Stephen Siwinski

Communications Officer

Texas Center for the Book Launches Statewide Reading Program Honoring Veterans

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 • Austin, Texas • News Release


The Texas Center for the Book, an office of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, announces the launch of its inaugural Read Across Texas campaign. In the spirit of a statewide read, this project aims to bring communities together at the local public library to explore difficult issues through literature and meaningful dialogue. This year, the Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) has partnered with the Texas Veterans Commission, the Texas VFW and the Military Veteran Peer Network to introduce Read Across Texas: The Veteran Experience with the hope of encouraging communities to engage in the tough, but important conversations that surround the story of those who have bravely served our country and what happens when they return 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,” stated Mark Smith, Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Read Across Texas will feature four books that explore the complex topic of the veteran experience from different perspectives. The selections deal with the reality of the war experience and are intended for adult and older teenage readers.

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 released on Veterans Day) 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 White Donkey: Terminal Lance by Maximilian Uriarte is a graphic novel focusing on the story of a young Marine and his existential journey serving in Iraq, and the eventual challenges faced upon returning home.

The Texas Center for the Book will formally focus programming efforts in March, but libraries may plan events throughout the spring. The community reads initiative is inspired by California’s successful War Comes Home program, which brought together veterans, their families, scholars, writers, historians, artists, activists, and other interested community members to explore how the country’s engagements in war affect us all. TCFB is currently developing a full list of resources, including links to discussion and curriculum guides prepared by librarians, program ideas, online training on hosting difficult conversations in the library and more. Visit