Author LouAnne Johnson To Visit Library

Youngsville, Pa., native LouAnne Johnson will visit Prendergast Library from 2-3 p.m. Monday, July 22, for an author talk and signing of “That Darn Donkey!”

The featured book was self-published in 2012, as the first in a series written under a pen name, Alyce Shirleydaughter, created in honor of her mother.

“That Darn Donkey” is based on the true story of Pardo, a wild burro she adopted in New Mexico, and is told from the point of view of a two-year-old, 250-pound animal which has never had a single adventure or seen a human being. His dreams come true when he is rescued by two cowboys and adopted by a father and son.

“I know how difficult it can be to motivate boys to read, so I wrote a book that appeals to both boys and girls,” the author said.

This book highlights the Southwest’s animals and climate, includes a few Spanish words, and employs literary techniques such as alliteration. It is appropriate for young readers from K-6 and older remedial readers. Copies will be available for $10.

After reading from the book, Johnson will leads a five-minute sing-along featuring the original song “Pardo is a Burro.”

“We all have great fun because there are a lot of Haw-hees in the song,” she said.

She will also give a short presentation for parents about how to help struggling readers and provide a printed handout of resources. During the parents’ program, the library will offer a craft or coloring sheet for children.

Expressing enthusiasm to be part of local summer reading activities, Johnson said, “So many kids fall in love with reading during summer library programs. I know – I was one of them.”

She has just received the first printing of the second book in her young-reader series, “That Dang Dog!” Copies appropriate for readers in grades 3 through 7 will also be available for $10 during her library visit.

The star of “That Dang Dog!” is Millie, a mini Schnauzer whose mother buried her underground when she was just two weeks old and weighed a half pound. When she was dug up a day later, she had no heartbeat and was not breathing, but the author gave her puppy CPR and revived her, and she made a dramatic recovery.

Johnson has written 11 other books, including “Teaching Outside the Box,” “Kick-Start Your Class” and the young adult novel “Muchacho.”

She is best known for her memoir about teaching at-risk teens, “My Posse Don’t Do Homework,” which has been published in eight languages and was adapted for the 1995 hit movie “Dangerous Minds” starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

She currently teaches adult education classes and workshops in the Warren and Jamestown areas.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in teaching English and a doctorate in educational leadership.

She has been a keynote speaker for many universities and educational organizations and a guest on “Oprah” and other TV shows. She also spent nine years on active military duty.

A summer reading challenge with prizes for children, teens, and adults is in progress at Prendergast Library through Aug. 31.

The library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. For information, call 484-7135.