About Us

All about the Texas Freedom to Read Project team, mission & vision.


Texas Freedom to Read Project supports, connects and mobilizes parent and community member led initiatives fighting for student rights and against censorship and book bans in Texas.


Texas Freedom to Read Project strives to defend, protect and preserve the rights of every Texan, especially public school students, to freely read and access information and ideas.

About Us

  • We support the freedom for all students' to have access to books they see themselves reflected in, and to read stories about experiences and identities very different than their own.
  • We believe students, who are autonomous human beings, are constitutionally entitled to select books of their choosing. We also recognize that not all reading materials are appropriate for all children at every age. 
  • We trust educators and librarians to partner with parents to ensure developmental and age appropriate access to information and books in the public school setting.
  • We honor individual parents' rights to monitor and regulate their own child's access to materials, but do not believe those rights extend to any one else's child.
  • No one parent should have the ability or right to restrict or prohibit access of information or ideas, they may find disagreeable, from all students.
  • And while this should go without saying, we do not believe pornography (ie. material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement) belongs in schools.

Team of Texans

We are real Texas parents, fighting for the rights and freedoms of our kids and their peers. 

Laney Hawes :: Co-Director

Fort Worth, Texas

Laney Hawes is a storyteller, a close talker, and an adventurer. She loves the outdoors, and has a goal to visit every State Park in Texas. Laney has lived in Fort Worth for seven years with her husband and four children and is a staunch supporter of public education. She was motivated to join the fight in Texas against book banning and censorship after serving on a school district book challenge committee for, "The Diary of Anne Frank, The Graphic Novel Adaptation." She plans to continue to fight to keep important stories on library shelves.

Frank Strong :: Co-Director

Austin, Texas

Frank Strong is a parent, writer, and English teacher in Austin, Texas. He does this work for his students, for his love of literature, and so that his daughter can have what he got from his Texas schools growing up: teachers and school libraries that opened up worlds for him that he’s still exploring today.

Anne Russey :: Co-Director

Katy, Texas

Anne is a native Texan who loves Tex Mex, strong coffee and the Libby app. She is mom to two Texas public school elementary students, in a large West Houston suburb. Anne has accidentally found herself at the epicenter of the fight for student rights and the battle over books in her hometown. Through her work with Texas Freedom to Read Project, Anne hopes to build relationships and offer support and encouragement to fellow Texans already in, or ready to join the fight.