Reading with Jackie Simien
Anchor/author tirelessly promotes literacy
Lake Charles, La., native and longtime Southeast Texas news anchor Jackie Simien released her first children’s book, “Bonjour, Tee Belle,” in October, which is Creole Heritage Month. The book is a tribute to the culture and Simien’s mother, Annabelle Simien Amos, a Mallet, La., native.
“Bonjour, Tee Belle” is the first in what the author hopes to be a series of Creole children’s books featuring her mother as the heroine of the stories.
“‘Tee Belle’ is my mother’s childhood nickname,” said Simien. “My mother spoke only Creole French until the age of 6 and still prefers French to English when speaking, even today. In addition to highlighting Creole culture, young readers will learn words in French on each page.”
Simien has been on a campaign to fight illiteracy for many years. “My mother never attended school a day in her life and cannot read or write to this day,” says the author. “When you can’t read, a lot of the world is cut off to you. No one should be crippled by the inability to read.”
For several years Simien served as a volunteer at the Beaumont Independent School District’s Head Start program, reading to the children twice a week. The author often visits schools throughout Southeast Texas delivering motivational speeches and teaching students about the journalism profession. Simien was born in Lafayette, La., and grew up in Lake Charles. She began her broadcast career in her hometown as a reporter at KPLC-TV, the NBC affiliate. She attended Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge on a full academic scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications with minors in English and history in 1993. She is a respected Beaumont news anchor, coming to Southeast Texas in 1994. Simien currently anchors the 6 and 10 o’clock weeknight newscasts on KBMT