Monday, April 21, 2014

Blog Moved

This "Johnette Downing Blog" page has moved to See what's happening with Johnette there.

Keep and song and story in your heart! - Johnette

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jazz Fest Minutes

Scott and I will be featured on Fred Kasten's "Jazz Fest Minutes" on WWNO on Thursday, April 18th - the 2 minute piece will air three times that day - at 7:59 am; 1:06 pm; and 5:59 pm. Tune in, and then see you at Jazz Fest in the Kids Tent on April 28, 2013 at 4:00. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fan Mail

Fiona Reyna posted on Johnette Downing Fan Page's timeline
"Loved you at the Seabrook, TX library - my boys are STILL singing your songs (ok, me too). Thanks again for a great performance - we are BIG fans! ;)"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fan Mail

Thank you again for another great show - Kehoe-France loves you! Have to share this one...after nap today, I turned on Reading Rocks. One of the boys was listening to Today is Monday in New York, and he ran over to the speaker and yelled, "Ms. Johnette, you're singing the wrong foods. We're in Louisiana, so you have to sing Louisiana food!""

-Julie Malta, Covington, LA

How To Dress a Po' Boy Book Launch

Join me for the official book launch of Johnette Downing's 

How to Dress a Po'Boy

April 13, 2013


Maple Street Book Shop
7529 Maple Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
504 861-2105

READING ROCKS! Wins a Gold Family Review Center Award!

Reading Rocks! is a musical CD for children that embraces the written stories and poetry of Johnette Downing and sets them to her music. A beautiful blend of music and a beautiful touch that every child and parent will love. - Family Review Center

Fan Mail

Hello there, I wanted to say thank you so very much for making such 
beautiful, heartwarming REAL music for children and adults! It is so rare to 
find such an amazing artist as yourself to listen to with such joy!!! Oh, would you 
ever come to alberta canada? I know our folk festival would love you to bits!! 
thanks again!!! --sharon jong, canada

Thursday, March 21, 2013

READING ROCKS! Wins a Parents' Choice Recommended Award!

Reading Rocks by New Orleans-based musician and author, Johnette Downing, is sure to become a favorite of children's librarians everywhere.
Downing's tenth children's music album is a well-honed and creatively buoyant recording that hits all the right early reading bookmarks. Combining well-crafted songs, interspersed with stories and poems, Downing also arranges an old traditional tune with delightful results. "Today Is Monday in Kentucky" is a wonderful song about the days of the week that also praises southern cuisine. Towards the end of the album, she reprises the song as "Today Is Monday in New York," substituting sorghum and spoon bread with bagels and lox. The majority of the album features her original songs and stories, including the tale of "Why The Oyster Has the Pearl," followed by her delightful "Oyster Limerick."
Her literacy theme continues with the bluegrass swing of ""R.E.A.D," the Dylan-esque "Story Time," the country funk of "Read to Me," and bluesy "Readers Are Leaders." Other highlights include the pastoral "The Colors of the Sky," and the lovely lullaby "Do-do (Sleep) My Child." Original stories (supported by great musical backing) include "Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, and "Why the Possum Has A Large Grim," both tales that are southern takes on Aesop's fables.
Downing has a beautiful, clear and present voice, plays terrific guitar and mandolin, and is backed by a group of stellar musicians including Al Petteway, Scott Billington and Jake Eckert, among others.
Lahri Bond   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to Dress A Po' Boy Book has arrived!

My 13th book with Pelican Publishing Company titled HOW TO DRESS A PO' BOY has arrived! Books may be ordered through or or


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mommy Entourage Reviews READING ROCKS!

Johnette Downing's "Reading Rocks!" is a bluesy mix of Creole, zydeco, and jazzed up country tunes.  The album combines Johnette in spoken word and lively kids songs.  As an educator with a passion for music, her goal is to foster a love for reading in children using music as her tool.  If you are looking for a combination of storytelling and songs, this is a great choice.

I hope some of these albums can help lift your spirits and keep your kids from climbing the walls.  Happy listening, and stay tuned for our winter of edition ofWhat's New in Kids Music!


The Review Broads Review READING ROCKS!

Like gumbo in a pot, Downing scrambles her ingredients with spice, Cajun, creole, gators, crawfish - into a dish we can’t stop listening to!  As always with a great kid’s CD, I let my grandkids listen ONLY after I have played the CD many times in my car.  I love the Louisiana flavors, the great motivation to read, and the fact that many songs are right out of Ms. Downing’s own fiction books for children.
Two years in the making, Reading Rocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album to combine spoken word with music.  The CD interweaves readings from five of Johnette’s beloved picture books, including her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin (Pelican Publishing, fall 2012), with eleven lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock, as well as finger plays and limericks, all designed to motivate youngsters and reluctant readers to roll into the library and bop into books.
Absolutely astonishing clips to teach your kids the co two-step, with some Dixieland jazz and Caribbean thrown in to dance, hop and skip to!
-The Review Broads, 

Playthings Reviews "Reading Rocks!"

Reading Rocks! by Johnette Downing (November 20).  This New Orleans singer/songwriter combines spoken word with music, as she interweaves readings from five of her picture books with 11 lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Offbeat Reviews Reading Rocks!

How delightful and how warm to find New Orleans’ own Johnette Downing praising and prescribing for the next generation. She wants kids to read, and so they should. She spreads out the magic of reading in such tunes as “Readers Are Leaders,” and even if I’m not completely convinced, I want to be. The playing, never less than tasty, pushes the gentle didacticism and could stand on its own should Downing ever decide to make music for grown-ups. I’m happiest with Gina Forsyth’s fiddle, but Downing, self-producing, multi-tracks herself into a mini-orchestra with string things, voices and “percussions.”
Some of the songs are actually stories. Said stories feature lazy, greedy snakes, crawfish and possums, outshone by valiant and selfless oysters, crabs and deer. Hey, I know this record is supposed to sell the young ones on the idea of the future. But can I stand under its awning awhile? Life’s better here.
-Andrew Hamlin, Offbeat Magazine

PS Mom Reviews "Reading Rocks!"

This CD is my son's newest love. I don't know what exactly he likes about it, but there is some big draw for him. Maybe it's the variety of music styles all in one CD. Maybe it's his love for reading being the content of this CD. Either way, he really enjoys it. It's one that we hear him playing in his CD player often. It's a great kid friendly and family friendly CD that will make a great addition to your CD collection. - PS Mom Reviews

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Louisiana Musicians Roster

I just found out that I have been accepted to the Louisiana Musicians Roster. Check out my listing under Traditional Folk category or Other at:


Babies Gotta Have It - Reviews READING ROCKS!

Stuff Your Kids’ Stockings With Stories – Because Reading Rocks

jd5 web Stuff Your Kids Stockings With Stories   Because Reading Rocks
Do not underestimate the power of storytelling.
In addition to performing, I am proud to have been an artist educator for many years.  I’ve worked with companies that have brought live theater to thousands of kids who would otherwise never have been exposed to it.  And over the years I have continued to be amazed at the way well-told stories can grab a child’s attention.  Even in these days of the Nintendo DS and iPod Touch, kids can get wrapped up in a simple story that sparks their imaginations.  Just this week a theater company I am a member of has been performing a story-theater style piece about Greek Mythology at Lincoln Center.  I have seen, with my own eyes, city kids sitting on the edges of their seats…to watch three actors, several funny wigs and a bamboo staff weave the tales of the Cyclops and the story of Echo.  I have to remind myself of this often.
reading rocks Stuff Your Kids Stockings With Stories   Because Reading Rocks
My daughter responded similarly to Johnette Downing’s wonderful new CD, “Reading Rocks.”  This innovative new album is the singer/songwriter/childrens book author’s first to combine spoken word with music, and it’s a delight.  Downing’s CD interweaves readings from five of her picture books with eleven new songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock.  She’s based in New Orleans and the varied musical influences of that city ooze out of every lyric and line.  My little one was caught up in the CD when we listened to it….asking me questions and singing along.  Amazing, the power of a story. Be it set to music or simply read.
Much like the Greek Myths, many of the stories in “Reading Rocks” cleverly explain natural phenomena.  Stories like “Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud” or “Why The Possum Has a Large Grin.”  Kids love these tales.
So this holiday season…maybe think about stuffing the stockings with stories.  Pick up a copy of “Reading Rocks” on Johnette Downing’s website or at our
Your kids will be glad you did.

Because Babies Grow Up Reviews READING ROCKS!

We are in love with all the albums combining music and storytelling. Johnette Downing‘s newest album, Reading Rocks! is no exception. Our children have thoroughly enjoyed the stories on this CD. They are folktale style stories telling how things came to be for certain animals. Their favorite is Why the Oyster has a Pearl. Many of her stories have also been published as books. The newest addition to her collection is Why the Possum has a Large Grin, which is also on Reading Rocks!

We’ve enjoyed the songs as well. The album has the feel of a visit to the library for storytime. There’s a warm up finger play, stories, and songs that are fun to move to. I like that the songs focus on promoting reading. It’s the perfect combination of both my passions, music and literacy!
-Because Babies Grow Up,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all love, happiness, good health and prosperity in the New Year! My good news to start the New Year is that I am engaged to Scott Billington.


I have a new Pinterest page up. Check it out at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Having Fun Saving Reviews READING ROCKS!

Reading Rocks By Johnette Downing

by TRACY on NOVEMBER 28, 2012 · 0 COMMENTS
reading rocks by johnette downing
Reading Rocks By Johnette Downing
I had the opportunity to review the CD Reading Rocks! By Johnette Downing.  I know I have told you guys that I usually prefer to listen to CDs in the car than the radio with the kiddos.  The lyrics in some of the songs on the main stations aren’t always the ones I want the kids singing too.
Plus, Steven has a CD player in his room and he likes to fall asleep to music every night.  I love it – I think it’s an adorable habit :)
Most recently he has been enjoying Reading Rocks!.
It is by Johnette Downing, she is a multi-award-winning New Orleans singer/songwriter, children’s musician, and children’s book author. She gets kids jazzed about reading with her 10th studio CD, Reading Rocks! It is about 49 minutes long and seems to be best for kids ages 2 – 8.
Two years in the making, Reading Rocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album to combine spoken word with music. The CD interweaves readings from five of Johnette’s beloved picture books, including her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin (Pelican Publishing, fall 2012), with eleven lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock, as well as finger plays and limericks, all designed to motivate youngsters and reluctant readers to roll into the library and bop into books.  Check out the You Tube video here – it’s really cute :)
With Reading Rocks!, Johnette hopes to get kids up and reading, too!  Where can you find this FUN CD?  Right on!
The very first tip Johnette offers in presentations is, “If you want your child to read, read.” This simple, but true, insight is at the heart of Reading Rocks!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Outnumbered 3 to 1: Reading Rocks - Singing Storytime with Johnette Do...

Check out this great review of READING ROCKS!
Outnumbered 3 to 1: Reading Rocks - Singing Storytime with Johnette Do...: Multi-award-winning New Orleans singer/songwriter, children's musician, and children's book author Johnette Downing gets kids jazzed abo...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow Reviews READING ROCKS!

Reading Rocks by Johnette Downing CD Review

Johnette Downing has a unique ability to combine story with song. She is passionate about reading and sings about it! Johnette's new album "Reading Rocks" is a compilation of stories, songs and fingerplays specifically highlighting reading as the key to helping young ones ignite their imaginations and soar into the land where books are friends. I love how she uses voice inflections for different characters in her stories. The stories are funny and they teach lessons as well. Johnette's New Orleans blues and jazz music along with her friendly voice will endear any reluctant reader to pick up a book and read!

-Milk N Honey Learn and Grow

Le Jouet Reading and Signing

I am reading and signing WHY THE POSSUM HAS A LARGE GRIN today as well as my other books and CDs at Le Jouet on Airline Drive in Metairie, LA today from 4-5. Come by and grin with us!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KAOS Olympia 89.3 FM

WHY THE CRAWFISH LIVES IN THE MUD aired on KAOS Olympia 89.3 FM Radio in Olympia, Washington. Check it out at: Olympia, Washington!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chic N Savvy Reviews READING ROCKS!

I love the mixtures of the music and story time. One track will tell a story and the next will get your kids up and dance. I have never seen or heard a CD with both and my kids and I love it. If they get to wild in the car I just pop that CD in and all is calm.. it’s great!

-Chicnsavvy Reviews