BR.bookfestival.110319 HS 739.JPG

LSU baseball head coach Paul Mainieri, left, stands alongside author Leif Nedland Pedersen as he teaches kids the words to "Take Me out to the Ballgame" after reading through his book "The Swamp Kids Play Ball" at the 2019 Louisiana Book Festival, November 2, 2019, in downtown Baton Rouge, La.

Beautiful fall weather and a setting among the historic and cultural buildings of the State Capitol gardens helped to make the 16th Louisiana Book Festival into another success in Baton Rouge.

More than 200 authors and presenters, including visual and performing artists, were represented at the event held by the State Library. We have no doubt that the level of discourse in State Capitol meeting rooms, where many programs were held, improved when writers and readers gathered in several of them to talk about books at the festival.

The Louisiana Book Festival is one of the capital city’s favorite fall occasions. And next spring, book lovers in Louisiana have something new to look forward to.

The New Orleans Book Festival recently announced an impressive expansion, along with a partnership with Tulane University. Next year’s inaugural New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University will take place on the Uptown campus March 19-21. The event will feature not just a slew of Louisiana authors but some notable national names.

Best-selling authors Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, John Grisham and Erik Larson will appear, along with New York Times columnist David Brooks and former Obama administration officials Samantha Power and Susan Rice.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will broadcast their MSNBC show “Morning Joe” from New Orleans on March 20.

They’ll join local favorites such as Sarah M. Broom, who also spoke at the Baton Rouge festival, and Michael Lewis on the program. Co-chairs of the event are former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu and journalist and historian Walter Isaacson, who is now a Tulane history professor.

We welcome this addition to the literary calendar of Louisiana and the Crescent City. Our taste for festivals in Louisiana is well-known. But for reading and writing to be the focus is educational and fun for attendees.

The children’s component, including storytelling tents and music, is one of the most popular features of the Louisiana Book Festival. Kids have also long been a focus of the New Orleans fest, and this year’s version will feature a Saturday “Family Day,” with programming specifically built around young readers and their parents.

There was a slogan, “Reading is Fundamental,” that is as relevant to young lives as any earlier time, and it remains important in a time of reading on screens as well as the printed page.

We’ll be looking for adult insights from such high-powered national speakers, but we also want to give the youngest readers an introduction into the power of the written word in their lives.