Louisiana Book News by Cheré Dastugue Coen

Published Sundays in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette and Monroe News Star of Monroe.

Monday, May 25, 2015

New book examines Poverty Point State Historic Site

           This past year Poverty Point in northeastern Louisiana was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For many, it was an honor long overdue. For others, a new discovery, for this unassuming historic site in the top corner of our state contains more than meets the eye. The roughly 345 acres was home to a Native American culture 1700 to 1100 BC, a site filled with earthen mounds and almost six miles of ridges built before the Mayan pyramids were created. It was the New York City of its time, writes Jenny Ellerbe who, along with Dr. Diana Greenlee, Poverty Point station archaeologist, have written “Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City” with LSU Press.
The two have collaborated to present the many fascinating aspects of the historically significant park, from its early inhabitants to the Poverty Point Objects, otherwise known as PPOs. The book dissects the grounds, discussing the many mounds and their uses, offering explanations of the site’s circles, plaza and ridges and talks about the native customs and tools found on site. Throughout the book are Ellerbe’s many photographs, plus helpful maps and diagrams.
The book provides academic instruction but it’s a perfect guide for the layperson. For those visiting the Poverty Point site or interested in Native American culture, this helpful book is a must read.

New releases
William Joyce, the Shreveport Academy Award-winning filmmaker, bestselling author and animator, has published a new children’s book, one very close to his heart — and real life. Joyce’s “Billy Booger” is based on an experience he had in elementary school when he entered a writing contest only to be called to the principal’s office at A.C. Steere Elementary of Shreveport. His book was about a boy who believed his boogers had super powers. 
Shreveporters — and those who wish to make the trip and meet Joyce — will be the first to purchase the books in advance of its national release on June 2. Joyce will sign copies from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Toy Fair, 4801 Line Ave. in Shreveport, inside Pierremont Mall.
Joyce cofounded Moonbot Studios in Shreveport and is the author of “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs,” “The Numberlys” and “Rolie Polie Olie,” among many other books, which will be for sale on Saturday as well.
Stacey Comeaux Judice, Kathy Blanchard Higginbotham and Donna Sonnier Latiolais have collaborated on “Carencro,” an Images of America title by Arcadia Publishing. The book contains dozens of photographs of past citizens, businesses, homes, schools, musicians, cemeteries and much more. Readers will also learn how the town got its name, although you’ll have to decide which story makes more sense and why.
Deborah Burst of Covington delves into the spiritual side of South Louisiana with “Louisiana’s Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries and Voodoo.” Readers will discover the spiritual significance of historic churches and cemeteries, the city’s voodoo practices and the state’s unique death–related customs. Burst doesn’t stray far from New Orleans so it’s not a statewide examination but lovers of New Orleans area sacred spots will find the book an interesting read. Burst will be speaking at a Save Our Cemeteries luncheon Saturday at Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans.

At the library
The annual Summer Reading Program Kickoff Celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 29, at South Regional Library. The program will be ongoing through the end of July with more events at branch libraries. Children can register for the summer reading program at branch libraries or by calling call 981-1028 or visiting LafayettePublicLibrary.org. For details on the teen summer reading program, visit LPLteen.netFriday’s Summer Kickoff schedule is 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Johnette Downing “Reading Rocks;” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Zoo-Zoom: The Little Zoo on Wheels; and 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m., magician Mitch Richard.
The Friends of the Ouachita Library’s book sale will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 29-30, at the West Ouachita Branch Library’s secret room in the back that’s chock full of books, music, movies and more. The library opens up the back room only occasionally so you won’t want to miss this opportunity to sneak in and bring home lots of book bargains. Children’s activities this week at the library include Superhero Play Day and screening of the “Rise of the Guardians” on Tuesday, a hamburger cookout on Thursday and the screening of the film “Big Hero 6 on Saturday. For more information on library events, visit http://www.ouachita.lib.la.us/.
Louisiana’s 2015 statewide summer reading program will follow the theme “Heroes.” Children, teen and adult programs each have a different slogan; the children’s slogan is “Every Hero Has a Story,” the teen slogan is “Unmask” and the adult slogan is “Escape the Ordinary.”
Summer reading programs are part of 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 programs and other State Library programs, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

Book events
Amy Conner signs her novel “Million Dollar Road” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
 The lecture “The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm America at War” by New York Times bestselling author A.J. Baime will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. A reception precedes the presentation and a book signing will follow.

            Barri Bronston signs copies of “Walking New Orleans” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Maple Street Book Shop of New Orleans.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writes of Spring Award Winners

Elementary through middle school Writes of Spring winners were recognized May 2 and high school winners were recognized May 7 at the South Regional Library of Lafayette. The High School ceremony also featured a talk by young adult author Sarah Guillory.
The Writes of Spring is an annual writing contest that encourages students in grades K-12 from Acadiana to submit original works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in English and French.
Winners received a printed anthology of the winning pieces, donated by Touche Printing and Signs.
  



Some of the high school winners of the Writes of Spring contest, with YA author Sarah Guillory, are front row, from left: Janine LeBlanc, Alexandra Gjertson, Hope Johnston, Victoria Latiolais; second row: Brennan Higginbotham, Paul Guilliot, Cameron Baker, Elise LaFleur, Author Sarah Guillory, Benjamin Mouton, Mary Broussard; and third row: Brayden Dupuy, Gerard Drake, Bennet Narby, Aiden Fletcher, Seth Jones.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.