SHHS Holds Book Festival for Tweens

Attendees gather for one of the author panels during Tweens Read.

Attendees gather for one of the author panels during Tweens Read.

Vivian Reyes, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Who says kids don’t read anymore? Over 2,000 tweens from 38 different school districts gathered on Oct. 3 for Tweens Read. Held at South Houston High School every year since 2010, the event promotes literacy by connecting kids in grades 5 to 8 with 26 different authors. No seat was left unfilled in the auditorium during the opening ceremonies. In fact there were so many people that about 300 attendees had to stand in the hall. After students were introduced to each of the authors, Gene Luen Yang gave the keynote speech. He is a graphic novel, comic book author and cartoonist and talked about his new graphic novel, “Secret Coders”, a book about how cool coding and programming on computers can be. Yang even gave tweens some advice. “People are always going to want to define you by one thing. Ignore boundaries and keep reading,” Yang expressed in a passionate tone.

After receiving the keynote speaker’s speech, students dispersed into five separate panel discussions during which students could interact with authors about their books and their writing processes. Authors were divided into groups of five or six and put into separate categories depending on the type of books they had, such as Fantastic Fantasy and Edge of Your Seat.

According to Alicia, an 8th grader who has attended Tweens Read the previous two times, “There’s a lot of new choices, and authors who have different ways of seeing the world and writing it down.”

During lunch break, students had the option to eat food from various food trucks or buy a ticket for a dollar and eat food offered by South Houston HS organizations such as FCCLA and Theater.

“Tweens Read is fantastic. I love traveling and meeting people who are as passionate about reading as I am,” Jonathan Maberry said. He is the author of the “Dust & Decay” zombie series soon to become a major motion picture.

Crystal Tory, South Houston High School’s librarian, is a firm believer that Tweens Read is beneficial to young students. “Reading is the gateway to everything.”