Diversity is theme for kids’ book fest at Metairie library | Entertainment/Life

“Writing Louisiana for Everyone” is the theme for the 2022 Holiday Children’s Book Festival that will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

The theme reflects the growing diversification of characters and plots in children’s literature by New Orleans authors and why it’s important for children to experience characters, plots and dialogue that are different from what they already know.

Susan Larson will moderate a panel featuring three local children’s authors: Chris Clarkson, Marti Dumas and Johnette Downing.







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Susan Larson, host of WWNO’s ‘The Reading Life’




Larson is host of the WWNO-FM radio show “The Reading Life” and author of “The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans.” She was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1988-2009.

In 2007, she received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the literary community.







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Children’s book author Marti Dumas in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




Dumas is a mother, teacher, writer and creative entrepreneur from New Orleans. An expert in childhood literacy, Dumas has worked with children and teachers across the country for the past 15 years to promote an early love of reading. Her best-selling “Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest” series combines literacy with STEM skills, and humor.







Chris Clarkson

Chris Clarkson




Clarkson, whose debut novel is “That Night on Frenchmen Street,” earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature at the University of Maryland. He works as an outreach coordinator, where he regularly assists with the implementation of diversity initiatives.

New Orleans native Downing is an award-winning singer, musician, composer, author, and poet presenting Louisiana Roots concerts and author visits for children, as well as keynotes and workshops for educators globally.

Her presentations speak to a child’s interests in an engaging, interactive, educational, entertaining and culturally respectful way, earning her a reputation as the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions.”

Many other children’s authors will be present to talk about and sell books. They include: Karen Konnerth, Denise Walter-McConduit, Shannon Kelley Atwater, Laura Roach Dragon, Gary Alipio, M.H. Herlong, Leah Eskine, Laura Michaud, Michelle D. Jackson, Gideon Hodge, Anthony Figaro, Louie Duet, and others.

WWII DISCUSSION GROUP: Submarine expert Pat Doyle will talk about the development of the U.S. submarine through World War II, life aboard the boats and their effect on the war. He will pay particular attention to the loss of life by all participants in the Pacific.

It takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

SENIOR HEALTH FAIR: The Jefferson Parish Library will a senior health fair and a birthday bash to celebrate those who have made 100 years of age at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

Any patron with a relative, friend or colleague who has achieved centenarian status is encouraged to attend.

The featured presentation will be a session on laughter yoga by Judy Newman, a retired speech language pathologist.

There will also be a giant birthday cake and numerous vendors with products or services that appeal to older patrons: eye care and hearing professional, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, legal and retirement issues, and others.

BIG BAND: The Jerusalem Shrine Big Band performs at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

BEATLES TALK: Bruce Spizer will discuss his latest installment in his Beatles Album Series, “The Beatles, Rubber Soul to Revolver,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. The book covers two albums, “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver,” as well as Capitol’s “Yesterday and Today” LP and the singles associated with these albums. “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” set new standards for pop and rock records, and presented a maturing and evolving Beatles to the world.

Spizer says the 16 tracks recorded during the “Rubber Soul” sessions are among the group’s finest.

With “Revolver,” he said, the Beatles were looking for more color in their recordings, trying new instruments and techniques. But they were not using studio wizardry to cover weaknesses; they were looking for new sounds to enhance their already brilliant songs.

CITIZENSHIP CLASSES: Free classes to prepare patrons who would like to become citizens of the United States will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the North Kenner Library, 630 Esplanade, Kenner. Educator Cesar Munoz leads Citizenship Class in both English and Spanish.

Chris Smith is manager of adult programming at the Jefferson Parish Public Library.