New Orleans Book Festival Family Day authors Tyrell Plair (left) and Elizabeth Johnson shared their book “Just Like My Dad” with children, parents and staff at Newcomb Children’s Center. (Photo by Audrey Burroughs)
Thousands of book fans of all ages descended on Tulane’s uptown campus for the inaugural 2022 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, March 10-12. But for a young group of students on campus, the authors came to them.
Tyrell Plair and Elizabeth Johnson were among 15 talented, award-winning authors who took part in Family Day at the Festival, which featured programming for children and families. Plair and Johnson, co-authors of the book Just like my father, came to campus with the aim of making an impact on their young audience and their first stop was the Newcomb Children’s Center on Friday 11th March.
The duo received a warm welcome and were moved by the number of posters and placards the children had made prior to their visit. Two classes of 4-year-olds spent the week with their teachers reading Just like my father and memorize the different characters and their journey through the book.
Due to COVID protocols, Plair and Johnson generously spent an hour in the covered outdoor play area discussing their book with the kids, answering questions from the group, and even promised to nominate two characters for their next book after a pair of children. The session ended with Plair and Johnson sitting, drawing pictures and chatting with their happy attendees. The two authors distributed an autographed copy of their book to each of the 24 children, who also received book festival stickers and bookmarks.
“It was an amazing opportunity to have the authors of Just Like My Dad visit our school,” said Julie Smith-Price, director of Newcomb Children’s Center. “During this phase of early literacy development, children are just beginning to understand how books are created.
Giving them a chance to meet Elizabeth Johnson and Tyrell Plair face to face and ask them about writing books and sitting down to draw together, and chat was more than we could have asked for. This event took our children’s appreciation for books and their authors to a new level.
“Amazing! The true one-word explanation of the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. The opportunity to engage with and share with students and administrators at Newcomb Children’s Center during my interaction and recess reminded me why I loved the classroom Parents were outstanding at signings and photo ops Overall the experience was invaluable and every author should have the chance to feel the joy and grace of his work received by his target audience and to hear the questions he asked,” Johnson said.
“Being invited to the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University was a great experience. The highlight of the trip was visiting the Newcomb Children’s Center and being able to interact with the children and staff. J I can’t wait to see the growth of these kids next year,” Plair said.
Published in 2021, Just like my father is a book that focuses on the fate of children
compared to the ways of their parents. The book explores all aspects of how this comparison can affect children. The book focuses on children’s feelings but can also be a great teaching moment for parents. Just like my father can be beneficial for the two-parent household and single parent-headed households.
Everywhere, parents experience the estrangement from their children and their activities. Many parents find it difficult to start a productive dialogue with their children. Just like my father helps create this dialogue and encourages children to feel comfortable.
Tyrell Plair (left) and Elizabeth Johnson co-wrote the book ‘Just Like My Dad’. (Photo by Audrey Burroughs)