Library of Congress “Read Around the States” video features children’s book by Louisiana author William Joyce

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BATON ROUGE, La (press release) – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announces its contribution to Read Around the States,” a project of the Library of Congress with its state affiliates to promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy nationwide. Conceived by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book and coordinated by the Congressional Relations Office, the project features videos with members of the U.S. Congress from each state reading from a children’s book associated with their states.

The Congressional members volunteer to read from a special book for young people they have selected that is connected to their states either through the book’s author or setting or simply because it is a favorite. Each short video also includes an interview with the book’s author, conducted by the Affiliate center for the book in the member’s state.

The book selected by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by children’s author, illustrator, and filmmaker William Joyce, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. An interview with Joyce conducted by Jim Davis, Director of the Louisiana Center for the Book, follows the Senator’s reading of an excerpt from the book.

“I can’t think of another Louisiana children’s book that so universally promotes the value of reading and libraries and how books truly enrich our lives, no matter what our age,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

“We were so pleased of this opportunity to be an early participant in this Library of Congress project and to learn of Senator Cassidy’s book selection,” says State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “Bill Joyce is a true friend of the State Library and its Center for the Book, and ‘Morris Lessmore’ affirms everything we fundamentally stand for: the transformative power of reading.”

Joyce is a steadfast supporter of the State Library and its Center’s efforts celebrating books and literacy, having attended the Louisiana Book Festival six times and additionally having created the special artwork for the 15th festival featuring Morris Lessmore. He is a recipient of the Louisiana Center’s Louisiana Writer Award, the first children’s author receiving the honor.

Joyce’s work has appeared on numerous covers of The New Yorker magazine and has won six Emmys, three Annies, and an Academy Award for the animated version of “Morris Lessmore.” Joyce began his career as a children’s book author/illustrator in 1981 and published his first self-illustrated work, George Shrinks, in 1985.

Today he is the award-winning author/illustrator of more than 50 best-selling children’s books and novels, which have been translated into over 40 languages. He received the 2017 Humanist of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

The Louisiana “Read Around the States” video can be found on the Library of Congress’s website. As other states’ videos are added, they may be found on the Read Around the States webpage. The full, 50-minute interview between Bill Joyce and Jim Davis is available on the Louisiana Book Festival YouTube channel.



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