Blessen makes her debut Saturday

by Walter Pierce

A bildungsroman set on a Louisiana bayou, Margaret Simon's debut novel for young readers is being hailed for its authenticity. Get your copy Saturday at Saint Street Inn.

Margaret Simon

New Iberia teacher/poet/author Margaret Simon will sign copies of her new book, Blessen, from 4-6 p.m. Saturday at Saint Street Inn. Set on a bayou in southwest Louisiana, Simon's new novel for young readers chronicles, in first person, the trials, triumphs and tribulations of an adolescent black girl, Blessen Lafleur, as she comes to terms with the world and her place in it.

That's what we've gleamed from the pre-publicity. And although we've yet to read the book, it's arriving in bookstores with some pretty powerful endorsements. Darrell Bourque, former poet laureate of Louisiana, writes of Blessen, "The young protagonist's challenges are the challenges of emerging consciousness wherever they occur and her story is one that is honest and resilient and true.  In this story limited horizons press in everywhere, but it is the power of possibilities that gives the story its final resonance."

Fellow young-adult author Sharon Arms Doucet also offers unqualified praise: "In this debut novel, Margaret Simon weaves her tale with authenticity and a strong sense of this unique culture."

"The skillfully crafted narrative and the believable characterizations are enhanced by Simon's gift for

description that recreates the sights and the sounds of South Louisiana. It is a compelling read," writes Ann Dobie, professor emerita at UL Lafayette.

A Mississippi native who married a Cajun, Simon lives on the banks of Bayou Teche in New Iberia and most recently taught gifted students. Her poetry has appeared in The Aurorean.

Free slushies and snacks will be available to families during the two-hour event. Blessen is also now available through Amazon by clicking here.