Thomas Cochran



Thomas Cochran was raised in Haynesville, Louisiana. After several years as a sportswriter, he became a teacher and spent 25 years in high school classrooms as an English and Creative Writing instructor. His work includes the novels Roughnecks, a Young People's National Book Award nominee that has been called "...the best novel ever written about high school football"; Running the Dogs; and Uncle Drew and the Bat Dodger. Cochran lives with his wife, Kate, in rural northwest Arkansas.

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3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Children's Author Tent 2
Book Talk
Uncle Drew and the Bat Dodger

4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


Uncle Drew and the Bat Dodger

Nine-year-old Teddy Caldwell had no idea the summer was going to be so pivotal for so many folks, or that his very bad day was going to be the beginning of a grand adventure. When a solid line drive connects with his neighbor's window, Teddy is sure he'll end up in jail and his parents will never let him stay home alone again! What starts as a disaster becomes a turning point in Teddy's life. He and his strange neighbor, Uncle Drew Weems, begin a correspondence that takes some surprising turns. Over the course of the summer, Teddy learns about Uncle Drew's life; with stories of barnstorming baseball players and Jim Crow racism, Uncle Drew spins a tale of Depression-era America that fascinates and disturbs young Teddy.

Wrapped inside the notes, mementos, and ephemera passed between the neighbors is the tale of Uncle Drew's odyssey with New Orleans Po' Boy Baseball Club player Bopeep Shines. Bopeep was a promising Negro League pitcher who stepped out of organized ball and into mystery—a mystery that Uncle Drew fills in. With ledgers of their bets he relays the story of their games as Bopeep pitched out white batters across the South. Details of their journey emerge slowly, experiences so foreign to Teddy that he has trouble understanding them.

Through the use of typical conflicts and language of the time, author Thomas Cochran paints a vivid and fact-filled tale that follows both Teddy's personal growth and the bitter disillusionment of a talented black man during the worst of times. With an uplifting twist at the end, Cochran's tale is sure to appeal to many audiences and provide a welcome tool for classroom reading and discussion.


Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.

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