Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pelican offers several new children's books

             Pelican Publishing of New Orleans has published several new children’s books and two fun cookbooks this month.
            My favorite of the under-age batch is “Some Birds…” by New Orleans photographer Sylvaine Sancton, who captured a variety of birds in the city’s Audubon Park and City Park and along the Mississippi River. The small paperback simply introduces children to birds and shows them in their natural habitat doing what birds do — or sometimes imagining what they might do, such as those looking mad or trying to read signs. It’s a delightful book that’s sure to become a favorite among young readers.
            New Orleans author Dianne de Las Casas and Baton Rouge illustrator Holly Stone-Barker play on the “House that Jack Built” with a holiday version titled “The House that Santa Built.” The story’s meant for audience participation, and with Barker’s delightful cut-paper collage illustrations makes for a perfect holiday storytime book.
            New Orleans father and daughter team, Rob and Edie Carol Owen, have written and illustrated “Spy Boy, Cheyenne, and Ninety-Six Crayons: A ‘Mardi Gras’ Indian’s Story.” An eight-year-old “Spy Boy” tells the story of his Mardi Gras Indian tribe and his father, Big Chief. The elaborate costumes are sewn with every color in his coloring box. It’s Spy Boy’s job to lead his tribe through the city streets on Mardi Gras but he gets lost. His spirit guide, Cheyenne, and his box of crayons help him return back to his family.
            Robbie doesn’t like to read and he’s not shy about saying as much in Denise Walter McConduit’s “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read,” illustrated by David Harrington. When a sorcerer visits and takes away his reading chores, at first Robbie is thrilled. He soon learns, however, that the lack of words creates a directionless place, one that’s frighteningly empty. Since even his cans of food were once labeled, the young boy can’t eat. Robbie comes to appreciate reading. McConduit is a native of New Orleans and author of “D.J. and the Zulu Parade,” “D.J. and the Jazz Fest” and “D.J. and the Debutante Ball.”

Gaines visit
            Ernest J. Gaines, UL writer in residence emeritus and recipient of the 2012 National Medal of Arts, will give his second public reading at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the university’s Ernest J. Gaines Center on the third floor of Dupré Library on the UL campus.
            Gaines is the author of nine books of fiction, including the classics “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” “A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson before Dying.” He served as a member of the UL Lafayette faculty for twenty-one years before he retired in December 2004. His latest book, “Mozart and Leadbelly: Stories and Essays by Ernest J. Gaines,” was published in 2005.
             A discussion will follow the reading, and Gaines will sign copies of his books. “This Louisiana Thing that Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines” will be available for purchase.
            The event is free and open to the public. For more information, email Derek Mosley at or call the Gaines Center at (337) 482-1848.

Holledge visit
            British journalist and author Richard Holledge will be speaking on his book, “The Scattered,” concerning the Acadian dispersal from the Maritime Provinces of Canada beginning in 1755 with a focus of one group of refugees who made their way to Louisiana by way of Britain. The free event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the South Regional Branch Library, sponsored by the UL Center for Louisiana Studies and the Acadian Muse. “The Scattered” is available for purchase through The author will sign copies of the book after the talk.

Banned Books Week
            Today begins Banned Books Week, an event to call attention to the censorship of books in America. Books that have been challenged or banned include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Awakening” by Louisiana’s Kate Chopin, among so many more.
            Dupré Library on the UL campus will host its Second Annual Read Out at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Library Deck (under the oak tree behind the library) on campus.
            Need something to read? Check out this list of banned and challenged classics for ideas:
            If you’re near Orange, Texas, the Stark Museum of Art will celebrate Banned Book Week with its BANNED: Night at the Museum from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. The adults-only event will include live music, opportunities to create and experience art and professional artist and bookbinder Tony Vela will demonstrate the paper marbling process and engage visitors in collaborative art-making. Inside the Museum, visitors will have the opportunity to see the special exhibition “Tales and Travels” that reveals artists and authors behind the images, featured first-edition books and written travel accounts.  
            Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call (409) 886-ARTS (2787) or visit

In Baton Rouge
            “The Louisiana Photographs of Robert Tebbs,” an exhibition of images of Louisiana plantations from 1926 by architectural photographer Tebbs, opens at the Capitol Park Museum at 6 p.m. Friday with a reception hosted by the Louisiana State Museum Friends. The event is free and open to the public and includes a book signing by Louisiana State Museum visual arts curator Tony Lewis, author of “Robert W. Tebbs, Photographer to Architects: Louisiana Plantations in 1926” (LSU Press, 2011).
            “The Louisiana Photographs of Robert Tebbs” exhibit features 60 gelatin silver prints documenting plantation architectural styles from the 18th and 19th centuries and will be exhibited until June 2014. The Capitol Park Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, visit

Book events
            The Lafayette Poetry Community Showcase open mic will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Acadiana Open Channel Community Media Multi-Purpose Room, 101 Jefferson St., Suite 100, in downtown Lafayette. For information, visit

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at