National Book Foundation's BookUpTexas

Presenting the 2013 Best of BookUp Selections

We’re excited to share our second annual Best of BookUp Selections, a summer reading list straight from the middle-school students in BookUp. We asked the students at our sites in New York City and Texas to vote on their favorite books read in BookUp during the 2012-2013 school year.

> Click here to see the results.


Author Tayari Jones visits Brazos Valley Reads, BookUpTX.
Tayari Jones met with our BookUpTX students as part of her visit for Brazos Valley Reads, a community literacy program. Jones spent some time talking about her career as an author and her love for reading. She also answered any questions our students had about how to become a writer and all the places she has visited. Jones said that although she enjoyed her entire visit, spending time with out BookUp students was the highlight. After her visit, she sent all of our students a copy of her latest book, Silver Sparrow, and nameplates.



On April 15, our BookUpTexas students went to Houston’s Brazos Bookstore to see Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni read from and discuss her work. Divakaruni is an award-winning author, poet, and teacher, and she was a National Book Awards Fiction Judge in 2000.

New BookUp Site Opens in Huntsville, Texas

BookUp TexasIn January 2012, BookUpTX opened a new site in Huntsville at the Boys & Girls Club of Walker County. Writer-instructor Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion says, “We had a fantastic turnout from the start, with fifteen to twenty students attending each week. At the end of the semester, the kids said they couldn't wait until fall to get ‘more cool books!’"

The new site services middle-school children in a unique rural community. Huntsville is the seat of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which operates five prisons within the city’s limits and two more within the county. BookUp Texas, Boys & Girls Club of Walker CountyTDCJ is far and away the biggest employer in the area. Many parents working for the prison system have been hit hard by the recession as a result of the state's budget deficit. “We want this program to raise the hopes of the kids in our community while helping them become better readers. As every book lover knows, a good novel opens up the world,” Nowlin-O’Banion says.

Anyone interested in donating to this BookUpTX site should contact Amanda Nowlin-O'Banion at


BookUp Texas Students Interview Author Thane Rosenbaum

Thane Rosenbaum

Students in BookUp Texas in Brazos Valley, led by author Angie Cruz, read Thane Rosenbaum’s The Stranger Within Sarah Stein earlier this spring. Rosenbaum answered a few of their questions via email.

Read the interview here. >


BookUp Texas Students Interview 2011 NBA Winner Thanhha Lai

Thanhha LaiStudents in our BookUp Texas program recently had a Skype conversation with Thanhha Lai, Winner of the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for her novel-in-verse, Inside Out & Back Again. Afterward, Lai was kind enough to answer the students’ follow-up questions via email.

Click here to read the interview. >


BookUp Students Interview Author Helena María Viramontes

Helena Maria ViramontesHelena María Viramontes visited our BookUp Texas site through Texas A&M University’s Brazos Valley Reads program. After a wonderful class visit with Angie Cruz and her students, Viramontes was kind enough to answer a few of the kids’ follow-up questions via email.

> To read interview, click here.


Field Trip

On March 27, 2011, the BookUpTX group took an hour-and-forty-five-minute bus ride to Houston, where they had lunch at the Downtown Aquarium and then shopped at the independent Brazos Bookstore. It was many of the students’ first time in Houston, and all of the students’ first experience visiting a small, independent bookstore. As is the custom in BookUp, the students received $25 each to purchase books for their own home libraries. The group then continued on to Pershing Middle School, where YA author Rebecca Stead read from her work, took questions from the audience, signed books, and posed for a photo with the group.


For more information, visit:

Boys & Girls Club of Brazos Valley

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum: