Emma Bland Smith
Emma Bland Smith is a librarian and the author of many books for children. Her latest include Mr. McCloskey’s Marvelous Mallards, How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower, and The Gardener of Alcatraz. Smith lives in an old creaky house in San Francisco (just a few blocks away from the museum where Claude the white alligator resides!) with her family, pets, and too many coffee cups and cookbooks. Visit her online at EmmaBSmith.com.
Schedule will be posted when available.
Claude: The True Story of a White Alligator
"Ultimately, Claude’s hopeful tale is a celebration of individuality and the joy in finding those who appreciate you for exactly who you are." - Booklist
Claude is a celebrity alligator and the mascot for San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences. His story started almost 25 years ago in Louisiana, where he hatched out of his egg to discover he looked different from the other hatchlings. They were green and Claude was white. The other hatchings avoided him, and his color made him vulnerable to predators. So Claude went to a special zoo that cared for alligators where he lived in a pen by himself. Now he was safe--but alone.
One day, scientists at the California Academy of Sciences heard about him and asked the zoo if he could come and live in the Academy's swamp. He made a 2,800 mile journey to his new home, where he had a surprise--he would share his swamp with Bonnie, an alligator who the scientists hoped would be a friend for Claude.
Unfortunately, Bonnie didn't like Claude's differences either, so she was moved to another home. But then Claude was alone again--or was he?
With Bonnie gone, Claude began to interact with the five enormous snapping turtles who shared his swamp. The turtles didn't mind at all that Claude was different! And neither do the millions of people who visit him every year. They know that Claude's differences are exactly what makes him special.
Claude includes back matter with answers to frequently asked questions about the famous alligator, including information about albinism in animals.
Mr. McClosky's Marvelous Mallards: The Making of Make Way for Ducklings
While writing and illustrating the beloved picture book Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey brings a flock of ducklings into his tiny New York City apartment. But an artist + a bunch of ducklings in his apartment = chaos! There are ducklings in the bathtub and ducklings in the kitchen, quacking at dawn and sitting on his desk. Can he learn to draw them just right before they grow too big?
This glimpse into the creation of a much-loved story for kids is a must-read for fans of children’s books, or for anyone who is interested in the creative process and the importance of persistence.
“Emma Smith has done a bang-up job imagining how my father wrote Make Way for Ducklings. I enjoyed reading her book.” — Jane McCloskey, daughter of Robert McCloskey and author of Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures
“A wonderfully rollicking rendition of the story behind the story.” — Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor-winning author of books for children and author of Robert McCloskey
Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.