Special Guest

Area residents will have the opportunity to meet a New York Times best-selling author at a Jamestown used book store Saturday.

LouAnne Johnson, a native of Youngsville, Pa., and author of the book “My Posse Don’t Do Homework,” the autobiography that inspired the popular 1995 film “Dangerous Minds,” will appear at Novel Destination: Used Book Emporium on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. for a book signing.

At the event, Johnson will have a selection of her books available for purchase and will do readings and signings for any of the books. Johnson will specifically have copies of her newest self-published work, “That Darn Donkey!” which is a children’s book she wrote and illustrated. The book was written under Johnson’s pen name, Alyce Shirleydaughter, in honor of her mother, Alyce Shirley, who passed away after a battle with breast cancer. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the book are donated directly to breast cancer research.

According to Johnson, “That Darn Donkey!” is a fictional book about a wild burro named Pardo who she met while she was in New Mexico.

“Pardo was a wild burro who was ‘rescued’ from the wild, and these people tried to put a saddle on him – but it didn’t work,” said Johnson.

Although Johnson is currently writing books for children, it wasn’t always that way. In her youth, Johnson served in the U.S. Navy and as a U.S. Marine, and one of her earliest books, “Making Waves: A Woman in This Man’s Navy,” details her experience while serving. While in service, Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree, and after receiving an honorable discharge she went back to school to earn a master’s degree. She then became a teacher, and the events that inspired “My Posse Don’t Do Homework” began to unfold.

Johnson has since written about a dozen other published works, including a sequel to the piece that inspired “Dangerous Minds,” entitled “The Girls In the Back of the Class.” She also published her first novel, “Muchacho,” in 2009. Her other works are mostly nonfiction books about teaching, including: “Teaching Outside the Box,” which was published in 2011; and “Kick-Start Your Class,” from 2012.

“Because I have different kinds of books, rather than reading from a specific book, I’ll wait to see who is here and what they would like to hear,” said Johnson. “I’m always really happy if even one person comes and says, ‘I’m interested in what you wrote.'”

According to Carrie C. Wolfgang, owner of Novel Destination, allowing an author to come to her shop to share their work is a way to support those willing to express themselves via written word.

“It’s so brave to put your thoughts on paper and to share your ideas in words for everybody to read,” said Wolfgang. “So I feel like I’m giving people an opportunity to meet one of those brave people.”

Johnson will return to Jamestown for a book signing at Prendergast Library in July. For more information on Johnson and her books visit louannejohnson.com.

A Novel Destination is located at 177 Fluvanna Ave. in Jamestown. For more information call 489-1496 or search for “Novel Destination” on Facebook.