Florida Humanities Center for Book has selected one adult book and one youth book by Florida authors to represent the Sunshine State at the 2024 National Book Festival: “Gator Country: Deception, Danger, and Alligators in the Everglades” by Rebecca Renner (Flatiron Books, 2023) and  “Our Roof is Blue” by Sara E. Echenique (Charlesbridge, 2023). 

Echenique’s children’s book tells the heartfelt story of the resilience of two siblings as they work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Maria destroys their home in Puerto Rico. Renner’s nonfiction narrative is a page-turning, head-spinning true story of an underground operation into the mysterious world of alligator poaching and its larger than life Floridian characters. “Our Roof is Blue” is the 2023 Florida Book Award bronze winner in the Young Children’s Literature category. Renner, a National Geographic contributor, received the 2023 Florida Book Awards’ Gerald Ensley Developing Writer Award for her debut book.

“These titles enhance Florida Humanities’ ongoing partnership with the Florida Book Awards and spotlight the varied and rich literary culture of our state,” April Myerscough, grants coordinator at Florida Humanities. “Both of this year’s choices delve into what it means to be a Floridian, and explore the myths and realities of our state. Whether readers are native Floridians or recently moved here, these titles showcase the many facets of what life in the Sunshine State entails.”

The Library of Congress Center for the Book has affiliates in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and Northern Marianas. These affiliates carry out the center’s mission of promoting books, reading, libraries and literacy, as well as their local literary heritage.  Florida Humanities was designated the state’s Center for the Book affiliate in 2021.

Each Center for the Book affiliate chooses a title for the Library’s “Great Reads from  Great Reads” program. Then, all the books are featured at the National Book Fesvials Roadmap to Reading — a vast space at the festival where every center has a table to promote their book choices as well as other aspects of their state’s or territory’s unique literary heritage. This year’s National Book Festival takes place Aug. 24 in-person in Washington, D.C., and will also include many livestreamed and recorded virtual programs celebrating books and authors. 

To see the complete list of this year’s “Great Reads from Great Places” selections from around the country, click here

The National Book Festival Roadmap to Reading is made possible by the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional support from Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.