Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Cultural notes and a recipe for 'green gumbo' cap this mildly subversion nod to a Mardi Gras tradition and a delicious regional dish." Other books by Johnette include by blues legend Bobby Rush, which also earned her husband, producer Scott Billington, his third Grammy Award.
, written by Downing and illustrated by Heather Stanley, was a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist and was donated by the Audubon Nature Institute and the New Orleans Pelicans, as part of their wetlands education initiative, to every public library and elementary school in the state at a ceremony at the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival.
is an original Cajun folktale about a clever little rooster who outwits the Courir de Mardi Gras revelers.
Johnette is renowned for her original songs, stories, haiku, and Southern folktales. In addition to her parenting media accolades are a New Orleans City Business Magazine Women of the Year Award, a New Orleans Magazine 2014 Top Female Achievers Award, a Gambit Weekly 40 Under 40 Award, and a New Orleans Magazine Thirty People to Watch Award.
Her books , her latest book, were chosen to represent the State of Louisiana at the National Book Festival in Washington, D. In 2016, Downing was commissioned by the Audubon Nature Institute and the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team to write a picture book about a pelican and the wetlands.
Author, freelance writer, and Louisiana Book News columnist Cheré Coen writes, "Johnette Downing's vibrant storytelling makes every book a celebration between covers." Johnette's career as a published author, like her children's music career, began organically: illustrator Deborah Ousley Kadair Thomas approached Johnette after a library concert and said, "I like your 'Today is Monday in Louisiana' song.
Do you mind if I illustrate it and submit it to my publisher?
She is a regular performer at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Festival, and the Louisiana Book Festival, as well as in schools, libraries, performing arts centers, and museums.
For almost a decade, she has performed a free monthly Family Friendly Friday in the French Market concert series at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Visitor's Center.
Johnette would sit in that library for hours reading and visualizing her own books upon those shelves.