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Read and Spin

The lovely Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue soothe and please us with Set Two; it’s a toe-tapping album with 13 tracks, two of which were penned by the Gal (Vanessa Niemann) and Honky Tonkers Dave Brouillette and Dave James. The gang does country rockabilly the right way – with soul and whiskey. Set Two is medicine for a broken heart on the mend.

Fiction l With the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, Jewell Parker Rhodes publishes the young-adult novel Ninth Ward about an underdog who courageously battles the rising flood waters with her adopted family.

Rhodes does a remarkable job of capturing the sense of community in Lanesha’s neighborhood among intriguing characters including the orphan’s spiritual caretaker Mama Ya-Ya. The award-winning author of adult fiction succeeds in her newest endeavor by including a valuable component of “tween” reads: the supernatural!

Nonfiction l You will never be a jockey (most likely) but you can experience the journey with Randy Romero’s Remarkable Ride by horse racing aficionado Bill Heller. The Cajun Romero is a Louisiana hero, now living in Metairie, who has faced hardship after hardship on and off the track while gaining over four thousand victories. His strength has led him to the National Museum of Horse Racing’s Hall of Fame, where he will be inducted on Aug. 13.

The gritty tell-all is chock-full of drama and inspiration – like the sport itself.

Children’s l As cherubs get ready to go to school this fall, show how much fun they can have with learning – and teamwork – with The Gigantic Sweet Potato. Adapted from a Russian folktale, “The Giant Turnip,” Harvey author-storyteller Dianne de Las Casas brings us another charming read-aloud with Louisiana roots, literally. Ma Farmer enlists the help of her hubby and animals big and small to help her with a particularly troublesome sweet potato.

Illustrator Marita Gentry of Walker creates a colorful world with clues of what comes next. “Sweet Potato Fun Facts” might even help get picky eaters to eat their veggies. Or you could make a pie with the included recipe, of course.


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