Brought To You By Rapides Parish Library

History, family, freedom, and truth are topics of unifying interest within our community; they are also thematically threaded throughout Lisa Wingate’s The Book of Lost Friends. With that in mind, the Rapides Parish Library presents the 2022 Rapides Reads program, which will occur from September 16 through October 31. Rapides Reads is an annual community reading event where dynamic discussions, informational lectures, and, of course, readings center upon a single work for a six week period. 

The 2022 selection, The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate, was chosen for its setting in Louisiana and the historical significance of the “lost friends” ads that inspired it.

This #1 New York Times bestseller follows an unlikely trio of girls coming of age as they embark on a perilous journey through the post-civil war reconstruction period of Louisiana and Texas… while also telling the story of a modern-day teacher in small-town Louisiana who discovers the history of her community and the stories of the lost friends. The novel was inspired by the real-life “Lost Friends” ads through which families cruelly separated during slavery sought to find their loved ones in the tumultuous time immediately following the Civil War. A reader and museum volunteer from the Historic New Orleans Collection connected Ms. Wingate with HNOC’s vast database of over 2,500 Lost Friends ads, which chronicle the heart-wrenching and hope-filled searches of separated families, inspiring the story of eighteen-year-old Hannie Gossett. 

The Rapides Reads calendar of Events:

September 1 – October 31 Reading Period

Discover lost friends and lost history as you read The Book of Lost Friends and explore the Purchased Lives exhibits and HNOC Lost Friends Database available at each RPL location.

September 16 @ 6:00pm

Rapides Reads Kick-Off Reception at Kress Theater.

September 17 – October 27

Free copies of the Rapides Reads “Lost Friends, Lost History” available while supplies last

Reading & Discussion Guides at your favorite local coffee house or café or any RPL location.

September 29 @ 6:00pm

The Book of Lost Friends Panel Discussion: “Lost Friends, Lost History” with author Lisa Wingate, researcher Diane Plauche, and historian Naomi Carrier. Live Zoom viewing at Westside Regional Library.

October 20 @ 6:00pm

A Dream Deferred: The Lost Letters of Hawkins Wilson. Documentary screening and discussion at Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch.

Book Discussion Dates:

September 12: 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Westside Regional Library

September 15: 10:00am – 11:30am, Robertson Branch

September 15: 6:30pm – 8:00pm, Libuse Branch

October 4: 10:00am – 11:00am, Westside Regional Library

October 11: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch

October 17: 10:30am – 11:30am, Libuse Branch

October 18: 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Martin Library

October 28: 10:30am – 12:30pm, Alfred Boyce Wettermark Branch

The Rapides Parish Library staff and administration look forward to discovering and discussing the lost friends and lost history, their historical significance, and modern-day implications with you! Learn more at

Rapides Parish Library is a community service promoting lifelong learning, enhanced quality of life, and literacy through print, audiovisual and electronic resources.

 for additional resources and information.

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