Author-Illustrator Program: Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue ParkThe 36th Annual Author-Illustrator Program features Linda Sue Park, renowned author of books for children and teens. On Thursday, October 3, at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch, Linda Sue Park will present a free program for adults, teens, and children at 7:00 p.m.

On Friday, October 4, Linda Sue Park will lead a workshop for teachers, writers and students at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch. A continental breakfast will be offered at 8:00 a.m., and Linda Sue Park’s program will begin at 8:30 a.m. Registration is required to attend the Friday workshop; the registration fee is $25 for adults and $10 for students. The Author/Illustrator Program affords teachers, librarians, parents and other interested adults an excellent opportunity for an exchange of ideas with prominent writers, artists, scholars, and performers of literature for children and young adults.

Previous notable artists in the field of literature who have been featured include Avi, Patricia and Fred McKissack, E. L. Konigsburg, Stephen Kellogg, Paula Danziger, Mercer Mayer, and Richard Peck. Both events will include a book sale and autograph session, sponsored by Patrons of the Public Library. Linda Sue Park will autograph copies of her books that will be sold at the program.

With several books for children and young adults to her name, Linda Sue Park has won numerous awards including the Newbery Medal, ALA Best Book for Children, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Skipping Stones Honor Award.

For more information about the program and to register, call (225) 231-3760.

Keeping ScoreProject MulberrySingle Shard

Author Focus: Judy Blume

Judy Blumeby Louise Hilton

Judy Blume is a beloved American author, best known for her books for children and teens. Her children’s books include several titles featuring Peter Hatcher and his irrepressible little brother Farley, better known as Fudge (highlights are Tales of a Fourth-Grade NothingSuperfudge, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great), while her teen books such as Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, and Tiger Eyes have spoken to generations of young women in particular, focusing on adolescent rites of passage and female friendship.

With Banned Books Week just around the corner (September 22-28, 2013), it’s the perfect time to revisit an old favorite by Judy Blume, since she is one of the most frequently challenged authors, in particular for her teen novel Forever.

Visit her official website at for more on her books, her life, and a great section for budding writers. To see all the books that we have by Blume, search the library catalog.

Tales of a Fourth-Grade NothingBlubberForeverSuperfudge

Author Focus: Cara Black


Cara Black

by Louise Hilton.

Cara Black is an American author best known for her bestselling Aimée Leduc mystery series set in Paris in the mid-1990s.  Black lived in Paris for many years and her intimate knowledge of the city comes across in her writing. There are currently 13 novels in the series and each one is set in a different quartier in the French capital. Black deftly weaves in tidbits about each neighborhood’s unique flavor and history into each mystery, which enhance the appeal of the series. The heroine is Aimée Leduc, a half-American, half-French private investigator, a quirky, smart, fiercely independent 30something with a  penchant for “bad boys” and vintage Chanel. Her best friend and partner at Leduc Detectives is René, a dwarf, computer hacker, and martial arts expert. A host of other eccentric characters round out the cast in this intriguing series that is definitely worth a read. Check out the author’s official website for more details on each title.

Bastille Day’s tomorrow so curl up with one of Black’s novels and a café crème – or glass of vin rouge – and be swept away to the City of Lights!

The BFGCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe TwitsThe Witches

Author Focus: Roald Dahl

DahlRoald Dahl is a much-loved author, that millions of children around the world have grown up listening to, and reading his stories. I still vividly remember the first time I was taken into Dahl’s universe, reading The BFG. So many of his children’s stories have been adapted for the big screen and for the theatre. They are timeless fairy tales, often with a dark humor, with the hero almost always a child.  It was the long term partnership with illustrator Quentin Blake that brought Dahl’s characters to life even more, with such memorable representations.

So today we want to pay tribute to the Welsh writer with the incredible imagination. You can find out more about his life and his work by visiting Take a trip down memory lane and read one of these classics or introduce a little one to them. To see all the books that we have by Dahl (too many to feature here!), search the library catalog.

The BFGCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe TwitsThe Witches

Author Focus: Jo Nesbø


As a Scandinavian thriller writer, Jo Nesbø will always draw comparisons with Stieg Larsson. His work in no way lives in the shadow of Larsson though. He has found incredible success with his series of crime thrillers featuring his gritty character, Detective Harry Hole. I’m currently reading my way through the series and can’t recommend them highly enough. It’s only a matter of time before adaptations of these books end up on the big screen. Unfortunately some of the earlier books in the series are taking a while to be released in the United States.

Many of his novels have won awards and we have them available at the library in various formats. Funnily enough, as well as the dark Harry Hole Series, Nesbø also has a series of children’s books, the Doctor Proctor series. Nesbø is quite the versatile writer! I also have to mention that his mother was a librarian, so that also makes him automatically awesome, of course. Enjoy the interview below where Nesbø tells us about Harry Hole.

Harry Hole Series:
1. The Bat (coming soon)
2. Cockroaches (coming soon)
3. The Redbreast
4. Nemesis
5. The Devil’s Star
6. The Redeemer
7. The Snowman
8. The Leopard
9. Phantom
10. Police (coming soon)


Author Focus: Bill Bryson

by Louise Hilton.

Bill Bryson is an American writer best known for his travel memoirs such as the best-selling A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, a hilarious recounting of his ill-fated attempt to hike the famous trail. His other travel books include Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe with each chapter devoted to a different country, Notes from a Small Island about his many years spent living in England, and I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after 20 Years Away.

Travel writing not your thing? Check out his books on everything from the curiosities of the English language (Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way and Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States) to history (the excellent At Home: A Short History of Private Life) to science (A Short History of Nearly Everything). A final highlight from his bibliography is The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, his memoir of growing up in 1950s Iowa.

The common denominator in Bryson’s books is of course his wit. His writing is often laugh-out-loud funny and irreverent but always engaging and accessible. To learn more about the author and his works, visit his official website at

Notes from a Small islandA Walk in the WoodsAt Home

Author Focus: Jen Lancaster

by Louise Hilton

Jen LancasterNeed a break from holiday preparations? Curl up with one of Jen Lancaster’s books for a good laugh. Covering everything to adjusting to life in the big bad city (Chicago, for the record) to her hilarious year-long attempt to introduce culture into her life (think a little less Real Housewives and a few more nights at the opera), her memoirs are not to be missed.

Try Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, her cringe-inducing true-life account of how she went from earning a six-figure salary to being evicted from a low-rent apartment in a span of two years.

Her other books include Bright Lights, Big Ass:  A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are All These Idiots and Why Do They Live Next Door to Me? and My Fair Lazy; One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto, as well as a novel called If You Were Here.

Her latest memoir, Jeneration X; One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner, is another hit. She also has a new novel, Here I Go Again, coming out in January, so be sure to check your local library for it.

I recommend Jen Lancaster for fans of Celia Rivenbark, Jenny Lawson, and Laurie Notaro.

For more on Lancaster, visit her at

Jeneration X My Fair Lazy Pretty in Plaid

Author Focus: Zadie Smith

by Louise Hilton

If you’re looking for a fresh literary voice, look no further than Zadie Smith, a British novelist best known for her debut, White Teeth, an engrossing novel that spans the decades-long friendship of an Englishman named Archie and his best friend Samad, a Bangladeshi who immigrated to England after World War II. Smith’s gift lies in her rich character development and absorbing portrayals of the immigrant experience. Life in the rich melting-pot of cultures (and the inevitable culture clash that ensues) in London, and, in the case of her novel On Beauty, Boston, is a recurring theme in Smith’s novels.

White Teeth won numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Prize, and the Overall Commonwealth Writers Prize. Smith’s third novel On Beauty was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize and won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction (awarded to the best English-language novel written by a woman of any nationality). Most deserving of these accolades, Zadie Smith is an author not to be missed.

Smith’s novels are White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and her long-awaited latest offering, NW; she also wrote a collection of essays entitled Changing My Mind. NW just hit shelves this fall and is a captivating read, focusing on the lives of four young residents of the Northwest part of London (hence the title) – check your local library for a copy.

Author Focus: Clive Barker

It’s hard to imagine that the master of the macabre who wrote the novella The Hellbound Heart and its subsequent movie adaptation Hellraiser, would also be a successful teen author. This is a gap that Barker has easily bridged. Through all his written works and creations as an artist, what comes through strongly in his visions is his deep passion for the fantastical and for worlds hidden within our own. Here is a selection of fiction titles available at the Library, but you will also find him popping up with short stories in a variety of anthologies. To see a complete list of his books and to find more information, please visit the author’s website

The Books of Blood
The Damnation Game
The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art #1)
The Thief of Always (teen)
Everville (Book of the Art #2)
The Essential Clive Barker
Coldheart Canyon
Abarat: The First Book of Hours (Abarat #1) (teen)
Days of Magic, Nights of War (Abarat #2) (teen)
Absolute Midnight (Abarat #3) (teen)

Notable Nonfiction:

Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror
Clive Barker Visions of Heaven and Hell
The Painter, the Creature, and the Father of Lies

Author Focus: Emily Giffin

by Louise Hilton

Emily Giffin is the bestselling author of five novels including Something Borrowed, its sequel Something Blue, and Heart of the Matter. Giffin worked as a litigator in Manhattan for several years before leaving the practice of law and moving to London where she tried her hand at writing contemporary fiction. It paid off – her debut novel Something Borrowed was a runaway hit, and her other novels have followed suit, consistently landing on the New York Times bestseller list. Known for making her characters relatable and human and putting them in complex situations, Giffin’s books are worth checking out. Her latest book, Where We Belong, comes out this summer.

Visit Giffin’s website for reading guides, her blog, and a hilarious author timeline.