Children’s Author and Musician Johnette Downing to Receive 2017 Louisiana Writer Award

The New Orleans native is the second children’s author selected in the award’s 18 year history

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is thrilled to announce that beloved Louisiana author and musician Johnette Downing has been selected to receive  the 18th annual Louisiana Writer Award, an honor given in recognition of Downing’s outstanding contributions to Louisiana’s literary and cultural life.

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser praised the multi-award winning musician and author for her dedication to sharing Louisiana’s rich culture through her books and music saying, “Johnette Downing has a special gift for making Louisiana’s unique culture come alive for children around the world. We are proud to call her one of our own.”

“It is a testament to the commitment to sharing the power of books with children across urban and rural Louisiana that the State Library of Louisiana and the Louisiana Center for the Book have selected a second children’s book author for the Louisiana Writer Award,” Downing said, adding that she is “humbled to be among such esteemed past recipients as Ernest Gaines, Darrell Bourque, Christine Wiltz, Tom Piazza, John Biguenet, Tim Gautreaux and fellow children’s book author William Joyce.”

“I have had the honor of knowing Johnette throughout her nearly 30-year career,” said State Librarian of Louisiana, Rebecca Hamilton. “She has been committed to sharing Louisiana roots, music and literature with our youngest citizens from day one. Songs and books such as Today is Monday in Louisiana will be passed down to generations to come.”

“It is the privilege of children’s book writers to create these stories as sparks for young minds,” Downing said.

Downing is the author of twenty-two books for young readers including Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh, Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, and How to Dress a Po’ Boy. She has been awarded a 2017 Grammy Participant Certificate, eight Parents’ Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, and four National Parenting Publications Awards, among others. For a full bio and discography, please visit

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton will present Downing with the 2017 Louisiana Writer Award on Saturday, October 28th during the opening ceremony of the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Capitol.

About The Louisiana Center for the Book The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana coordinates the annual Louisiana Book Festival and other programs and events supportive of reading, literacy, books, and writers, particularly Louisiana authors and poets.