Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lafayette picks 'Long Walk to Water' for big read

            The Lafayette Public Library System is teaming up with area public schools and other local partners to encourage Lafayette to read and discuss the same book in a program called Lafayette Reads Together.
            The inaugural program will focus on the New York Times bestseller “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, a survivor’s tale inspired by the real story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who not only saved himself, but improved the quality of life for many. Every public school seventh grader in Lafayette Parish will read the book and discuss it in class. School curricula will also include lessons surrounding the themes of the book, as well as the history and culture of South Sudan.
            Library programs include a documentary screening and book talk at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at North Regional Library and 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at South Regional Library and a presentation by photojournalist Eli Reed about his experiences documenting the Lost Boys of Sudan at 2 p.m. Saturday at South Regional. Check out Reed's discussion about his photography in this video.
            Other events include a Skype conversation with author Linda Sue Park at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at South Regional and a book discussion led by City-Parish President Joey Durel, City-Parish Council member Brandon Shelvin and Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jason El Koubi on March 2. There will also be a display of artwork by Lafayette Public School System children, inspired by South Sudanese culture, from March 9–20 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, with a special presentation during ArtWalk on March 14.
            For a list of events, visit
            In other library news, the second year of the Lafayette Public Library System’s 100 Book Club concluded with 176 people successfully completing the challenge of reading 100 books or more in 2014. These readers will be recognized for their accomplishments at the library’s reception at 6 p.m. Thursday at South Regional Library.
            In 2014, more than 900 people signed up for the program and read more than 26,000 books. The program is continuing in 2015 and readers may register at  any library branch or at

Cheré Coen is 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