Tuesday, September 7, 2010

That Book Woman

That Book Woman by Heather Henson, illustrated by David Small

This was a delightful find we scooped up from our library's new acquisitions shelf. The story is inspired by the work of the Pack Horse Librarians founded as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration during the 1930s. The writing in this book reads like poetry and the illustrations are truly inspiring.

She will not take
a poke of berries
nor a mess of greens
nor any thing
Pap names to trade.
These books are free,
as free as air!

From Booklist via Amazon:
Cal describes his way-up mountain home—“So high / we hardly sight / a soul”—but that changes when the Book Woman, a traveling librarian, rides up to the house. The Book Woman is a boon for Cal’s sister, Lark, “the readenest child you ever did see,” but no use to Cal, who is not “born / to sit so stoney-still / a-starin at some chicken scratch.” However, he is impressed by the librarian, who rides in all weather; finally, he asks Lark to teach him to read. This tribute to the Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia has a lyric, simple style that lends itself to reading aloud. Henson, a Kentucky native, creates a reliable narrator in Cal, whose journey to reading is gentle and believable.

There is a page of author's notes in the back with more information regarding the Pack Horse Librarian project that would add nicely to a rabbit trail about this time period.


  1. Charlotte, when I first saw the title of this post I had to laugh because I thought someone was referring to you as 'that book lady'. Oh...and this is to be a compliment! You are always full of so many grand reviews!

    BTW - the book looks great!

  2. Thank you, Patty. I might well start getting "that book woman" reputation if I don't break out of this blogging funk. :)


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