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ToB 2021 Author Events

Last week Harris County Public Library hosted three events featuring five authors from the Tournament of Books 2021 reading list. Each night we had a lively discussion and in each discussion the authors recommended books to add to your "to read" pile. Watch their discussions and check out the titles they recommend.

Deborah Wiles and Ibi Zoboi

Kent State by Deborah Wiles and Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi both bring to light social issues with a focus of hope and change in their novels. Wiles and Zoboi both shared recently released books that have been impactful to them. Wiles recommended Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, while Zoboi shared the importance of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, And You by Jason Reynolds. Like their own books, Caste and Stamped are eye-opening reads into American society and history.  Be sure to watch their discussion before it's removed from YouTube on April 22. 

Click on the book below to checkout on OverDrive.





Leah Johnson & Tobly McSmith

Leah Johnson and Tobly McSmith are two emerging Own Voices authors in young adult literature. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson and Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith are both contemporary LGBTQ+ coming of age novels that highlight themes of identity and acceptance. Leah and Tobly shared books that helped them as they were struggling with their own identities. Tobly held up a well-loved copy of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie that continues to help him to this day.  Leah shared how meaningful The God Box by Alex Sanchez, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz were to her coming out. Both authors hope that their books will one day be as loved as the books they shared. 

Click on the books below to check out on OverDrive.
how to win friends


the god box


boy meets boy


Aristotle and Dante


Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, artist, and novelist who explores myths and folklore as well as motherhood, plants and the lineages of all things in her work. Raquel's debut young adult novel, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, is an astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life. Raquel hopes that after reading Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, readers are filled with wonder for the world they live in. During our conversation, Raquel shared a wealth of books that influenced her story, books that features characters from her culture, and her favorite poets. Check out her book recommendations below. 


Click on the books below to checkout on OverDrive.
braiding sweetgrass


land of cranes


cemetery boys


garden awakening


small story


linda hogan


Joy Harjo


Mary Oliver


June Jordan


Librarians, teachers, parents, and students can learn more about the Deborah Wiles, Ibi Zoboi, Leah Johnson, Tobly McSmith, and Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, by visiting the TeachingBooks . TeachingBooks is a database that provides educators and students with resources on children's and younng adult authors and books. The resource collection includes short movies, audio book readings, book discussion guides, and more. TeachingBooks is available with your HCPL library card. 

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