Louisiana’s Johnette Downing Featured at National Book Festival

11.02.18 State Library Release Header

BATON ROUGE, La (press release) – Johnette Downing has been chosen to represent Louisiana at the National Book Festival. Downing is an author/illustrator, performing artist, and Louisiana native. She has penned more than 25 books for children that celebrate our rich Louisiana heritage. Downing’s latest title Bonfires on the Levee: A Louisiana Christmas Tradition will release October 2020 by Pelican Publishing. The new picture book from Downing tells of the Louisiana tradition of lighting hundreds of bonfires along the Mississippi River levee to light the way for Papa Noel on Christmas Eve.

“Johnette Downing has been an outstanding ambassador for Louisiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “We are proud that she has been chosen to represent Louisiana at the National Book Festival.”

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual event that takes place in our nation’s Capital each summer. This year’s event will take place virtually September 25-27, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual author stages will host more than 120 authors, poets, and illustrators, and there will be a mix of live and prerecorded events for all ages and representing all genres. The Louisiana Center for the Book will participate in the National Book Festival with a virtual booth that will include handouts provided by Downing and a video of her reading her book and teaching children how she illustrated it with cut paper collage.

“I have had the honor of knowing Johnette throughout her career,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “Her commitment to sharing Louisiana’s traditions, music, and literature with our children makes her a state treasure.”

Established to stimulate public interest in reading, books, and libraries, the Louisiana Center for the Book (LCFTB) in the State Library of Louisiana is an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The LCFTB works to accomplish its mission by developing, sponsoring, and coordinating statewide reading and writing enrichment programs for children; by identifying and nurturing the objectives of Louisiana’s writers, publishers, and others involved in the creation and promotion of books; and by encouraging Louisianans to read by presenting or sponsoring public presentations by accomplished authors, thus enabling the public to interact with living authors.



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