Children’s Book by Kerry Madden-Lunsford selected to be featured at the 2019 National Book Festival

Alabama Center for the Book has selected “Ernestine’s Milky Way” by Alabama author Kerry Madden-Lunsford to be featured at its booth at the 19th National Book Festival . Located in the Pavilion of States, the booth celebrates the Library of Congress’ “Discover Great Places Through Reading” program. 

The book festival will be held Saturday, August 31, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities.  

“Ernestine’s Milky Way” is an empowering picture book set in the 1940s about a determined five-year-old girl who embarks on a journey to deliver milk to her neighbors in the holler. The book is for children ages three to seven.

“The inspiration forErnestine’s Milky Way’ was my real mountain friend, Ernestine Edwards Upchurch,” said Madden-Lunsford.

“She was a social worker, a historian, the literary matriarch of the mountains, and a great storyteller. She had a bright burning curiosity about people and she read everything. Her house was full of books and she championed new authors and supported established authors. She loved kids and wanted them reading and telling stories too.

“After she told me about carrying milk through the mountains as a child, the title popped into my head when I looked up at the sky and saw the Milky Way and I thought – ‘Ernestine’s Milky Way.’ Somebody should write a story. Then I realized a few years later that somebody was going to have to be me, and I’m so grateful for Emily Sutton’s illustrations that brought the story to life.”

Madden-Lunsford’s first novel, “Offsides,” was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age.  Her book, “Up Close Harper Lee,” made Booklist’s Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth.  She has written plays, screenplays, articles and books.  She turned to writing children’s literature with her award-winning and well-reviewed Maggie Valley Trilogy.

Madden-Lunsford directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and teaches in the Antioch MFA Program in Los Angeles.  The mother of three adult children, she divides her time between Birmingham and Los Angeles.

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.  Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage. 

The Alabama Center for the Book supports reading, literacy and other book-related activities in Alabama as well as promotes appreciation of regional writers.  The Center is a founding co-sponsor of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion.  A public-private partnership, its sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit

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