University of Arizona Campus  •  March 14 -15, 2020  •  9:30am to 5:30pm

Daphne Russell


As a 30 year veteran teacher in Tucson, Arizona, Daphne Russell has wielded books as weapons in a war on drugs, teen pregnancy and the pervasive disease of apathy coursing its leaden path through her students’ neighborhoods. 

She spent 17 years teaching with class sets of Hatchet and Esperanza Rising until 2007 when a friend told her to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 584 pages later she began teaching as though books save lives and she never wavered from that mission.

Two years ago she published her heart on paper, "Read or Die: A Story of Survival, Hope, and How a Life Was Saved One Book at a Time." She spent the following year devising a simple communication tool for others to use with children who cannot read or are not interested in reading. She shares this VISCERAL method with anyone who is interested in helping children find their literary path. She works full-time at Sonoran Science Academy as the Reading Specialist and hopes to influence the charter school system into changing their Language Arts Curriculum into choice/independent reading. 

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Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friends of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona - Facilities Management
Western National Parks Association
William & Mary Ross Foundation

Key Sponsors

Arizona Party Rental Companies
Arizona Wholesale Supply
Early Childhood Learning is Essential
Marshall Foundation
Tucson Electric Power Co.

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