story from the perspective of the families waiting at home. The Center for the Book will provide a framework of discussion questions and supporting material designed to help spark community conversations around these sometimes difficult topics within the safe environment of the library.
Texas Center for the Book Coordinator Rebekah Manley and I hope that you will take advantage of these new programs to encourage a lifelong love of books, reading, and library use among Texans of all ages and in all parts of the state.
Mark Smith, Director and Librarian

Texas State Library and Archives Commission