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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS "READ AROUND THE STATES" VIDEO FEATURES CHILDREN'S BOOK BY LOUISIANA AUTHOR WILLIAM JOYCE

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announces its contribution to Read Around the States,” a project of the Library of Congress with its state affiliates to promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy nationwide. Conceived by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book and coordinated by the Congressional Relations Office, the project features videos with members of the U.S. Congress from each state reading from a children’s book associated with their states.

The Congressional members volunteer to read from a special book for young people they have selected that is connected to their states either through the book’s author or setting or simply because it is a favorite. Each short video also includes an interview with the book’s author, conducted by the Affiliate center for the book in the member’s state.

The book selected by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by children’s author, illustrator, and filmmaker William Joyce, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. An interview with Joyce conducted by Jim Davis, Director of the Louisiana Center for the Book, follows the Senator’s reading of an excerpt from the book.

“I can’t think of another Louisiana children’s book that so universally promotes the value of reading and libraries and how books truly enrich our lives, no matter what our age,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

“We were so pleased of this opportunity to be an early participant in this Library of Congress project and to learn of Senator Cassidy’s book selection,” says State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “Bill Joyce is a true friend of the State Library and its Center for the Book, and ‘Morris Lessmore’ affirms everything we fundamentally stand for: the transformative power of reading.”

Joyce is a steadfast supporter of the State Library and its Center’s efforts celebrating books and literacy, having attended the Louisiana Book Festival six times and additionally having created the special artwork for the 15th festival featuring Morris Lessmore. He is a recipient of the Louisiana Center’s Louisiana Writer Award, the first children’s author receiving the honor.

Joyce’s work has appeared on numerous covers of The New Yorker magazine and has won six Emmys, three Annies, and an Academy Award for the animated version of “Morris Lessmore.” Joyce began his career as a children’s book author/illustrator in 1981 and published his first self-illustrated work, George Shrinks, in 1985.

Today he is the award-winning author/illustrator of more than 50 best-selling children’s books and novels, which have been translated into over 40 languages. He received the 2017 Humanist of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

The Louisiana “Read Around the States” video can be found on the Library of Congress’s website. As other states’ videos are added, they may be found on the Read Around the States webpage. The full, 50-minute interview between Bill Joyce and Jim Davis is available on the Louisiana Book Festival YouTube channel

 


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Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
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Barry Landry
Department of Cultur, Recreation & Tourism
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TAILS AND TALES: LOUISIANA’S SUMMER READING PROGRAM

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The State Library of Louisiana announces the 2021 statewide Summer Reading Program, “Tails and Tales,” following the general theme of animals. This is a free, annual program that gives children, teens, and adults the opportunity to access the vast resources of Louisiana’s public libraries. For children and teens, the program aims to combat summer learning loss by offering dynamic, entertaining, and educational programs across the state.
 
“Reading during the summer break is critical for students to retain knowledge learned in the previous school year,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Students who don’t read throughout the summer are at risk of falling behind, and, by the end of sixth grade, children who consistently lose reading skills over the summer will be two years behind their classmates. This is why the State Library’s Summer Reading Program is so important.”
 
Studies show that youth who read during the summer months return to school in the fall at or above their spring reading levels. It is the State Library’s goal to offer a wide variety of activities to prevent summer learning loss but also to foster a love of reading in people of all ages. Children, teens, and adults may participate in the summer reading program by reading books throughout the summer, engaging with library programs, and accessing digital library resources.
 
“Librarians across the state rallied to provide digital content in lieu of their original plans last summer. It was an incredible learning experience that resulted in finding new ways to reach and interact with our citizens,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “Their dedication will ensure that the summer reading program will continue to be as successful as it has been the last thirty-eight years.”
 
Last summer, Louisiana libraries offered new ways to engage families in summer reading amid the COVID-19 health crisis. This year, many are offering a mixture of virtual and in-person programs and continuing to provide popular grab-and-go crafts and activities. Families are encouraged to visit their local public library or library website to learn about specific programs, online offerings, and library resources available in their communities.
 
The State Library of Louisiana belongs to the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a national cooperative to encourage reading throughout the summer. Those registered with the State Library’s Talking Books and Braille Library may also participate. For more information on the Summer Reading Program and other State Library programs, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

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Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
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Barry Landry
Department of Cultur, Recreation & Tourism
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2020-2021 LOUISIANA READERS’ CHOICE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

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April 21, 2021
 
Louisiana schoolchildren in grades 3-12 select their favorite books of the year
 
BATON ROUGE, La. – The State Library of Louisiana is excited to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 Louisiana Readers’ Choice Awards. Louisiana’s young people have read more than 1.3 million books and cast over 411,000 votes in the twenty-two years since the program began. 
 
Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice
Grade 3-5:
Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo (HMH Books for Young Readers)
by Thane Maynard
 
Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice
Grades 6-8:
Game Changer (Harry N. Abrams)
by Tommy Greenwald
 
Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice
Grades 9-12:
The Belles (Disney-Hyperion)
by Dhonielle Clayton
 
Honor titles include Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 (Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers) by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk for the Grades 3-5 list, City of Ghosts (Scholastic Press) by Victoria Schwab for the Grades 6-8 list, and The Lying Woods (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) by Ashley Elston for the Grades 9-12 list. Winners are selected from diverse booklists carefully chosen by committees of school and public librarians from across the state, and many students cast their ballots on voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Division.
 
“Now in its 22nd year, the Louisiana Readers’ Choice program is a great way to introduce students to some fantastic reads, especially during such a stressful year when we could all use an escape,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “The use of actual voting machines and encouraging an interest in the democratic process through our partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office are added bonuses.”
 
“The State Library of Louisiana is proud to continue facilitating the selection of high-interest titles with the collective expertise of our public and school librarians statewide,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “We hope to foster a love of reading that contributes to the lifelong development of Louisiana youth as skilled readers.”
 
An award ceremony for honored book authors will be held at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, October 30th. For more information about the program, including previous winners, how to participate, and additional resources such as free bookmarks, posters, and study guides, please visit www.state.lib.la.us/literacy-and-reading/louisiana-young-readers-choice.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225-342-4923
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Barry Landry
Department of Cultur, Recreation & Tourism
225-342-7009
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LOUISIANA POETS TO CELEBRATE 25TH NATIONAL POETRY MONTH VIRTUALLY

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Louisiana Center for the Book presents two programs to celebrate National Poetry Month

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana will celebrate the 25th annual National Poetry Month with a virtual edition of its “Just Listen to Yourself: Louisiana’s Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets” and an additional event to celebrate the past decade of this series.

Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith will host the eleventh annual program with six poets from across the state invited by Smith to read their work. They include David Armand, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, William J. Jefferson, Dorie LaRue, Patrice Melnick, and Thomas Parrie. The presentation will be recorded and accessible on YouTube and Facebook on Tuesday, April 20, beginning at 12:00 p.m.

A lagniappe event, “Just Listen to Yourself: A Retrospective,” will feature Darrell Bourque, the Louisiana Poet Laureate who originated the program in 2011, hosting readings by all of the poets who have served as the state’s poet laureates and hosted this annual event since its inception. They include, in chronological order, Julie Kane, Ava Leavell Haymon, Peter Cooley, Jack Bedell, and John Warner Smith. This recorded presentation will be accessible on YouTube and Facebook on Tuesday, April 27, beginning at 12:00 p.m.

“With the pandemic still making convening for programs in person difficult,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “I am excited the State Library of Louisiana has created opportunities again this year for Louisiana poets to be heard through these alternative virtual presentations.”

“The State Library of Louisiana is proud that it is able to participate in National Poetry Month again this year and to look back fondly at the previous decade of ‘Just Listen’ events,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “During those years 58 poets have appeared as panelists with the six poet laureate hosts, some multiple times. I am gratified that we have been able to offer this program without pause, now for the eleventh time, including four additional individuals who have not previously participated. Each year it is so rewarding for us to celebrate Louisiana’s literary talent by hearing the voices of poets from throughout the state. I am particularly proud of all our staff behind the scenes who have made this and other virtual programs possible, which allows us to reach more Louisianans than ever before.”

For a listing of all the participating poets who have contributed to the “Just Listen to Yourself” series, see below.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

Just Listen to Yourself
The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets
Participants
2011 - 2020

All Panelists:

​(in alphabetical order)

Liz Adair

Ralph Adamo

Nordette Adams

Caroline Ancelet

Jack Bedell

Katie Bickham

Darrell Bourque

Mary Katherine Brake

Marilyn Burel

Kelly Clayton

Carlos Colón

Peter Cooley

Sidney Creaghan

Dorothy Early Davis

Charles deGravelles

Malaika Favorite

Gina Ferrara

Amy Fleury

Charles Garrett

John Gery

Lara Glenum

Christopher Hannan

Kelly Harris

Ashley Mace Havird

David Havird

Ava Leavell Haymon

Clemonce Heard

Carolyn Hembree

Kirby Jambon

Charles Jolivette

Julie Kane

Elizabeth King

Justin Lamb

Dorie LaRue

Madeleine LeCesne

Clare Martin

Bonny McDonald

David Middleton

Laura Mullen

Biljana Obradovic

Melinda Palacio

Andrea Panzeca

Alison Pelegrin

Michelle Pichon

Jennifer Reeser

Brad Richard

Donney Rose

Leigh Camacho Rourks

Mona Lisa Saloy

Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

John Warner Smith

Jay Udall

Lenore Weiss

Kelly West

Gail White

Afton Wilky

Andy Young

Hosts:

(in chronological order)

Darrell Bourque

Julie Kane

Ava Leavell Haymon

Peter Cooley

Jack Bedell

John Warner Smith


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225-342-4923
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Barry Landry
Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON OSCAR DUNN: LOUISIANA’S FIRST BLACK LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON OSCAR DUNN:

LOUISIANA’S FIRST BLACK LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Louisiana Center for the Book Presents Annual Black History Month Program

                                                                               

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana, in partnership with The Historic New Orleans Collection, will celebrate Black History Month with a virtual presentation, “A Monumental Task: How Brian K. Mitchell Unearthed the Story of His Famous Ancestor Oscar Dunn, America’s First Black Lieutenant Governor.” The pre-recorded presentation will be available on YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, beginning at 12:00 p.m.

 

Brian K. Mitchell, the author of Monumental: Oscar Dunn’s Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana, and The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Nick Weldon, the book’s editor, discuss the origins of the project and Mitchell’s personal connection to Dunn. Mitchell and Weldon will discuss the book further at THNOC’s 2021 symposium, “Recovered Voices: Black Activism in New Orleans from Reconstruction to the Present Day” March 5–7.

 

Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana reveals in graphic-novel format the incredible life story of Louisiana’s—and America’s—first Black lieutenant governor and acting governor. The book is the culmination of decades of research by one of Dunn’s own descendants, the author himself, who, with illustrator Barrington S. Edwards and editing by Weldon, brings to light an essential piece of American history buried for far too long.

 

“This partnership between the State Library and THNOC gives Louisianans and others the opportunity to learn of my predecessor’s rise from being born enslaved and emancipated at a young age to becoming Louisiana’s first Black lieutenant governor,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

 

“Not only is Dunn’s journey remarkable, but so is Mitchell’s perseverance,” noted State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “After learning about his famous relative from his great-grandmother as a child, he was embarrassed in class when his second-grade teacher refuted his claim that Dunn served as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor. Yet Mitchell went on to pursue a career in history and made Dunn the subject of his University of New Orleans dissertation, which formed the foundation of the outstanding Monumental.”

 

Monumental will be published by THNOC on March 5 and is available for preorder now from The Historic New Orleans Collection or Cavalier House Books, the Louisiana Book Festival’s bookseller.


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Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
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Ashley Gordon
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225-342-7009
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LITERATURE LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

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Louisiana Book Festival to co-sponsor; see Bay Area Book Festival press release below:

Bay Area Book Festival logo
“Literature Live Around the World” Free Virtual ‘World Tour’
Featuring Top Authors from 12 Countries Including the U.S. – February 12-22, 2021
Unprecedented international literary collaboration combats isolation amid global lockdown
 
February 3, 2021 | Berkeley, CA – In a time of isolation across the globe, “Literature Live Around the World” (LLAW) brings together literary festivals from 12 nations from the United States to India, Norway to Nigeria, Argentina to Jamaica and more in a 12-hour program that runs live on February 12.  Each festival offers a one-hour segment introducing that region’s literary scene and some of its most interesting authors, allowing viewers to take a whirlwind virtual journey around the world through contemporary literature. 
 
Organized and produced by LitFestBergen (Norway), the free program will air in its entirety on NRK Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and will livestream on all partner websites. Within 24 hours of the live program, an edited, chaptered recording will be available for free on selected partner sites, including that of the Bay Area Book Festival (BABF) in Berkeley, California, www.baybookfest.org, through February 22. The Louisiana Book Festival, presented by the Louisiana Center for the Book, State Library of Louisiana, is a co-sponsor and local partner.
 
BABF will represent the United States with a program featuring authors Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, moderator Daniel Gumbiner, and BABF founder/director and host Cherilyn Parsons. Viewers from around the world will be able to submit questions live. 
 
LitFestBergen will open the program with Norway’s segment featuring Karl Ove Knausgård, among other authors. The 10 other festivals, besides LitFest Bergen and BABF, are in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dubai, UAE; Edinburgh, Scotland; Jaipur, India; Kabul, Afghanistan; Lagos, Nigeria; Lyon, France; Perth, Australia; Toronto, Canada; and Treasure Beach, Jamaica. (Listing of festival names appears below.)
 
For the full schedule with program descriptions, featured authors, and live viewing times, visit www.baybookfest.org/bergen2021. Viewers can watch the edited, chaptered recording with this same link through February 22.  
 
Each hour will be opened by NRK hosts Siss Vik and Mona B. Riise, who will announce the country that viewers now will “visit.” A short video, provided by the relevant festival, will introduce viewers to that region and its literary scene. Watch BABF’s video about the Bay Area here: youtu.be/4iMC1svQrH4. Vik and Riise will converse with that festival’s director, who will introduce the authors and mention the co-sponsoring festivals. Each nation’s presentation is quite different, making for a dynamic overall world tour of literary creativity.
 
Cherilyn Parsons, BABF’s founder and executive director, notes, “Who says you can’t travel the world during COVID lockdown?" This program is incredibly timely. Our world is more interconnected than ever, and yet we can’t cross each other’s borders. LLAW leaps those borders, showcases the diversity of world culture, and exhibits values of global cooperation, all through the power of literature. Through this unprecedented program, viewers can explore twelve fascinating nations through the lens of each region’s top authors – truly unique, insightful perspectives that provide a ‘travel experience’ that even in-person, on-the-ground visits rarely attain. These authors and their hosts will take us far beyond the usual tourist sights and clichés about each region. We are beyond thrilled to represent the United States.”
 
Cherilyn Parsons, as well as LitFestBergen’s director Teresa Grøtan, are available for interviews.
 
Key links:
Full schedule, authors, best platform for U.S. viewers: https://www.baybookfest.org/bergen2021/schedule/
Graphics (LLAW, BABF, author photos) and other resources:  https://www.baybookfest.org/llaw-press-room/
Bay Area Book Festival: www.baybookfest.org
Louisiana Book Festival: http://louisianabookfestival.org/ 
LitFestBergen: www.litfestbergen.no/en/
 
Full list of participating festivals:
Bergen International Literary Festival (LitFestBergen); Bay Area Book Festival, Berkeley, USA; Writing Western Australia, Perth; Writer's House, Kabul; Jaipur Literary Festival, India; Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, UAE; Aké Arts and Book Festival, Lagos, Nigeria; Festival Internacional de Literatura de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland/UK; Assises internationales du roman, Lyon, France; Toronto International Festival of Authors, Canada; Calabash Festival, Jamaica.

Media Contacts:
Julia Drake | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Bradley Jones | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
 

JOHN M. BARRY TO RECEIVE 21ST LOUISIANA WRITER AWARD

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is proud to announce John M. Barry has been selected as the recipient of the 21st annual Louisiana Writer Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Louisiana’s history and coastal restoration.

“The contributions of Mr. Barry to literature, history, government, and the education of Louisianans and citizens across the country have been nothing short of remarkable. We are pleased and also fortunate that he chose to make his home in Louisiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

Barry is the author of many books, most notably The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. These particular works led to Barry’s contributions to state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization policy-making related to flood protection and pandemic preparedness.

“The resurgence of interest in The Great Influenza since the start of the coronavirus outbreak proves the timeliness, and timelessness, of John’s work. His expertise and dedication to Louisiana, and in particular, his role in coastal restoration, are worthy of praise and celebration,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “He joins distinguished past recipients such as Ernest Gaines, James Lee Burke, Tim Gautreaux, Johnette Downing, and Sheryl St. Germain, to name only a few. It is an honor to present this award to such a truly outstanding writer.”

Barry is the recipient of several awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians and the New England Society Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostTime, and Newsweek, and he is a frequent guest on numerous broadcasts in the U.S. and overseas. Barry is currently a Distinguished Scholar at Tulane’s Bywater Institute and a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana coordinates the Louisiana Writer Award and other programs and events that support reading, books, and libraries. The Louisiana Writer Award is given annually to recognize the extraordinary contributions to the state’s literary heritage exemplified by the artist’s body of work. An interview with John M. Barry led by Robert Mann, Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communication and Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation board member, will be available on YouTube and Facebook on November 12 at noon. For more information on Barry and his work, please visit the Louisiana Writer Award webpage.


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Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225-342-4923
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Ashley Gordon
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225-342-7009
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LOUISIANA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARDS ANNOUNCES 2021-2022 NOMINATED TITLES

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BATON ROUGE, La. – Entering its 21st year, the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice (LYRC) Awards Program is excited to announce the 2021-2022 nominated title lists for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Since the program's first list in 1999, over 400,000 students have read the recommended titles and voted for their favorites, reading more than 1.25 million books in the process.

Every year thousands of students from elementary to high school age vote for their favorite book from a list of titles curated by librarians serving on LYRC committees from across the state. Many students cast their ballot on real voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State's Voter Outreach Division.

"The Louisiana Readers' Choice Awards is just one of many phenomenal programs offered through the State Library which inspires a love of reading among the young people of our state," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

The 2021-2022 nominated title list includes many award winning authors, including Elizabeth Acevedo, winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award; Edgar Award winner Andrew Clements; Newbery Award winner Cynthia Lord; Jen Wang, winner of the Cybils Award, Harvey Award, and Eisner Award; and Alicia D. Williams, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. From fiction to nonfiction, picture books to novels, science fiction to romance, historical to contemporary, these carefully chosen booklists cover a variety of interests and genres, so there is something for every reader.

"The titles on these lists are selected by professional school and public librarians from across the state with decades of experience working with children and children's literature," said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. "The nominated titles represent a variety of interests and viewpoints. Finding similarities with people who look and think differently helps connect us and fuels compassion. These are books that kids will love and that will inspire them to keep reading beyond the classroom walls, helping to create a culture of literacy in Louisiana, all of which is a key part of our mission here at the State Library."

The Louisiana Readers' Choice is a reading enrichment program of the Louisiana Center for the Book, housed in the State Library of Louisiana. Its mission is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books. According to a 2019 Kids Count report, 74% of Louisiana's fourth graders were not reading at a proficient level. The Louisiana Center for the Book and the State Library of Louisiana believes fostering a lifelong love of reading among Louisianans will contribute to the state's overall economic growth and quality of life.

To view the 2021-2022 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Awards Program nominated titles list, click here. For information about the program including previous winners, how to participate, and additional resources such as free bookmarks, posters, and study guides, please visit the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Program webpage.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225-342-4923
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Ashley Gordon
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225-342-7009
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