Thursday, May 7, 2015

Trombone Shorty captivates in new children's book

Trombone Shorty — aka Troy Andrews — offers an impressive new children’s book on growing up amidst the unique music and culture of New Orleans and helps keep the music playing with proceeds from the book going to the Trombone Shorty Foundation.
Andrews wrote the text of "Trombone Shorty," describing how growing up in New Orleans surrounded by music encouraged him to find his own sound, a “musical gumbo.” At a very young age he found an old trombone and began to play. Since the instrument was so much larger than the child, Andrews earned the nickname of “Trombone Shorty.”
The book highlights his musical family, the culture of his Tremé neighborhood, the language of the city — even performing with Bo Diddley at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The book captivates from start to finish, offering a unique glimpse into both a modern, talented musician and the unique environment that continues to produce such remarkable performers.
Three-time Caldecott Honor Award winner and multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Bryan Collier produces incredible watercolor and collage images to complement the story. Throughout the tale are balloons representing “music always being around and floating through the air,” he explains in the book’s illustrator’s note. At the story’s end, Andrews is seen in hot air balloons soaring over the places he visited throughout the world. A portion of the proceeds of the book will help the Trombone Shorty Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the musical history of New Orleans and assist students gifted in music through education. For more information, visit http://www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org/.

New releases
I meet the most fascinating people through social media, which is how I met Linda Joyce, who has written two Southern romances available online. Her debut novel, “Bayou Born,” is a 2014 RONE Award finalist and her second novel, “Bayou Bound,” won first place in romance from the Southeastern Writers Association. Joyce also writes short stories and poetry, such as “Arctic Arkansas” published by Missouri Writer's Guild in “Storm Country: The Anthology,” which raised money for the Joplin School District after a F4 tornado wiped out the town, and her poem, “True American Music,” featured by the Johnson County Historical Society with the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit “With New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.” She served as the vice president of Whispering Prairie Press and the creative director for Kansas City Voices, a literary magazine. Joyce is a Biloxi native who also calls New Orleans home. You can read more about her, including her blog, at http://linda-joyce.com/.
Heather Graham has written a New Orleans mystery series with Harlequin featuring crime solvers Daniell Cafferty, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Michael Quinn, a private detective. The series begin in 2013 and continued with the 2014 “Waking the Dead” and this year’s “The Dead Play On.”


Lunchtime Lagniappe
            I will be speaking about my latest book concerning a Central Louisiana town of 900 that’s also home to 200-plus plant nurseries, “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” at noon Wednesday as part of the Louisiana Lagniappe Lunchtime Lecture at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. The event is free but participants are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch. Books will be available for purchase.

Book news
Kimberley Griffiths Little’s books, “The Time of the Fireflies,” set in Baton Rouge, and “Forbidden,” are finalists for the Whitney Awards, which recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The deadline nears for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society of New Orleans. Writers have May 15 to turn in their postmarked and electronic submissions. There was some confusion about the date so organizers offer one deadline for all. If writers have previously submitted works and would like to make some changes, they may re-submit electronic files; there is no need to resubmit hard copies of entry forms. For those who have yet to submit, guidelines and entry forms may be downloaded from the organization’s web site, www.wordsandmusic.org.

Book events
             “An Evening with Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson” performed by international opera stars Michael Spyres and Tara Stafford (shown at right) will be presented in the format of an old-fashioned radio show at 6 p. m. Wednesday in St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Orleans. The Pirate’s AlleyFaulkner Society event is free and open to the public and will feature a reception following the program in the Ursuline Convent garden. 
Author Tom Culbert speaks on “Forgotten Warriors: African American GIs in Liberia 1942-1945” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the H. Mortimer Favrot Orientation Center of the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Culbert will share the true, but little-known story of the U.S. Army’s deployment of African American troops — including engineers, infantry soldiers, a coastal artillery unit, and a medical hospital — to Liberia, West Africa in May 1942. Culbert was stationed in Africa as an Air Force pilot and military attaché for five years.
            The world turns upside down when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, blasting apart three generations of women in the final installment of Patty Friedmann’s The Cooper Family Saga. Friedmann discusses and signs “Do Not Open for 50 Years” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans.  
            Ann Justice of Lafayette will sign her gardening books “Ornamental Gardening in Acadiana and the Gulf States” and “Blooming Trees and Shrubs” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Wild Birds Unlimited. Justice writes the weekly gardening column for The Advertiser.
            Deborah Burst will sign copies of “Louisiana’s Sacred Places” and “The Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Maple Street Bookstores in New Orleans.

Upcoming conferences
            The 2015 Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 13 at the Woodland Park Baptist Church, 1909 J. W. Davis Drive in Hammond. Speakers include Susan D. Mustafa, co-author of “The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer” (with Gary L. Stewart) and motivational speaker, storyteller and author Gwen "Ms. Chocolate" Williams, among many others. The cost is $35 if paid before June 5; visit http://cmwriters.wix.com/creativemindswriters for more information.

 Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun 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.