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Pumpkin Bash: A Children's Book Festival

Pumpkin Bash: A Children's Book Festival

Books! Games! Costumes! The 41st annual Pumpkin Bash: A Children's Book Festival is back from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. October 19 at the Ouachita Parish Public Library's Main Branch. Children can mix and mingle with authors, play games, munch on snacks, compete in a costume contest, and even win a free book (while supplies last). The costume contest begins at noon. The costume contest schedule is:

  • 0-24 months at noon
  • 3-4 years at 12:10
  • 5-7 years at 12:20
  • 8-12 years at 12:30
  • Family at 12:40
  • Book Character at 12:50

The Main Branch and the bookmobile will be open October 19. All other branches will be closed for Pumpkin Bash. Like all Ouachita Parish Public Library programs, this community event is free to the public to attend. For questions regarding Pumpkin Bash, please call 318.327.1490. Pumpkin Bash is sponsored by Friends of the Ouachita Public Library, and costume contest prizes are thanks to the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce. 


Antoinette Clark
Antoinette Clark has spent most of her adult life helping others. She is the President/CEO of Shoulders of Strength, Incorporated, which was founded in 2004 and provides support coordination and counseling services to both children and adults with disabilities and mental health issues. She also founded a non-profit, Community Connections, Inc. in 2006, that provides a variety of resources to Veterans and families who require assistance. To find out more about the services that Shoulders of Strength and Community Connections offer, please visit Shouldersofstrength.com and ccilouisiana.org
As an adult, Antoinette has spent her career developing her entrepreneurial skills in for profit and non-profit endeavors. However, she has never strayed from her first love that developed during childhood, writing. The culmination of this love is the publication of her first children's book in the series, Kindness Matters

Jamie Mayes

Mother and son duo, Jamie Mayes and Lee Antwine, III, are the authors of The Mommy & Me Cookbook. In this book, they share their love for good Southern cooking and healthy foods through some of their favorite recipes. Their mission is to show other families how much fun they can have when they spend time in the kitchen together.
Lee is a four-year-old pre-k student who enjoys reading, playing sports, and most importantly, cooking with mom! Lee is always excited to share his new book and takes any opportunity to talk with others about The Mommy & Me Cookbook.
Jamie is an educator, published author, and the owner of Jamie Mayes Educational Consulting & Literacy Services, LLC. Her mission is to share the power and beauty of literacy with audiences of all ages, cultures, races, and beliefs. She believes that literacy has a unifying power and education is the key to empowering mankind. Her love for literature and education is her constant motivation to write with depth and passion and to help students, teachers, parents, and communities to thrive. Her greatest commitment is to be the best parent possible while enjoying motherhood. Her passion for cooking became a household hobby when Lee expressed his interested in cooking with his mom. Together, they share their passion with readers all over the world. 

Jason Byron Nelson
Born, raised and educated in Louisiana, Jason Byron Nelson is an illustrator, fine-artist and writer who finds inspiration in the diversity of everyday life. His methods and mediums are nearly as assorted as his inspirations. From pixels to spraypaint, Nelson has adapted several unconventional styles on the path to creating his own.
Today, Nelson is the sole force behind Trick Button, a Monroe-based design boutique specializing in commercial illustration and convincing clients that the need for branding goes far beyond logos and Facebook posts.

Lisa Poché Calhoun

While she was editing her fist novel, Superflare: The Fortunate Ones, Calhoun's seven-year-old granddaughter, Victoria, asked to write a book, “Just me and you, Mawmaw.” Of course, she said yes. To buy time to finish the edit, she instructed the child to “think of a story.” Soon after the two revisited the idea, and the child knew what she wished to write. The book, The Lost Lucky Horseshoe …but they find it!, is the result of their collaboration. Lisa’s great-niece, Michelle, who was fifteen-years-old at the time, illustrated it. Victoria, now ten, loves being a published author and often accompanies her grandmother to book signings.
Lisa and her husband John make their home in Baton Rouge and at their farm in Northeast Louisiana. They enjoy time spent with their family, friends, and their cat and dog. They have two retired show horses she calls her “pasture ornaments.” They live mostly in the city, but Lisa grew up on a sugarcane farm and will readily point out that she’s a country girl at heart. There she’s truly in her element.

Tassa Avara

Tassa Avara lives in West Monroe, Louisiana. She loves singing, the outdoors, hiking, and observing God’s beautiful creations. Using her passion for writing and art, she desires for her stories and illustrations to educate children on moral character and respect for themselves and others, and to encourage a love for reading. Tassa is a 2nd grade teacher at Boley Elementary in West Monroe, Louisiana. She holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from ULM and has been teaching for thirteen years.

Our Mission

The mission of the Ouachita Parish Public Library is to advance literacy, inspire lifelong learning, and strengthen our community by serving everyone in Ouachita Parish.


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