Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bookworm Festival Earns A $5,000 Foundation Grant

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has awarded three $5,000 grants to festivals that promote children’s literature and books, including the Bookworm Bookfest held each year at Spring Oaks Middle School. The grants are funded by generous support through Phillips 66, a Houston-based multinational corporation.

Neil and Maria Bush co-chair the relatively new foundation, organized to provide additional literacy support and services across Houston, the nation’s fourth largest and most diverse city.

“We’re honored and excited to receive this award from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. The foundation came to us because it had heard all about the festivals. We never contacted them, which makes this an even greater honor to us,” said JoAnn Conlon, who directs SBISD’s Innovative Resource Media Systems, an area of management that includes school libraries and library systems.

The grants were announced recently. “By sponsoring these free reading festivals, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation hopes to provide all of our city’s children and teens with the opportunity to meet or discover some of their favorite authors,” foundation President Dr. Julie Baker Finck said.

Three free book festivals won foundation awards. All three festivals are supported by Blue Willow Bookshop. They are:
  • Bookworm Bookfest. This morning event celebrates emerging readers ages 4-8 and local and national authors who write for them. This year’s festival is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at Spring Oaks Middle School, located at 2150 Shadowdale. For updates, follow on Twitter @bookwormbkfest, and at bookwormhouston on Facebook.
  • The Tweens Read Festival. Now in its fifth year, this festival focuses on middle-grade readers. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3, at South Houston High School in Pasadena ISD. The morning keynote will be delivered by writer and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, then followed by panel discussions with 26 notable authors. Newbery Award winning writers Rebecca Stead and Katherine Applegate will speak in keynote presentations ending the day. Author book signings are planned. For details and advance registrations, visit, or follow @tweensread on Twitter or on Facebook at tweensread. Volunteer opportunities are available through
  • TeenBookCon. Also known as The Greater Houston Teen Book Convention, this festival features books for teens. Now in its seventh year, TeenBookCon will occur Saturday, April 2, at Alief Taylor High School in Alief ISD. Visit, or follow on Twitter at @teenbookcon, or on Facebook at teenbookcon.
The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, co-chaired by Neil and Maria Bush, is a 2-year-old charitable organization focused on improving the quality of life for Houston residents through the power of literacy.

The Foundation advocates for literacy as a fundamental right of everyone and a foundational skill towards success in life. It is founded on the belief held by Barbara Bush, former First Lady, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.”

Two years ago, the Bush Family created the Houston-based foundation separate from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a national foundation, in response to the need to deepen the awareness of and intensify services and support in Houston – the nation’s fourth largest and most diverse city.

For details, please visit or follow the organization on Facebook at or on Twitter @bushhoustonlit.

Book Festivals Press Release >>


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