Read Across Texas - The Veteran Experience - Welcome Conversations Resources - A photograph of desert sand boots on a welcome mat with the text : Resources  

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Read Across Texas Center for the Book Study Guides


The questions and resource materials provided here are intended to support librarians in framing their individual book discussions. You are free to use the questions as listed, to change them, or find others that support your learning objectives.

I. General Questions/Suggestions to Start Discussions

1. Give a “Cliffs Notes” overview of the book.

2. Read a short passage or if you are using a graphic novel, have a copy of a few pages to handout.

3. Start the discussion there.

With discussions involving the veteran community, our veteran partners recommend open ended questions such as:

  • “What I read in this part __________________was that something you experienced?”
  • “I read this part _________ and I need help understanding. Can you please help us understand?”
  • “How is the character’s experience in _____________ similar to yours?”
  • “The theme of this seemed to be _______________ and lead me to believe ____________________. What are your thoughts?”
  • “We have heard that it can be uncomfortable when people ‘thank you for your service.’ Can you please talk a little about that?”


Tips from Lit Lovers

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)



Click on a book cover below to download the discussion guide.


Thumbnail to cover of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Thumbnail of cover of What it is Like to go to War Thumbnail of Cover of You Know When the Men Are Gone Thumbnail of cover of The White Donkey Terminal Lance
Billy Lynn's
Long Halftime Walk
What It Is Like
To Go To War
You Know When
the Men Are Gone
The White Donkey
Terminal Lance


Instructional Webinar

This webinar was broadcast live on January 5, 2017 and is part of the Texas Center for the Book's Read Across Texas: The Veteran Experience.

Librarians who wish to view the recording with the option to then print a continuing education certificate from the Texas State Library should view instructions shown in the text field of this YouTube video.


An Evening With Ben Fountain

The Texas Center for the Book, the Texas Veterans Commission, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas welcomed best-selling author Ben Fountain for a discussion on his critically acclaimed work, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The program launched Read Across Texas: The Veteran Experience, statewide reading program designed to bring communities together and engage in the tough but important conversations through literature. This year, the focus of the reading experience and dialogue is on the issues surrounding the men and women who served our country and what happens when they return home.

KUT’s Morning Edition Host Jennifer Stayton and Texas Veterans Commission Public Affairs Officer Bryce Dubee joined Fountain for the discussion, which will be held at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Lorenzo de Zavala Building. The event was made possible through the support of the Edouard Foundation and the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas .


Additional Resources

Related Book List*

*The majority of this list is courtesy of the Partner Resource page from Californias “War Comes Home” initiative.


The Telling Project is a national performing arts non-profit that employs theater to deepen our understanding of the military and veterans’ experience. Greater understanding fosters receptivity, easing veterans’ transitions back to civil society, and allowing communities to benefit from the skills and experience they bring with them. Through this understanding, a community deepens its connection to its veterans, itself, and its place in the nation and the world.

A suggested reading list for schools, families, and libraries that would like to have discussions with children. Additionally, here is a list of books for Military Children and Teens courtesy of the State Library of Iowa.



Read Across Texas Design Resources

Texas Center for the Book logo






Page last modified: March 18, 2019