Southside Book Fair returns for third year

SAN ANTONIO – The Southside Book Fair is poised to make its triumphant return for the third consecutive year, offering a day brimming with literary delights, family entertainment, and the chance to meet esteemed authors from the Southside and beyond. Scheduled for March 24, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., this free and open-to-the-public event will take place at the Texas Sugar Daddies Event Venue, located on the Por Vida Academy campus at 1135 Mission Road, San Antonio, TX 78210.

The event has cemented its status as a beloved book enthusiast and family tradition. It provides a platform to connect with local authors, discover new books, and partake in various activities suitable for all ages. Attendees can look forward to engaging with authors and enjoying panel discussions, readings, and book signings throughout the day.

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This year’s lineup features a stellar cast of authors who bring their unique perspectives and literary talent to the fair. Sponsor Lone Star National Bank will offer financial literacy activities for children, and BiblioTech South will provide additional engaging activities.

“We are thrilled to host another exciting year of the Southside Book Fair, celebrating the rich literary talent of our community and beyond,” said April Monterrosa, Publisher/CEO of Live from the Southside and part of the Southside Book Fair Team. “This event is a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of fostering a love for reading in all ages.”

The Southside Book Fair Team, comprised of April Monterrosa, Chris Espinoza, and David Martinez from Texas Sugar Daddies, is dedicated to ensuring this year’s event is a memorable experience for all attendees.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the world of literature and connect with local authors at the 3rd Annual Southside Book Fair. Mark your calendars for March 24, 2024, and join us for a day of inspiration, imagination, and literary exploration.

Author Lineup:

Juan Tejeda, founder of the Tejano Conjunto Festival, retired in 2016 as a Mexican American Studies and Music professor at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas. He’s a writer, musician, educator, and activist, having served as Xicano Music Program Director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center from 1980 to 1998. Tejeda is also the button accordionist for Conjunto Aztlan and, alongside his wife Anisa Onofre, operates Aztlan Libre Press, promoting Indigenous/Xicanx literature and art from Yanawana.

Gabriel Carrillo is the author of “Cooking Up Experiences In The Classroom: Focus On Experiences, Not Just Lessons,” an Educational Technology Specialist based in San Antonio, Texas. With a diverse background in education, spanning from Instructional Assistant to Assistant Principal, Gabriel is also a content creator, hosting The EdTech Bites Podcast and YouTube channel. Combining his passions for educational technology and food, he collaborates with educators and institutions to enhance instructional practices. Gabriel frequently speaks at national conferences and organizes food tours in conference cities. He believes in providing students with exceptional learning experiences and fosters a growth mindset by continuously learning from others, especially over shared meals.

Award-winning author Claudia Villarreal, born in Laredo, Texas, and raised in Zapata, pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M International University. She transitioned from a Special Education teacher to a professional actress and business owner. Claudia’s debut children’s book, “The Alphabet Thief Who Stole the Vowels,” has sold nearly 25,000 copies. Her second book, “The Bully Who Learned to Love,” published in 2019, addresses diversity and bullying, sparking crucial conversations. Suitable for ages 4-8, it offers valuable lessons for readers of all ages.

Denise Barkis Richter is a retired professor emerita of Journalism/Mass Communication. She taught at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, from 1998 through 2020. Denise received her Ph.D. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin in 1998, her M.A. in Communication Arts from The University of the Incarnate Word in 1990, and her B.A. in Journalism, Radio, and Television from Trinity University in 1983. Before teaching full-time, Richter was a writer/field producer for PBS, a public relations and fund-raising professional for the Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, and a documentary film screenwriter. Richter has lived and studied in Mexico, Spain, and Guatemala and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Mexico, and Costa Rica. In 2019, Richter became a Certified Professional Tour Guide. She and her husband walked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago through the north of Spain in 2022. Her third guidebook, “San Antonio’s Passport to Fun,” was published in 2023.

Genaro Castillo is twenty-five years old, an alumni of St. Mary’s University, majoring in English, and a proud United States Air Force veteran. For as long as he can remember, he has wanted to be a storyteller from the moment he picked up his first book. To him, fiction is the portal to a writer’s persona – where his intellect and soul coalesce symbiotically into a story for a reader to grasp. Therefore, he hopes you enjoy venturing into his.

Rogelio “Roger” Narvaez, Jr., is a proud San Antonian dedicated to social services and education. After years in private and nonprofit sectors, Roger returned to school while working full-time, earning his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Now, as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), he serves as a Clinical Outreach Coordinator, assisting individuals experiencing homelessness. Outside of work, Roger’s passions include food, music events, movies, and writing. He shares his culinary adventures on Instagram accounts el_rogersa and rogers_food_ventures. Recently, he penned a memoir for his children, aiming to shed light on his upbringing and offer inspiration to others navigating relationships with family, friends, and themselves.

Angel Ponyboy Garcia was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. His middle name got him into reading at a young age, becoming one of his favorite books. Growing up, this inspired him to write poetry, lyrics, and short stories. He became captivated by the Mystery/Thriller genre. Art is his passion, from writing to painting, in any medium. The Constant Murders is his first self-published book.

Mark Esperanza, an Edcouch-Elsa, Texas writer, poet, and publisher, currently teaches high school in the US-Mexico borderland of Mercedes, Texas. Esperanza Publishing is a nonprofit company that accepts young, solid adult fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We seek to publish works that impact readers and challenge various perspectives. Based out of the Mexican-American border region of the Rio Grande Valley, TX, Esperanza Publishing is in an optimal position to print and promote diverse voices in YA literature.

Stephen Briseño is the author of picture books and young adult novels. His debut picture book, The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border, received a Pura Belpre Honor from the American Library Association. A middle school English teacher, Stephen enjoys life, writes, reads, and drinks a ton of coffee with his wife and daughter in San Antonio, TX.

Johana Hernandez is a children’s author who loves writing stories that teach valuable lessons through fun, self-empowerment, and imaginative storytelling. Her books, “I Am A Gift and I Have Many Gifts” and “Soy Un Regalo y Tengo Muchos Regalos,” are suitable for all ages. In these books, Johana encourages her readers to recognize and value their unique qualities and not to compare themselves to others. She believes that all of us are beautiful in our ways. Johana is passionate about writing, yoga, mindfulness, and early childhood education. She loves sharing playful yoga and mindfulness skills with educators and teaching them how to integrate play, yoga, and mindfulness in their daily routines, especially during challenging times in the classroom. She reminds educators to be gentle with themselves and to remember that they are beautiful instruments in the classroom, and how they show up matters. Apart from writing and teaching, Johana hosts virtual and in-person reading and yoga mindfulness classes for families, kids, and adults. She resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her amazing genius son, pet pugs, and a ferret.

Ben Longoria was born in 1986 in San Antonio, Texas, living in the city and the nearby town of Pleasanton to the south. An Army veteran, he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Cavalry Scout for eight years before leaving to attend Palo Alto College, where he received an AA in English. While attending from 2014-15, he worked with Alamo Colleges ‘Archives Project, interviewing local poets for the city’s Department for Culture and Creative Development. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a BA in Creative Writing. Longoria also received UTSA’s COLFA award for his short story The Girl in White. He is the author of five books, including the novel Hello Defiant and the short story collection The Forest Around the Hill, and often visits schools and colleges to promote writing and literacy. He is also a political op-ed contributor for Citizen Roots Press. When he’s not busy, he eats comical amounts of tacos.

April Monterrosa, a native of San Antonio, Texas, is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, business mentor, and radio personality on KLMO 98.9 FM. She is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Live From The Southside Magazine, the first woman-owned publication in Southside San Antonio. With a media career spanning 15 years, April began by founding a travel and lifestyle blog, focusing on exploring travel destinations, especially small Texas towns, self-care practices, and embracing adventure and enjoyment. She is the author of “Shine Beautifully” and “Razoo in the Wetlands.” April is deeply engaged in her community, serving on various boards and organizations. She’s been recognized as an influential Latina by KSAT12 News, honored by the 87th Texas Legislature, and bestowed with the prestigious President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions as a civic leader and community advocate. She has also been nominated in the Social Media Influencer category in the Express-News Best of Awards and received the Community Rising Star Award from the National Women’s Business Association Women Business Awards.

The Southside Book Fair is an annual event that promotes literacy, supports local authors and fosters a love for reading within the Southside community of San Antonio, Texas. Now in its third year, the Southside Book Fair provides a platform for authors and readers to connect and engage in literary discussions and activities.

For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact livefromthesouthside@gmail.com.

This article initially appeared on Live from the Southside.

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