D.E.A.R. was originally a part of a story line found in the book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (pages 40-41) by Beverly Cleary. The book was first published by Harper Collins children’s division and they are the ones that crated the DEAR event that has been a part of schools and libraries for years. Texas Authors, Inc., a not for profit organization was inspired by the concept and added their own Texas touch to it, thus creating DEAR Texas.
Dear Texas goal is simple, to encourage more people of ALL ages to read more. While this sounds like a simple goal, it is, in fact, a very difficult goal to accomplish, as reading still continues to compete against TV and electronic devices. But, that is also the challenge we love.
Showing people, the joy of reading can be accomplished in a number of ways. First, is education, followed by testimonies and then by meeting actual authors and helping readers learn how authors think and why they write. Giving readers a personal one on one connection to an author provides an incentive to read a book. Once a reader is able to find a good book, they are hooked on the possibilities that exist. Their creative mind is awakened and how they deal with life then changes.
The DEAR Texas concept started with an annual event created in 2014 and then implemented in 2015 when Texas authors were distributed around the state in bookstores, libraries, and schools over a two-day period in April to spotlight their works to readers. The overwhelming response from this event, demonstrated that it needed to be its own separate organization, thus Texas Authors, Inc., moved it out from under its organization and set it up as a separate 501.c.3 in Texas.
During the first year of operating, DEAR was able to arrange for Texas authors to get into Blackshire Elementary school, a title 1 school, to do reading programs to children. A total of 6 authors were able to read and talk with over 200 students during the year.
Over the past two years, over 115 authors have been able to reach out to the Texas community during its annual event. This outreach has been in over 36 cities across Texas and with each passing year, our goal is to increase the number of authors and cities participating.