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Brazos Valley Reads

Brazos Valley Reads (BVR) is a community effort organized by Texas A&M University’s Department of English with extensive support from various groups in the University and the community. The program was started in 2005 to encourage bridge building between Texas A&M’s students and staff and the Brazos Valley community at large. Over the years, BVR has invited internationally recognized authors including Geraldine Brooks, Ernest Gaines, Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brien, Sherman Alexie, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Julia Alvarez to College Station for a public reading and to meet with members of the community.

The Department of English at Texas A&M University is pleased to present the 2020 book selection for Brazos Valley Reads:

Elizabeth Acevedo
Author of The Poet X and With the Fire on High

Acevedo will speak to the Brazos Valley community on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 7:00 pm
in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, College Station, Texas. She will meet with readers and sign books following the event. This event is free and open to the public!


Elizabeth AcevedoELIZABETH ACEVEDO is a New York Times best selling author. She is the winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, The Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award Prize for Best Children’s Fiction, and the Pura Belpré Award for a work that best affirms the Latinx cultural experience.

Her books include, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes 2016), The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), & With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019).

She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love. For more information about Elizabeth Acevedo, please see her website:

The Poet X

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own Cover of "The Poet X"relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

With The Fire on High

Cover of "With the Fire on High"From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award winning The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.



Brazos Valley Reads 2020 is organized & sponsored by the Texas A&M English Department with additional support from:

Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research - LAUNCH Undergraduate Research, Honors, and Learning Communities - Texas A&M University Libraries - Blinn College - Bryan/College Station Eagle - Clara B. Mounce Public Library - Larry J. Ringer Public Library