Louisiana Book Festival fosters love of reading for book lovers of all ages

Halen Doughty
Taken during the 2017 Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge.

Readers, writers, and book lovers of all ages gathered at Capitol Park in Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday. The event featured author readings, book signings, activities, games, and crafts.

Oklahoma-native Alton Carter made a showing at the festival with his book "The Boy Who Carried Bricks: A True Story of Survival," a true story of how Carter overcame adversities to become the successful motivational speaker he is today. Carter's book festival appearance comes after he spoke to students at Donaldsonville High School just days before, giving his testimony about growing up in an abusive home of addicts. Carter's second book, "Aging Out," details the struggles of aging out of the foster care system. He also showed off his children's book, "The Boy Who Dreamed Big," at the children's author tent.

The family-friendly event featured an assortment of children's activities specifically designed for young people ranging in ages from toddlers to teens. Teen HQ featured a variety of young adult authors, panels, and activities including: New York Times bestselling author and Louisiana native, Claudia Gray (Defy the Stars); 2016 Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Brendan Kiely with his new book, The Last True Love Story; and Jesse Haynes, host of the iTunes top 50 podcast The Others. Notable children's authors included Newbery Medal and Margaret A. Edwards Award recipient Richard Peck with his latest middle grade novel, The Best Man and this year’s Louisiana Writer Award recipient, Mumbo Jumbo, Stay Out of the Gumbo author, Johnette Downing.

“What better way to encourage a love of reading in our children than with a festival where kids have an opportunity to meet their favorite authors, participate in crafts and games connected to featured books, and maybe even take home a copy of a book that the author has personalized for them?," said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. "We are so happy to be able to offer this fun and enriching book festival for Louisiana families from across the state to enjoy.”

Two Baton Rouge journalists were also at the festival with their book "Long Shot: A Soldier, A Senator, A Serious Sin: An Epic Louisiana Election." Jeremy Alford is the publisher and editor of LaPolitics.com and LaPolitics Weekly, and Tyler Bridges is a freelance writer for the Advocate, the Washington Post, and Politico Magazine. The pair co-authored the novel, which tells the story of the 2015 gubernatorial race between now-Governor John Bel Edwards and former-Senator David Vitter. The book details how a small town democrat rose to victory over the senator, a favorite in the race despite a risque sex scandal.

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