More than 20,000 students throughout the state voted to choose the winners of the 2013 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award and Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Award. Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas was the top choice among third through fifth graders while Smile by Raina Telgemeier received the most votes among middle school students. The Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Award for students in grades nine through 12 goes to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

Voting day is an exciting time in many schools and libraries throughout Louisiana as some students cast their votes using voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Division.

The Young Readers’ Choice program is an important element of one of the core missions of the State Library of Louisiana — to foster a love of reading in Louisianians. “The Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice program encourages children to be readers,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “Children who read tend to achieve more in school, instilling in them the value of the culture of literacy.”

For information about the program including previous winners, this year’s second place finishers and the list of books nominated for next year’s awards, visit and click on Literacy and Reading, then on Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award.

LSU Libraries podcast

The latest podcast in the “What Endures” series from LSU’s T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, part of LSU Libraries Special Collections, features an interview with an LSU cultural anthropologist about the history of one of the state’s most well-known and well-attended festivals, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Helen Regis, an associate professor in the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology, is working with her LSU students and a fellow cultural anthropologist, Nicholls State University’s Shana Walton, to conduct oral history interviews with long-time Jazz Fest staff, workers and attendees. Regis is also partnering with Rachel Lyons from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Archive and with Jennifer Abraham Cramer, director of the LSU Libraries’ Williams Center for Oral History, to establish and preserve the collection. Also in the episode, former praline vendor and current festivalgoer Claudia Dumestres recalls the beginnings of Jazz Fest in Congo Square, where she saw such acts as Duke Ellington, Woody Allen, Allen Fontenot and the Country Cajuns, Albert King and Dizzy Gillespie. John Lehon, a Jazz Fest storyteller, also shares with listeners a story about the “Teeny Weeny Woman” and her teeny weeny surprise ending.

This “What Endures” podcast episode features a brief interview with Regis, who sat down with Cramer before the opening of this year’s Jazz Fest to talk about the oral history project. They discuss how she and her LSU students interviewed Jazz Fest vendors, construction crew members, an artist, a storyteller, an event producer as well as seasoned festival goers. Regis also speaks of the value of this service learning class, which provides her students an opportunity to conduct hands-on research. Service-learning classes like Regis’ are supported through the Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL. For more information about CCELL, visit

The oral histories collected in this project will be housed at both partner institutions and will eventually be available to researchers online through the Williams Center’s collection on the Louisiana Digital Library. To listen to the podcast, as well as to past episodes, and to learn more about the Jazz Fest project and the interviewees, visit For more information on the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, visit

LGBT Literary Festival

The 10th annual Saints and Sinners LGBT Literary Festival is Thursday-Sunday, May 23-26. Founded in 2003, the festival has grown into an internationally recognized event that brings together publishers, writers, and readers from the LGBT community throughout the United States and Canada. Festival organizers are extending a 50 percent discount on all tickets to everyone in the New Orleans area. This event is wholly inclusive; all readers and writers are welcome.

The 50 percent discount applies to events for the duration of the festival. Tickets can be purchased on the website,, or by phone at (504) 581-1144. At time of purchase, simply apply the discount code SINNERS after scrolling to the bottom of the ticketing page.

This year’s speakers include Dorothy Allison, whose best-selling novel Bastard Out of Carolina was nominated for a National Book Award; Guggenheim grant recipient and NEA Fellow Bernard Cooper, whose most recent book The Bill From My Father was selected by David Sedaris as his recommended reading for 2012; Greg Herren, the award-winning author and editor and New Orleanian; Andrew Holleran, the acclaimed journalist and winner of the 2007 Stonewall Book Award; Ayana Mathis, whose debut novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0; Justin Torres, author of the critically-acclaimed We the Animals; Summer Wood, whose novel Raising Wrecker was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and a UK Booksellers’ Choice, and many more.

Registration and the box office will open on-site at 9 a.m. Friday, May 24, in Royal Salon A of The Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St. Unless noted otherwise, all festival events will take place in the Hotel Monteleone.

The full schedule, as well as a complete listing of event descriptions and ticket options, can be found on the website,

EBR Parish Library

Researching wills and probate records can enhance your genealogy search. Children and grandchildren are often listed. You can learn what property the deceased owned through the inventory of the estate, sometimes down to the number of forks and knives. These records give us a picture of family relationships, activities and even family feuds. Join the genealogy staff at the Bluebonnet Regional branch, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., as they investigate these record sources and see how they might help you in your search. The program is at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 15.

For more information or to register, call (225) 763-2283, or visit the Genealogy Infoguide.

Join the library for an afternoon of gospel music with the all-male Louisiana Gospel Fellowship Choir at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Jones Creek Regional branch, 6222 Jones Creek Road. All musicians with this choir donate their talent and time for events and locations in the Baton Rouge area. If you would like to know more about the Louisiana Gospel Fellowship Choir, look for them on Facebook.

For more information, call (225) 756-1150.

Deputy Antonio Carter from the Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office will discuss and demonstrate self-defense techniques that you can use to make your world a little safer. Teens and adults are welcome to listen and participate at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the Scotlandville branch, 7373 Scenic Highway. For more information, call (225) 354-7540.

Book clubs:

  • ?Eden Park Book Club will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Eden Park branch, 5131 Greenwell Springs Road. Members will discuss The Appeal by John Grisham.
  • ?New Seekers Book Club will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Greenwell Springs Road Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road.
  • ?Compassionate Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Members will discuss Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan.
  • ?Mystery Lovers Book Club will meet at noon Tuesday, May 14, at the Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Members will discuss mystery classics.
  • ?Brown Bag Book Club will meet at noon Wednesday, May 15, at the River Center branch, 120 St. Louis St. Members will discuss the Maisie Dobbs series or Temperance Brennan series.
  • ?Cover2Cover Book Club will meet at the Central branch, 11260 Joor Road, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16. Children ages 8-11 are invited to join the club for the last meeting of the school year. This month’s selection, Summer Reading is Killing Me by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, follows the wacky, time-traveling antics of the Time Warp Trio through an action-packed literary adventure. For more information or to register, call (225) 262-2660.
  • ?Teen Book Chat will meet at the Central branch, 11260 Joor Road, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14. Teens can learn about tales of danger, daring close calls, and great escapes from the jaws of death. For more information, call (225) 262-2644.

Ascension Parish Library

Book club:

  • ?Teen Book Club will meet 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at the Galvez branch, 40300 La. 42 in Prairieville.

Lafayette Public Library

  • ?SRL Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the South Regional branch, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette. Members will discuss Power Play by Ben Bova.

Livingston Parish Library

Drop by the South branch, 23477 La. 444 in Livingston, to learn about the moon, stars, and other planets during night sky viewing 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16. All ages are invited to gaze at the night sky through telescopes, make crafts and play games. All sky viewing activities are weather-permitting. Call the library at (225) 698-3015 for details.

Library links

East Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Livingston Parish Library:

Ascension Parish Library:

West Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Iberville Parish Library:

West Feliciana Parish Library:

Audubon Regional Library:

Lafayette Public Library:

St. James Parish Library:

St. John the Baptist Parish Library:

St. Charles Parish Library:

Jefferson Parish Library:

New Orleans Public Library:

St. Bernard Parish Library:

St. Tammany Parish Library:

St. Martin Parish Library:

Writers’ group

Barnes & Noble Westbank, 1601B West Bank Expressway in Harvey, is hosting a Writers’ Group 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays. This is a networking and critiquing forum for writers of all skill levels. Be prepared to read what you are working on, to take constructive criticism and to give it.

SOLA meeting

Army veteran, kidney transplant receipient and longtime romantic fiction writer, Nancy S. Brandt, knows a thing about motivation and will share her insight at the Saturday, May 18 Southern Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America (SOLA) meeting. “Heroes and Heroines” examines 16 archetypes and how harnessing their motivation will invigorate their writing. The SOLA monthly meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Jefferson Parish Library East Bank branch, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave. in Metairie. For more information, go to the website,

Skype presentation

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators will host a Skype presentation by Lisa Cheng, editor at Running Press for Kids Books, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18. “One Editor/Five Manuscript Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs” is the title of the talk. The group will meet at the third floor of the UNO Bicentennial Education Building, Founders Road in New Orleans. Cost is $15 SCBWI members; $20 nonmembers. Followed by critique meeting. See

Ricapito reading

On Sunday, May 19, BREC’s Baton Rouge Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1515 Dalrymple Drive, will host author Carolyn Ricapito at its Sundays@4 series for a reading from her debut novel, Woman from Turnback County, a story loosely based on her great-grandmother.

All Sundays@4 presentations are free and open to the public at the gallery, located inside BREC’s Historic City Park.

Ricapito’s novel tells the story of 12-year-old Dovie, a pampered Welsh girl who — along with her older sister — escapes mistreatment at the hands of her stepmother in favor of Civil War-era New York City where she encounters society beauties, street urchins and draft rioters. Despite her pride, she works as a servant in the house of a rich merchant. Eventually she travels west in search of a home and a family and finds the love of a Cheyenne Indian only to become a widow by the age of 15. After his death, she marries a soldier in the Union Army whom she raises a large family with in Turnback County, Mo. Her husband eventually betrays Dovie in the arms of another woman and loses their property. Dovie then makes a home for herself and her many children in Indian Territory and becomes a tough, old woman who is the matriarch of a large and important family with a tender heart for a hard-luck story.

A resident of Baton Rouge, Ricapito grew up in Tulsa, Okla., where her family has lived since the 1890s. She has always enjoyed family stories that incorporated the early days of Oklahoma (the Land Runs, Sooners and the oil boom — each of which appear in Woman from Turnback County).

For more information on BREC’s Baton Rouge Gallery of Contemporary Art’s Sundays@4 series or this presentation specifically, call (225) 383-1470 or visit


Fredrick Barton, author of Black and White on the Rocks, will sign copies of his book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday May 14, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Bill Loehfelm, author of The Devil in Her Way, will sign copies of his book at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Maple Street Book Shop Healing Center location, 2372 St. Claude Ave. in New Orleans.

J. Michael Desmond, author of The Architecture of LSU, will sign copies of his book 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the Barnes & Noble at LSU, located on the corner of Highland Road and Raphael Semmes Drive.

Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life, will sign copies of her book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Nell Dickerson, author of Porch Dogs, will sign copies of her book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans. The LSPCA will be on hand with adoptable dogs and a Doggy Kissing Booth.

Brandon Sanderson, author of The Rithmatist, will sign copies of his book 1 p.m.-3 p.m Saturday, May 18, at Maple Street Book Shop, 7529 Maple St. in New Orleans

Alex Beard, author of Crocodile’s Tears, will sign copies of his book at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Claire Manes, author of Out of the Shadow of Leprosy, will sign copies of her book at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Barnes & Noble, 5705 Johnston St. in Lafayette

Jean Morgan Meaux, author of In Pursuit of Alaska: An Anthology of Travelers’ Tales 1879-1909, will sign copies of her book at 2 p.m. Saturday May 18, at Barnes & Noble Premier Center II, 3414 U.S. 190, Suite 10, Mandeville.

Neal Ashby, Paige Ashby and Kathy Bradford, authors of Goodnight Tiger Stadium, will sign copies of their book at noon Saturday, May 18, at Barnes & Noble at LSU.

Nell Dickerson, author of Porch Dogs, will sign copies of her book, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at West Feliciana Parish Library, 11865 Ferdinand St. in St. Francisville.

Items for Book Events were provided by State Library of Louisiana, LSU Libraries Special Collections, Saints and Sinners LGBT Literary Festival, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Ascension Parish Library, Livingston Parish Library, Barnes & Noble, Southern Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Baton Rouge Gallery.