Appalachian Fiction for Children and Young Adults
Additional AppLit Resource:
Fiction in picture books is listed in Realistic Appalachian Picture Books and Appalachian Folktales and Folk Songs in Picture Books.
Angleberger, Tom. Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book. New York: Amulet Books, 2011. Humorous sequel to Origami Yoda by a writer who sets his books in southwestern Virginia. "Harvey, upset when his Darth Paper finger puppet brings humiliation, gets Dwight suspended, but Origami Yoda asks Tommy and Kellan, now in seventh grade, to make a new casefile to persuade the School Board to reinstate Dwight." (The author has also written a handicraft book featuring the same kids, Art2-d2's Guide to Folding and Doodling. Amulet Books, 2013.)
Angleberger, Tom. The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book. New York: Amulet Books, 2012. Another humorous sequel to Origami Yoda by a writer who sets his books in southwestern Virginia. "McQuarrie Middle School's students miss Origami Yoda when Dwight leaves for Tippett Academy, but he sends Sara a paper Fortune Wookiee that seems to give advice just as good as Yoda's–even if, in the hands of girls, it seems preoccupied with romance."
Angleberger, Tom. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Illus. Jason Rosenstock. New York: Amulet Books, 2010. Humorous story about a group of kids at McQuarrie Middle School, by a writer who sets his books in southwestern Virginia. "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a novel about a weird kid who makes a Yoda finger puppet out of paper. The kid seems completely clueless, but Origami Yoda is totally Jedi-wise. Some kids believe in Origami Yoda. Some think he's just a piece of paper. One kid, Tommy, decides to find out the truth..." (from author's web site). The book and web site contain details about making origami figures. See review by Karen Coats in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 63, no. 10 (2010): 417. (The author has also written a handicraft book featuring the same kids, Art2-d2's Guide to Folding and Doodling. Amulet Books, 2013.)
Angleberger, Tom. The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. Amulet Books, 2013. Another humorous sequel to Origami Yoda by a writer who sets his books in southwestern Virginia. "Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight is back–and not a moment too soon–as Kellen, Sara, and the gang face a new Menace: the FunTime Educational Program. FunTime is supposed to raise students' standardized test scores. Instead, it's driving everyone crazy. The students turn to Origami Yoda for help." (The author has also written a handicraft book featuring the same kids, Art2-d2's Guide to Folding and Doodling. Amulet Books, 2013.)
Baker, Julie. Up Molasses Mountain. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2002. Set in Clay, West Virginia, the novel is written in two distinct voices, those of fifteen-year-old Elizabeth and Clarence, who suffers the continual jokes and laughter of his peers because he has a harelip. During the year of 1953, the circus comes to town, a strike divides father and son, Elizabeth learns about loss, and both she and Clarence share a brief period of peace and hope. Many real-life historical people are mentioned in the novel: Mrs. Roosevelt, John L. Lewis, Mother Jones. Folk hero John Henry is mentioned. Pieces of strike songs and hymns dot the storyline, emphasizing the Appalachian setting. Julie Baker, the author, grew up in West Virginia listening to stories about the mine wars.
Banks, Sara H. Remember My Name. Illus. Birgitta Saflund. Niwot, CO: Roberts Rinehart in cooperation with the Council for Indian Education, 1993. 120 pp. " Eleven-year-old Annie Rising Fawn Stuart is sent to live with her uncle, a wealthy Cherokee plantation owner in Georgia, where she befriends a young slave girl and is caught up in the tragic events surrounding the forced Indian removal in 1838" (WorldCat). Includes a map.
Barrett, S. M. Joe, the Cherokee. Kansas City, MO: Burton Pub., 1944.
Beatty, Patricia. Charley Skedaddle. New York: Troll, 1989. The protagonist hides in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Civil War.
Beebe, B. F. Appalachian Elk. Illus. James Ralph Johnson. New York: D. McKay, 1962.
Belton, Sandra. McKendree. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2000. "McKendree ain't a who. It's a place" (1). In fact, McKendree is a real place in West Virginia, near Mt. Hope, east of Charleston, the state capital. Tilara Haynes, the protagonist of the novel, is going there for the summer to visit her Aunt Cloelle. Memories flood Tilara's mind as she returns to her family's homeplace–the rhythm of the language, the beauty of the mountains. This summer Tilara and some of the young people of Warren Springs spend time at McKendree, a home for old people. The elderly residents tell stories of times past, stories that reveal pride and stories that reveal vanity, maybe even stereotyping–stories about the Harlem Renaissance and the Cotton Club. They become attached to the young people. And the young people, much to their surprise, become attached to them. It is a time of growth, a time to learn to love–self and others. But there's more going on in McKendree and in the minds of the young people, who learn a great deal about themselves and life by helping others. "March stood next to Tilara, his face a golden profile against the deep chocolate of her cheeks and hair. On Tilara's other side, Olivia's freckled, sugarcane face peeked from under a crown of reddish curls as she leaned close to Thumb, whose face and hair matched the color of shaded desert sand. Next to him, Georgia's sun-daisy face was framed by the yellow-brown ribbon curls that fell across her cheeks and shoulder. Completing the circle was Braxton, his ebony face and hair rising above the others" (169). Dr. Adolphus Courtland locked this picture inside himself whispering "lines from one of his favorite poems: 'The night is beautiful,/So the faces of my people. . . '" (169). It was a good summer, but it was also a hard summer, a summer for coming to terms with the truth and learning about self.
Berg, Larry G. The Trail to Sunrise: A Family's Journey on the Appalachian Trail. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2005. "A backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail may not sound like an enjoyable family vacation. But for the Lawrence family, hiking hundreds of miles on the AT proves to be an exciting, unforgettable, fun filled adventure. Twelve-year-old Justin gains valuable lessons in 'Nature's Classroom,' while meeting the physical and emotional challenges of the hike. Together the family encounters storms, uninvited nighttime visitors, wild creatures, a variety of other hikers, and even an Appalachian Trail thief. Find out how Justin and his six-year-old sister Emma, find clues that lead them on a treasure hunt along the Appalachian Trail."
Booker, Jim. Trail to Oklahoma. Illus. William Moyers. Nashville: Broadman, 1959. Fiction about the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
Booth, A Fran. Singing Violet: The Decade between Georgia's Gold Rush and the Trail of Tears. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2000. 132 pp.
Borland, Kathryn and Helen Speicher. Good-by to Stony Crick. Illus. Deanne Hollinger. Weekly Reader Books. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975. 128 pp. Jeremy Whitehead's family drives from their mountain home to Chicago, since their house has burned down and a cousin convinced Pa to find work in the city. Jeremy has more trouble making friends with teachers or other kids than his four siblings do, except that he makes friends early on with a blind teacher and his seeing eye dog, who live in the same building. Reading library books in this teacher's room is an escape from Jeremy's noisy environment. Many details reveal the unexpected differences between their old home surrounded by nature, with a one-room schoolhouse and friendly neighbors, and the crowded, dirty environment of the city. In several episodes Whitehead boys are victimized by criminal tricks of other boys. Although Ma disapproves of buying on credit, Pa's purchase of things such as a TV, couch, and Christmas presents make a return to Kentucky less likely. One of Jeremy's difficulties at school is that his teacher, Mrs. McNutt, corrects his grammar throughout his oral report, so he can't make his descriptions exciting when he tries to tell the class about his adventure of getting shot at during hunting season. A very different, kind teacher who appears after Christmas encourages him without correcting him while he tells a story, and by the end he has more positive attitudes about making an effort to form friendships. The new teacher admires Ma's quilts and helps form a co-op in which immigrant women can make quilts to sell and find friends. Pa has trouble keeping a job and the story shows in the end that tedious assembly line work which pays well is unfulfilling for a man of many skills. Jeremy and his mother have the strongest desire to return home and try to encourage others in the family to save money, but Jeremy accepts the uncertainty of their future and resolves to make the best of his life in Chicago.
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Halfway to the Sky. New York: Random House/Yearling, 2002. Twelve-year-old Katahdhin leaves her Bristol, TN home alone to hike the Appalachian trail after her older brother dies and her parents divorce. She and her brother Springer were named after the end points of the trail, where their parents met. She and her mother end up on the trail together, hiking from Georgia to Virginia. Many details about specific places and the hardships and pleasures of thru-hiking are discussed. Each chapter begins with Katahdin's journal records of the place, weather, and miles hiked.
Brand, Irene B. The Hills Are Calling. Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 1990. The novel is set in West Virginia in the fictional town of Verndale in the 1930s.
Breeding, Robert L. From London to Appalachia. Illus. Erin C. Moore. Knoxville, Tenn: Thriftecon Publications, 1991. "In the early 1700s Jamie, an English orphan boy who has been sold into indentured servitude in the Virginia colony, flees into the wilderness to live among the Cherokee Indians and establish the first white settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains."
Bryan, Jennifer, L. See Kendle, below.
Burch, Robert. Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain. New York: Viking, 1980. 145 pp. Sold for ages 9-12. "Tough times in rural Georgia during the Depression take a lively turn when spirited Ida Early arrives to keep house for the Suttons." School Library Journal called Ida "a mountain Mary Poppins" and Publisher's Weekly noted that "Ida is as tall as the tales she tells, a gangly scarecrow." Ida appears out of nowhere when the Suttons need a housekeeper months after their mother has died. Two strict aunts disapprove of Ida's unconventional ways and unpolished manners but Mr. Sutton defends her for feeding them well and keeping the children amused. Review and study guide by Carol Hurst in Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site. See sequel above.
Burch, Robert. Queenie Peavy. Illus. Jerry
Lazare. New York: Viking Press, 1966. This novel set in rural Georgia, about a thirteen-year-old girl whose father is in prison, is often listed as an Appalachian book. Roberta Herrin established in a telephone interview with the author that this novel is not set in Appalachia like his Ida Early books (Appalachian Children's Literature: An Annotated Bibliography,2010, p. 41).
Byars, Betsy. Midnight
Fox. New York: Scholastic, 1968. Grades
5-6. "Tony dislikes spending the summer on his aunt's farm
until he discovers a black fox in the forest and tracks her to her den."
Byars, Betsy Cromer. Trouble River. Illus. Rocco Negri. New York: Viking Press, 1969. "When he builds his raft, a twelve-year-old boy never dreams that it will serve as the sole means of escape for himself and his grandmother when hostile Indians threaten their prairie cabin."
Carbone, Elisa Lynn. Night Running: How James Escaped with the Help of His Faithful Dog: Based on a True Story. Illus. E. B. Lewis. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. "A runaway slave makes a daring escape to freedom with the help of his faithful hunting dog, Zeus. Based on the true story of James Smith's journey from Virginia to Ohio in the mid-1800s." The author's web site gives illustrations and notes on the source.
Card, Orson Scott. The Lost Gate: A Novel of the Mither Mages. New York: Tor, 2010. "Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself. He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people. There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English—but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see. Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family" (from author's web site). "Danny grew up in a family compound in Virginia, believing that he alone of his family had no magical power. But he was wrong. Kidnapped from his high school by a rival family, he learns that he has the power to reopen the gates between Earth and the world of Westil" (WorldCat).
Card, Orson Scott. The Gate Thief. New York: Tor, 2013. "In this sequel to The Lost Gate, bestselling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the Mages of Westil who live in exile on Earth in The Gate Thief. Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can't control him…and they can't control him. He is far too powerful. And on Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless—he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he still must somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North. For when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took the responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will come to understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago" (from author's web site).
Caudill, Rebecca. Barrie and Daughter. Illus. Berkeley Williams, Jr. Eau Claire, WI: E. M. Hale, 1943. "Peter Barrie built a little white house on the west bank of the Poor Fork in southeastern Kentucky in the late 1800's. His daughter, Fern, lives within the confines of a woman's role at the end of the 19th century."
Caudill, Rebecca. Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? Illus. Nancy Grossman. New York: Yearling Book, 1966. 94 pp. This chapter book with black and white full-page drawings tells of Charley's adventures in a summer preschool. His nine siblings tell him of wonders he will see at Raccoon Hollow School, such as sinks with running water, a library, and an art classroom where they fingerpaint, sculpt with clay, color, and build with blocks. Charlie never gets to carry the flag to the bus after school because his curiosity and high spirits get him into trouble, but the men and women teachers are kind. Finally Charlie's offer to help the librarian shelve new books, even though he can't read yet, earns him the honor of carrying the flag as the most helpful student that day. Charlie and the librarian discuss the importance of literacy, learning, and hard work, which will enable him to travel to cities and distant places he has heard about from his uncle. Uncle Hawk, who is laid off from the mines and can't find a job, is illiterate because he had no transportation or nearby school as a child, while Charley's father, who has been injured in the mines, was taught to read by his wife. Since Charley develops a strong interest in snakes and his home up a long mountain road has no books, the librarian gives him a book about snakes to start his own library.
Caudill, Rebecca. The Far-Off Land. Illus. Brinton Turkle. New York: Viking Press, 1964. "In 1780, sixteen-year-old Ketty makes an adventurous and hard trip with her brother and others to French Lick on the Cumberland in frontier Tennessee."
Caudill, Rebecca. Happy Little Family. Illus. Decie Merwin. Philadelphia: J. C. Winston, 1947. 116 pp. Rpt. Bathgate, ND: Bethlehem Books and San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004. "Five adventures in Bonny's busy four-year-old life with her three sisters and brothers in the days of copper-toed shoes."
Caudill, Rebecca. Susan Cornish. Illus. E. Harper Johnson. New York: Viking Press, 1955. 286 pp. "Susan Cornish is assigned to teach in a one-room school in a small Southern community, and soon realizes that she must first gain her pupils' trust and their parents' confidence in her."
Caudill, Rebecca. Schoolhouse in the Woods. Illus. Decie Merwin. Philadelphia, Winston Co., 1949. Rpt. Bathgate, ND: Bethlehem Books and San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004. 129 pp. "During her first year in a one-room school in the Kentucky hills, Bonnie has many exciting experiences, from getting her first book to playing an angel in a play.
Caudill, Rebecca. Tree of Freedom. Illus. Dorothy Bayley Morse. New York: Viking, 1949. "The two eldest children of a pioneer family are determined to carry their love of beauty and learning to their new home in the Kentucky Wilderness." When the Venable family moves from Carolina to Kentucky in 1780, they meet with rival claims to their new land as well as harsh demands for their sons to be Revolutionary War recruits. Jennifer Smith's article "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature" discusses this book's portrayal of everyday pioneer life, including songs, games, and superstitions. "A wide variety of music is incorporated into the story. One example from the novel is the ballad 'Golden Willow Tree,' which Noel, the oldest son in the story, sings while he accompanies himself on the dulcimer. . . . With her inclusion of this and other ballads, hymns, and play songs, Caudill captures the core of music that is called traditional Appalachian music. It is largely based on Anglo-Celtic folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes." Later Smith discusses the play rhyme “William Matrimmatoe” in this novel and Gloria Houston's My Great Aunt Arizona. [Smith in Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): pp. 31-3.]
Caudill, Rebecca. Up and Down the River. Philadelphia: Winston, 1951. "Bonnie and Debbie try to 'get rich' over summer vacation by selling laundry bluing and pictures door to door in rural Kentucky at the beginning of the 20th century, but summer's end finds them with a yard full of pets and empty pockets."
Ceder, Georgiana D. Winter Without Salt. Charles Walker. New York: Morrow, 1962. 125 pp. Twelve-year-old Peter copes with hardships in Kentucky about 1798, including lack of salt and his anger at Indians who killed his parents. Some readers see stereotypes in the novel but it was also reviewed as a lively adventure with interesting characters.
Chaffin, Lillie D. Freeman. New York: Macmillan, 1972. 152 pp. "After living with his grandparents all his life, twelve-year-old Freeman is shocked to learn that his parents are not dead, but returning home now that his father is out of prison." Subject headings include Kentucky and "dysfunctional families."
Chaffin, Lillie D. John Henry McCoy. Illus. Emanuel Schongut. New York: Macmillan, 1971. "Tired of constant moves, a ten-year-old boy tries to find a way to help his family settle permanently in Appalachia."
Charbonneau, Eileen. The Mound Builders' Secret. You-solve it Mysteries, 3. New York: Kensington Pub., 1994. "Tad Gist and his archaeologist dad visit a dig outside Atlanta, Georgia. Soon acts of sabotage occur and a dig member is found dead. Tad and Linda Tassel, the half-Cherokee, sixteen-year old site supervisor must find out who is causing the problems. Is it the work of a fringe group of Cherokee who oppose the disturbing of an ancient burial site, or those against the building of a dam set to start as soon as the dig is completed ... or is it someone else?"
Clark, Billy C. Goodbye Kate.
1964. Ed. Jerry A. Herndon. Illus. Harold Eldridge. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart
Foundation, 1994. 274 pp. "Follows the misadventures of a country
boy from Kentucky and his mischievous mule."
Cole, Norma. The Final Tide. New York: M. K. McElderry Books, 1990. "When the Tennessee Valley Authority builds a dam at Wolf Creek to bring electricity to Tollers Ridge, Kentucky, everyone in fourteen-year-old Geneva's family prepares to move to higher ground except for Granny, who refuses to leave her home." Geneva is best friends with her cousin Alice, whose father moves his large family to town and runs a store that helps them enter the modern world, while Geneva's father will continue farming in a new location. Geneva's coming-of-age story includes struggles with her mother over cutting her hair and giving up boyish childhood games such as marbles, her father's opposition to her desire to attend high school and become a teacher, and learning to respond to Granny's needs. Painful decisions about whether to allow family graves to be moved are followed by heartbreaking descriptions of the TVA's systematic destruction of fields and forests as well as the church, school and farms that had been built by Geneva's kin. Her father doesn't sell his house remnants to strangers for building elsewhere because it was always in the Haws family since Daniel Boone's time. As families move away and the final tide approaches, the school teacher and children are saddened but Geneva loves being assigned to teach the younger children. They decide to have a graduation to end Geneva's shortened eighth-grade year on the day the school is closed and all its contents given away. As Geneva gets along best with Granny, she takes on more responsibility for the stubborn old lady and moves in with her after everyone else moves. Their battle of wills over Granny's determination to die (and shoot intruders) rather than leaving her lifelong home lead to interesting developments in relations among the three generations of Haws as they negotiate their attachment to traditions along with new ideas about life, change, and God's will. Geneva and Granny mention a Cherokee ancestor several times. For a paranormal novel that involves history of the community flooded over to form Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, see Becky Mushko's Stuck! below. Grandpa's Mountain by Carolyn Reeder and the picture book When the Whippoorwill Calls by Candice Ransom are about families losing homes for formation of the Shenandoah National Park. Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb is about history of Smoky Mountain National Park.
Coleman, Evelyn. Circle of Fire. American Girl History Mystery series, no. 14. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications, 2001. "In 1958, Mendy puts herself in danger when she discovers that the Ku Klux Klan is planning to bomb the Highlander Folk School in order to disrupt a visit from Mendy's hero, Eleanor Roosevelt." Mendy gradually learns about racism in this book when her friend, a white boy, is told to avoid her and she discovers that dangerous meetings in the woods are KKK activities in which prominent men of her town participate. In chap. 11, The Road to Monteagle, Mendy thinks about racism and the people at Highlander where white and black people work together. She tries to call Myles Horton on her father's telephone. Mendy thinks about trying to contact Miss May Justus, "a fine white woman" who is at the school when she goes there to swim and who says that some day she will write a book with "the wonderful colored children in it." Mendy's pride at this helps revive her courage. This book's depiction of a child's heroic role in preventing the bombing is fictional, but Coleman based on the story on research and her talks with people associated with Highlander and Eleanor Roosevelt's visit. She was also influenced by her own childhood experience in the South when a close friend who was white stopped playing with her at age twelve. For another American Girl Mystery set in Appalachia, see Ernst, below. See May Justus bibliography for her many children's books and the two she wrote about desegregation.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Catching Fire, 2009. Mockingjay, 2010. The best-selling Hunger Games trilogy of dystopian novels is set in the futuristic country of Panem, after North America was destroyed by disaster and war. The trilogy's teenage narrator, Katniss Everdeen, lives in District 12, one of the poorer districts, located in what was Appalachia. It now focuses on coal mining, just as other districts provide specific commodities that allow people in the Capitol to live in luxury while most in the district struggle through lives of deprivation. See more at AppLit page Appalachia in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
Credle, Ellis. Pig-o-wee: The Story of a Skinny Mountain Pig. New York: Rand, McNally, 1936. 44 pp. "This is the story of Pig-o-wee, a skinny Blue Ridge Mountain pig. But it also concerns Lem, and Lem's Mammy and Pappy, and their great longing for the tune box that sat on the storekeeper's counter ... There wasn't anything around the cabin that could be spared for trading, except Pig-o-wee. ... Pig-o-wee brought Lem and his family their heart's desire and won their favor and Granny's and Fiddler John's besides" (dust jacket).
Creech, Sharon. Chasing Redbird. New York: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 1997. Thirteen-year-old Zinnia Taylor discovers a historic trail at her family's farm in the Kentucky mountains near the Ohio River. She decides to spend the summer clearing off the slates that form the trail, through the woods and meadows to the town of Chocton. She is burdened with guilt about a number of things: the death of her cousin Rose when they were both four and Rose caught whooping cough from her, the more recent death of Rose's mother Aunt Jessie, her complex relationships with her big family and the aunt and uncle who have been like parents to her, and an older boy who steals things to please Zinny, while Zinny's sister May keeps insisting that Jake really likes her. After persuading her parents to let her camp along the trail for ten days at a time, Zinny gains many new insights about the natural world, solitude and human relations, and her own memories and conflicting feelings. She plants zinnias along the trail she has claimed as her own. Significant objects such as a mysterious medallion and a ring Jake tries to give her serve as clues in Zinny's struggles to unravel the tangled spaghetti strings of her life. The novel's title refers to Uncle Nate's pursuit of his red-haired wife's ghost, while Aunt Jessie's cross-stitched wall hanging about life being a bowl of spaghetti influences Zinny's perceptions about the complications of her life. Along the trail Zinny discovers Uncle Nate's secret methods of preserving the memories of his wife and child. Life never stops being messy and quirky, but family and community relationships are sorted out when Zinny is praised for clearing the trail and all kinds of people start visiting it.
Crist-Evans, Craig. Moon Over Tennessee: A Boy's Civil War Journal. Illus. Bonnie Christensen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 64 pp. Publisher's description: "In the spring of 1863, a thirteen-year-old boy leaves his home in northeastern Tennessee with his father, who has joined the Confederate army. The boy rides with him to care for the horses and help with camp duties. A moving personal narrative in the form of a journal, this powerful poem tells of one boy's journey into war - and the horrible climax at Gettysburg that would forever change his life. Illustrated with striking black-and-white woodcuts, Moon Over Tennessee is a vivid, lyrical, and intensely human document of the terrible personal cost of the Civil War." The boy's best friend at home is the son of a freed slave. (Excerpts including critically acclaimed illustrations available at Google Books on 9/16/09).
Cummings, John Michael. The Night I Freed John Brown. New York: Philomel Books, 2008. "In Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, twelve-year-old Josh uncovers family secrets involving his overly strict father, whose anger threatens to tear the family apart" (WorldCat).
Curry, Jane Louise. The Daybreakers. Illus. Charles Robinson. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970. "While exploring what they think is an underground passage [in WV], three children are transported back in time to an ancient Indian civilization."
Curry, Jane Louise. The Watchers. New York: Atheneum, 1975. "Rebellious and unhappy at being shipped off to live with strange kinfolk in the mountains of West Virginia, a young boy is drawn into an ancient conflict that moves back and forth in time. "Roberta Herrin noted in 1987 that this novel "combines fantasy with the contemporary theme of a coal company's claim on a West Virginia family's land. In both of Curry's books, Appalachian culture, dress, language, names, occupations are central to the fantasy" ("Appalachian Books for All Children." Now and Then, vol. 4.1, 1987: p. 34).
Dadey, Debbie. Cherokee Sister. New York: Delacorte Press, 2000. 119 pp. "Because she is mistaken for an Indian, twelve-year-old Allie, a white girl, is forced to travel the Trail of Tears along with her best friend, a young Cherokee" (WorldCat).
Davis, Adda Leah. Jason's Journey. Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 2008. 332 pp. Sequel to Lucinda's Mountain, the story of a young doctor in the southern WV coalfields at the time of the Korean War.
Davis, Adda Leah. Lucinda's Mountain. Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 2007. 315 pp. First of a trilogy set in the coalfields of WV in the mid-20th century.
Davis, Jenny. Good-bye And Keep Cold. New York: Orchard Books, 1987. This exceptional first novel is set in eastern Kentucky. When narrator Edda is eight years old, her father is killed in a strip-mining accident. The novel is a coming-of-age story that also relays the struggles the Combs family faces as they try to rebuild and move forward with their lives.
De Lint, Charles. The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. Illus. Charles Vess. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013. This is an expansion of a 2003 picture book, A Circle of Cats. Although this fantasy story is associated with the imaginary modern world that de Lint depicts in other books, Newford, the setting of these stories, and especially the color illustrations throughout, are deeply influenced by the mountain landscape and culture that surround Vess in his Abingdon, Virginia home. Lillian Kindred's adventures in the deep woods involve magical cats, a crow and a fox, a panther called the Father of Cats, cruel Bear People, a witch with a bottle tree called Old Mother Possum, and an Apple Tree Man. Aunt Nancy is a mysterious keeper of magic among the family named Creeks, native Americans in a tribe de Lint calls the Kickaha. Like many other folk heroes, Lillian earns magic help through her lifelong habit of sharing her meager food with the animals and birds and even the apple tree. Deathly dangerous experiences cause Lillian to undergo magical transformations that change her body and the passage of time. Lillian loves living "deep in the woods" with Aunt (p. 4), who taught her to respect spirits and couldn't discourage her from looking for fairies. When she is left alone, human neighbors take her in but she rejects their well-intentioned attempts to make her into a convention girl unlike her true self so she seeks her own solutions in the magic woods near their farms. Another book about these characters is forthcoming in 2014.
Depew, Lanette. A Bridge Spanning Time. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 2003. 96 pp. Based on the history of a bridge in Elizabethton, TN. See Overmountain web site for summary and picture. Sold for ages 9-12.
Dowell, Frances O'Roark. Dovey Coe. New York: Aladdin, 2000. 181 pp. The narrator is a 12-year-old girl in rural Watauga County, NC in 1926, who is charged with killing the son of the richest family in town. On the first page she describes Parnell Caraway as "the meanest, vainest, greediest man who ever lived. Seventeen years old and rotten to the core." Dovey tells of her family's long history of living on their own land, her deaf brother and his dogs Huck and Tom, her parents' efforts to raise independent and loving children, her pretty older sister Caroline's desire for travel and education, Parnell's courtship of Caroline before Caroline is to leave for teachers college in Boone, and the murder trial. The economic and social inequalities of the community play a role in the plot, as well as discrimination against deaf children and traditions of folk medicine and music. A ghost makes a brief appearance toward the end. Dovey calls her school in Indian Creek "a poor excuse for an institution of learning," since with a series of teachers "straight out of teachers' college who thought she was doing her Christian duty by coming up here and learning us hillbillies" (p. 19). Dovey's lawyer calls her at the end "a might big force to be reckoned with" (p. 180). During her trial, when she is threatened with becoming a flatlander in a detention home in Charlotte, Dovey observes "the mountains that framed our town like a circle of wise old men and women" and reminisces about running up the trail of Katie's Knob "searching for all the interesting things a mountain had to offer" (p. 156).
Dunn, Marion H. Tenase Brave. Illus. June Moore. Nashville: Aurora Publishers, 1971. 104 pp. "The adventures of an eleven-year-old pre-Columbian Cherokee boy as he strives to earn a name and become a brave."
Dutton, Sandra. Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. "Ten-year-old Mary Mae, living with her parents in fossil-rich southern Ohio, tries to reconcile, despite her mother's strong disapproval, her family's Creationist beliefs with the prehistoric fossils she studies in school."
Dulemba, Elizabeth O. A Bird on Water Street. San Francisco: Little Pickle Press, 2013. "A Bird on Water Street is a coming-of-age story about Jack, a boy growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices and pollution. Jack is opposed to the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his Dad who wants him to follow in the family trade? Jack just wants his Dad safe and the land returned to its pre-mining glory with trees, birds, frogs, and nature--like he's learning about in school. After Jack's uncle is killed in a mining accident and the Company implements a massive layoff, the union organizes and the miners go on strike. It seems Jack's wish is coming true. But the cost may be the ruin of his home and everything he loves." The book includes photos of Copperhill, Tennessee and the surrounding mining area, and historical background on the story. The protagonist Jack Hicks is named after the hero of the Jack Tales and the famous storyteller Ray Hicks; Jack's mother is related to the Harmon branch of the Beech mountain storytelling family, and the novel contains some discussion and depiction of the family storytelling tradition. The author's web site contains additional background, reviews, and awards.
Eckert, Allan W. Blue Jacket: War Chief of the Shawnees. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2003. Eckert writes, "In the year 1771, a white boy named Marmaduke Van Swearingen was captured by Shawnee Indians in what is now West Virginia. . . taken to Ohio where he was adopted into the tribe and given the name Blue Jacket, from the blue shirt he was wearing. . . and became the only white to be made war chief of the Shawnee Nation. . . The characters in this book were real people who lived the life and did the things herein recounted. Much of the dialogue is taken from historical records" (Front Cover). There has been great debate regarding the truth of Blue Jacket's heritage. To read more about this, see the following sites: Blue Jacket: Fact or Fiction and Indian Heritage: Shawnee and Cherokee.
Ehrenberg, Pamela. Tillmon County Fire. CIP. Eerdmans, 2009. 175pp. Favorable review, recommending the novel for grades seven and up, in School Library Journal, 4/1/09: "This cleverly plotted and well-crafted story of abuse and vengeance is told in pieces from the varying perspectives of a half-dozen teens, and Ehrenberg uses intertwining chapters to explore their motives and desires.... The vividly drawn setting, almost a character in itself, embraces an important message all readers need to hear."
Ellington, Charlotte Jane. Beloved Mother: The Story of Nancy Ward. Johnson City, Tenn: Overmountain Press, 1994. 187 pp. "The story of Nancy Ward, an 18th Century Cherokee heroine, narrated by her daughter. In the Battle of Taliwa, Wild Rose, as she was known, seized the musket of her fallen husband and led the Cherokees to victory over the Creek. Later, she married a white trader" (WorldCat) and pursued peace in opposition to her warrior cousin, Dragging Canoe.
Ellington, Charlotte Jane. Dancing Leaf. Johnson City, Tenn: Overmountain Press, 2007. A novel in which "authentic Cherokee legends begin each chapter and are woven into the adventures of Dancing Leaf, a character based on the adopted daughter of Cherokee chieftainess Nancy Ward" (WorldCat). She pursues a journey of self-discovery while away from the man she loves, Blue Lake. Chapter titles (available with other excerpts in Google Book Search) indicate the legends retold in this book. They include one about how the possum got a bare tail, "The Uktena," "Why Turtle's Shell is Scarred," "The Legend of the Strawberries," "The Daughter of the Sun," and others.
Ernst, Kathleen. Midnight in Lonesome Hollow: A Kit Mystery. American Girl Mysteries. Illus. Jean-Paul Tibbles. Middleton, WI: Pleasant, 2007. 178 pp. "Kit is visiting Aunt Millie in Mountain Hollow, Kentucky, in 1934. When a professor arrives to study Kentucky mountain traditions, Kit is thrilled to help with her research—until it becomes clear that somebody doesn't want 'outsiders' nosing around. Kit decides to find out who's making trouble—even if it means venturing into Lonesome Hollow in the dark of night. ... An illustrated 'Looking Back' section provides historical context." Kit Kittredge is a sixth-grade journalist in Cincinnati during the Great Depression, in the American Girl series of dolls and books (also featured in a film based on the series). For an American Girl History Mystery set in Appalachia, see Coleman, above.
Fawcett, Katie P. To Come and Go Like Magic. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. "In the 1970s, twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney longs to escape her tiny Kentucky home town and see the world, but she also learns to recognize beauty in the people and places around her." Chili narrates a series of vignettes about her life in Mercy Hill until she turns thirteen and prepares for high school. She poetically describes the natural beauty of her "true home" (birthplace) as well as her yearnings to see other places. She collects new words in a notebook as well as reading lots of books. Her home becomes crowded with extended family members with a wide variety of problems. Aunt Rose shares her domestic skills and insights with Chili's family every day. Uncle Lu is skilled at finding ginseng and Chili enjoys quiet reading time when she goes fishing with him, but his dementia and disapproval of any books besides the Bible lead to heartbreak for Chili. Chili's two best friends from childhood drift away when they lose interest in their jump-rope team. Her friendship with Willie Bright brings her closer to the realities of poor families like his, the "welfares" that working families look down upon. VISTA workers are criticized for misunderstanding and misrepresenting the positive aspects of mountain life, but they also offer valuable help. Chili gradually learns bits and pieces of local history about how coal mining had scarred her town. Their substitute seventh-grade teacher, a daughter of the former mine owner, has returned home after many years of traveling, and some questions about her motivations and the past can never be answered. The elderly teacher invites Chili and Willie to her home for many days of friendship and learning about places of the world. Discussion questions are included in the paperback edition. See more details and quotations at Review of To Come and Go Like Magic in AppLit's Articles section.
Fleischman, Paul. The Borning Room. New York: Harper Keypoint/Charlotte Zolotow, 1991. Set in southern Ohio, where Georgina Lott tells about hiding a runaway slave in her family's barn, trying to protect her abolitionist family from the danger of punishment, since Georgina has heard members of her community talk about pre-Civil War laws against helping slaves escape. Georgina and Cora, the runaway slave who had told Georgina about being separated from her own children, help Georgina's mother and new brother survive a difficult childbirth. Cora is sent on her way toward Canada. Georgina tells about other gripping experiences in the family's special room for births and deaths, including the story of her own birth, which she had heard many times, and the shocking loss of her mother during childbirth when a doctor with chloroform tries to replace he midwife with traditional ways. Superstitions and folk practices are described along with the advent of technological changes. Georgina feels like a mother to the brother she helped deliver while their aunt mothers the twin she saved after the doctor bungled his birth. Georgina's grandfather, who had moved the family down from New Hampshire and had shaken hands with Benjamin Franklin, passed on his freethinking ways and a special love of nature. A new school teacher who comes to stay with them helps during times of illness and later marries Georgina. Her story begins before the Civil War and continues on through the war and a diphtheria epidemic that endangers her younger brothers, into the twentieth century when we learn that Georgina is in the special room telling her story to a painter making her last portrait.
Forman, James D. A Ballad for Hogskin Hill. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1979. 229 pp. Set in the mountains of Kentucky. A boy and his family try to stop the strip mining that threatens to take their home. Roberta Herrin has noted the "complex characterization" in this novel ("Appalachian Books for All Children." Now and Then, vol. 4.1, 1987: p. 35).
Gabriel, Susan. The Secret Sense of Wildflower. Wild Lily Arts, 2012. 224 pp. A young adult novel "set in 1940s Appalachia [Tennessee], The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May 'Wildflower' McAllister, whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God. When Johnny Monroe, the town's teenage ne'er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat" (back cover). Louisa May, who turns thirteen in the novel, has strong relationships with her older sisters, all named after sisters in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Violence, trauma, and disgrace threaten Louisa May's determination to keep the nickname her father gave her, Wildflower. Aunt Sadie, their father's older sister, is a gifted herbalist, midwife, quilter, and farmer, with affectionate ways that Louisa May wishes her stern, hard-working mother would exhibit. Aunt Sadie advises Louisa May about the "secret sense" that they have both inherited. Named a Best Indie Book of 2012 with a starred review from Kirkus. First chapter available at the author's web site. The novel is also available as audiobook.
Gibbons, Faye. Mighty Close to Heaven. New York: Morrow, 1985. "When twelve-year-old Dave runs away from his grandparents' farm and makes his way through the Georgia mountains to rejoin his wandering father, he finds disappointment and a new appreciation for what he has left behind."
Gibbons, Faye. Some Glad Morning. New York: Morrow, 1982. "Following her mother's separation from her alcoholic father in 1947, city-bred Maude must learn how to get along with her mother's relatives when they move to the mountains of northern Georgia."
Graf, Mike. Ridge Runner Rescue: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Illus. Marjorie C. Leggitt. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2009. Book 6 in the Adventures with the Parkers series. "Twin brother and sister, James and Morgan, embark on another adventure with their parents to explore the history, unusual geology, famous sites, plants, and animals of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sidebar notes contain additional facts about the area and describe the park's regulations and tourist facilities."
Green, Connie Jordan. Emmy. Illus. Bob Crofut. Margaret McElderry, 1992. "In the 1920s when her father is disabled in a coal mining accident, eleven-year-old Emmy and the others in her family do what they can to help, with her fourteen-year-old brother taking Pa's place in the mines."
Green, Michelle Y. Willie Pearl. Illus. Steve McCracken. Temple Hills, MD: William Ruth, 1990. 45 pp. Full-page watercolor illustrations. First of a "historical fiction series for families based in a Depression-era Kentucky coal-mining town." Based on Green's mother's background, this story contains many details about the life of coal miners' families, their low pay and dependence on coal companies that pay them in scrip after deducting many charges from their paychecks. Willie Pearl's family has plenty of food but they all work hard and have no money for frills, especially since her father's illness. She shares a bedroom (divided with a curtain) with sisters and brothers. She wants a doll but only has paper dolls she makes from catalogs and other handmade toys. Her friend Mae Ella is being raised by an aunt who can provide many more luxuries to her one child. Ma Rainey cooks hearty meals for men who work long hours in the mine while living away from their families. The plot revolves around Willie Pearl's attempt to save money for a doll in the company store's window display of Christmas toys.
Green, Michelle Y. Willie Pearl: Under the Mountain. Temple Hills, MD: William Ruth, 1992. "Historical fiction for families, set in a Depression-era coal mining town in eastern Kentucky." "About Willie Pearl" tells of Willie Pearl's and her family's later lives. An insert in the back advertises Willie Pearl and Mae Ella dolls.
Green, Michelle Y. Willie Pearl: Field Day at Big Sandy. Offered by Reading is Fundamental Reading Planet club, for ages 9-12, no date given.
Hamilton, Virginia. M. C. Higgins, the Great. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1974. Set in the hill country in eastern Ohio. Hamilton depicts a young boy’s fears of living under the shadow of the refuse of the coal mining industry with its slag heaps, sludge, acidic run-off, and mountaintop removal (notes by Susan V. Mead). See more on this book in Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature and Folklore in Books by Virginia Hamilton.
Hamilton, Virginia. The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl. New York: Harper & Row, 1983. Fascinating historical fantasy about an African goddess created by Hamilton as a sister of John de Conquer and John Henry, who comes to America during the Civil War, getting involved after the war with African Americans and Cherokees hiding in rural Georgia, then migrating north, over the Ohio River, to escape persecution. See more on this book in Folklore in Fiction Bibliography: Virginia Hamilton. Cover by Leo and Diane Dillon at left, showing Pearl and John de Conquer flying to America from Africa as albatrosses.
Harmon, Jane. Pip. Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2006. 177 pp. "This is the story of a young boy, Jamie, and his dog, Pip, living in Tennessee during the relocation of the Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma in the infamous 'Trail of Tears.' This story shows how a child views an event that is horrible, and inside knows that it is horrible, but outside hears adults speak of it as a non-event. Jamie learns he can make a difference in the world, but the lesson is a hard one. It is a story about his coming of age."
Haseley, Dennis. Shadows. Illus. Leslie W. Bowman. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1991. 72 pp. "Jamie's lonely life with his aunt and uncle in rural West Virginia changes when Grandpa comes to visit and teaches him to make shadow pictures" (WorldCat).
Heffernan, Kevin. Blaze: A Dog's Appalachian Adventure. Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2007. "This book chronicles the 2006 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail by a nervous backpacker. Starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia, Marley meets an experienced woods dog who helps Marley gain confidence as they share the adventure of hiking 2176 miles to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Along the way Marley learns important lessons on how to hike safely while protecting the environment. Based entirely on Marley's actual 2006 thru-hike, the only fictitious part of the book is our hero - Blaze."
Hermes, Patricia. Sweet By and By. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Set in the mountains of Tennessee, Hermes' novel tells the story of eleven-year-old Blessing, who lives with her grandmother, Moonie. Unfortunately, Moonie's heart is weak, and she wants to prepare Blessing for the inevitable. Blessing spies on the four potential families and stands up to a social worker.
Hesse, Karen. Just Juice. Illus. Robert Andrew Parker. New York: Scholastic, 1998. 138 pp. Nine-year-old Juice narrates her family's struggle with poverty in present tense. Her mother makes baskets and rugs to sell while her father, who has moved the family around for mining jobs, is so depressed while unemployed that he stops playing his fiddle for a time. Juice seldom goes to school because she can't read like the other children but she helps her father set up a machine shop with inherited machines and find customers, trying to save money to pay taxes so they won't lose their house. Juice and her father both have talent working with machines and metals but they have the same problem with reading, which they try to hide from the younger children. A public health nurse helps the family but Juice is the oldest family member home when her mother goes into labor and the roads are clogged with mud, so she ends up delivering her new sister. Juice's siblings make her letters formed with string that finally set her on the path to understanding how to read. After she feels better, their mother energetically takes charge of problems with the taxes and the truant officer, and declares that everyone in the family will learn to read.
Hicks, Joseph B. The Virginia Underground. Charleston, SC, 2011. "The first in a series of 'underground' novels to feature Jake Patterson and a creature named Krindle in their attempt to defeat the Parix, 'an evil army of parasites' that live in mountain caverns. An excerpt from the sequel, 'The Tennessee Underground' ... at end."
High, Linda Oatman. Hound Heaven. New York: Holiday House, 1995. "Living with her grandfather on Muckwater Mountain in West Virginia, twelve-year-old Silver aggressively pursues her dream of having a dog by working to earn the money for one."
Hite, Sid. It's Nothing to a Mountain. New York: Henry Holt, 1994. In 1969, a brother and sister, 12 and 14, live with their grandparents on a homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (where Hite grew up). Among their adventures is an encounter with a 15-year-old runaway living in the wilderness. Hite stresses the "geographic isolation" and "inherently nostalgic mind-set of mountain people in general" (p. 44), as well as the beautiful landscapes and "the ancient mountains'" sympathy with the troubled young characters in the story.
Hodson, Debbie. Blackberry Bend. Illus. Miriam Moyer. Emmalena, KY: IvyStone Press, 2008. 75 pp.
Hogg, Amy C. Callie Rose. Louisville, KY: Motes Books, 2012. 149 pp. Young adult novel.
Hoobler, Dorothy and Thomas. The Trail on Which They Wept: The Story of a Cherokee Girl. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, l992. For details, see article "The Contributions of Rebecca Caudill and Dorothy Hoobler to Appalachian Literature for Young Adults" and Teaching Guide.
Hostetter, Joyce Moyer. Blue. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill/Calkins Creek Books, 2006. A historical novel about a girl during a polio epidemic in Hostetter's home town of Hickory, NC, where an emergency hospital was located in 1944. The sequel, Comfort (2009), deals with the girl's continuing treatment and her father's postwar trauma.
House, Silas. Eli the Good. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009. "In the summer of 1976, ten-year-old Eli Book's excitement over Bicentennial celebrations is tempered by his father's flashbacks to the Vietnam War and other family problems, as well as concern about his tough but troubled best friend, Edie." Edie and Eli both have special relationships with individual trees and all of nature, and Eli writes about his thoughts and experiences. He enjoys helping his father occasionally in the man's world of the gas station he owns, but they are both very close to all the women at home, including Eli's rebellious teenage sister Rosie and his beautiful mother, who is an excellent science teacher. They all love his aunt Nell, who returns to live with them because of illness, but her brother never understood how she could protest the Vietnam War while he was fighting in it. This compelling novel contains strong depictions of the dangerous effects of the father's PTSD. Printable discussion guide for teaching at Candlewick Press web site. See also House's essay for teens in TeenRead.com blog, on how he chose the novel's title (18 Feb. 2011).
House, Silas, and Neela Vaswani. Same Sun Here. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2012. "A twelve-year-old Indian immigrant in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner's son become pen pals, and eventually best friends, through a series of revealing letters exploring such topics as environmental activism, immigration, and racism." Printable discussion guide for teaching linked in Silas House web site. Audio book by both authors won Audie award.
Houston, Gloria. Bright Freedom’s Song: A Story of the Underground Railroad. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1998. Houston's book teaches children the means by which enslaved people who escaped were hidden on farms and smuggled to the next safe house along their journey. This Houston novel makes clear the danger that early African Americans were willing to endure to obtain their freedom. Because she develops a strong character of the former slave Marcus, who comes from freedom in Canada to lead others on their journey, Houston refrains from elevating the white family’s role to that of primary hero. This novel is an extremely useful vehicle for teaching young people about a myriad of historical social ills; as a result, readers can gain greater understanding of the stereotypes that young people struggle with even today (notes by Susan V. Mead). See more on this book in Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature.
Houston, Gloria. LittleJim. New York: Beech Tree, 1990. Rpt. Fairview: Bright Mountain Books, 2008. At age 12, Littlejim Houston struggles to live up to his stern father's expectations that he should start acting like a man. Littlejim's loving, German-born mother, along with his sympathetic little sister, the teacher Mr. Osk, and several male relatives and friends, contrast with the gruff father who is never satisfied with his son. Several mishaps result from Littlejim's attempts to do a man's work. During World War I, Bigjim Houston and his brother work hard in the lumber and sawmill business providing supplies for the military. Many details of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are described, including the astonishing introduction of the first automobile in the community. After Littlejim talks to an Irish man and then witnesses a fatal accident at the sawmill, he is inspired to write about the immigrant experience for an essay contest on what it means to be an American. Even though his father disapproves, Littlejim decides to follow his own scholarly interests and talents, hoping to read his winning essay at the big July Fourth celebration up on Grassy Ridge Bald Mountain. Houston's picture book Littlejim's Gift: An Appalachian Christmas Story is a prequel to this novel.
Houston, Gloria. LittleJim's Dreams. Illus. Thomas B. Allen. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1997. In this sequel to Houston's other Littlejim books, teenage Littlejim dreams of college and career in the 1920s. His writing ability helps his father get legal assistance and defend against hillbilly stereotypes.
Houston, Gloria. Mountain Valor. Illus. Thomas B. Allen. New York: Putnam & Grosset, 1994. "With her father and brothers gone to serve in the Civil War and her mother sick, teenage Valor ignores what is proper behavior for a girl and fights to defend her North Carolina mountain farm" (publisher review). Jennifer Smith's article "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature" discusses the Scottish origins of Valor's father's favorite song, "Gypsy Rover," which Valor and other characters sing throughout the novel. "The American versions are much tamer and quite romantic." The song represents Valor's ties to her father, who has been gone several years, and her family heritage, and it "is used to foreshadow the romance that blooms between Valor and Laird Randall McKenzie, a soldier from Scotland." [Smith in Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): pp. 34-35.]
Humphrey, William. No Resting Place. New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1989. "A fictionalized tale recounts the forced removal of the Cherokee nation from Georgia, to Tennessee, to Texas along the Trail of Tears and the devastation of that exodus to Native Americans. The Cherokee Indians of the State of Georgia, including those who have been Christian for generations, are forced to move west along the Trail of Tears. Nothing–not the white man's god nor the Chief justice of the Supreme Court–can change their fate" (WorldCat).
Hurmence, Belinda. A Girl Called Boy. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1982. After a picnic in the NC mountains, "a pampered young black girl who has been mysteriously transported back to the days of slavery, struggles to escape her bondage."
Inman, Robert. The Christmas Bus. Illus. Lyle Baskin. Charlotte, NC: Novello Festival Press, 2006. 77 pp. "Worried that the Trustees will oust her as director of Peaceful Valley Orphanage, Mrs. Frump tries to make Christmas unforgettable for the eight orphans known as The Hooligans, while a [folk]singer from a nearby town must decide between staying home and seeking his fortune." Also published by Dramatic Publishing, 2008, as a musical play.
Janus, Christopher G. Miss 4th of July, Good-bye: A Novel Based on the Life of Niki (Born Xenopoulos) Janus. Chicago: Lake View Press, 1989. About Greek-Americans in West Virginia.
Jenkins, John, and Mark Weaver. Beneath the Sky of an Angry God. The Century War Chronicles, Bk. 1. Manassas, VA: Reconciliation Press, 1997. 60 pp. Fiction about the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
Jimmerson, Jerry. Little David and Mr. Grunt. Illus. Robert Gable. New York: Carlton Press, 1971. 48 pp. "The adventures of a boy named Little David in a small Appalachian town and a troublesome wild boar known to the townspeople as Mr. Grunt."
Johnson, James Ralph. Mountain Bobcat. Illus. Earl Sherwan. Chicago: Wilcox and Follett, 1953. 160 pp.
Johnston, Tony. Trail of Tears. Illus. Barry Moser. New York: Blue Sky Press, 1998. "When soldiers force them to leave their village, the Indian people endure suffering and death as they walk along the route which comes to be known as the Trail of Tears" (WorldCat).
Jones, Veda B. Nellie the Brave: The Cherokee Trail of Tears. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 20. 140 pp. "Nellie Starr, a young Cherokee girl, and her family are forced by U.S. soldiers to leave their home in Tennessee and travel the 'Trail of Tears' to a new home in the western Indian territory." Also published in American Struggle, 1832-1862: 4 Stories in 1. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Pub, 2012. Includes "the stories of fictional girls—not that different than girls of today—written into actual events of U. S. history...'American Struggle' will transport you back to the 'growing pains' of our nation, teaching important lessons of history and Christian faith. Featuring bonus educational materials such as glossaries," etc.
Jones, Weyman. Edge of Two Worlds. Illus. J. C. Kocsis. New York: Dial Press, 1968. 143 pp. "Based on incidents in the life of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee's written language. This is the story of a 15-year-old Missouri boy, who is the sole survivor of a Comanche raid on a wagon train, and an old Cherokee Indian Sequoyah who face a long and difficult journey across the plains together, first as enemies, then as comrades in peril."
Jones, Weyman. The Talking Leaf. Illus. E. H. Johnson. New York: Dial Press, 1965. 95 pp. "Atsee cannot follow in the footsteps of his great scout father. He must take up reading and writing and help his people that way."
Keehn, Sally M. Gnat Stokes and the Foggy Bottom Swamp Queen. New York: Philomel Books, 2005. In an adaptation of the Scottish ballad "Tam Lin" set in Eastern Tennessee, twelve-year-old Gnat tries to rescue Goodlow Pryce, kidnapped seven years earlier. See more on this book at Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Keehn, Sally M. Magpie Gabbard and the Quest for the Buried Moon. New York: Philomel Books, 2007. 208 pp. Original tall tale about a nineteenth-century thirteen-year-old girl in eastern KY who achieves incredible feats such as returning her brother's chopped-off toe, ending a feud, and rescuing the moon that was trapped by goblins. Inspired partially by "a little-known English tale about the moon coming to earth as a beautiful woman." A native of Maryland, Keehn learned Appalachian language from West Virginians around her when she grew up and from listening to storytellers and visiting Appalachia. Both novels are discussed by Kate Coombs in Book Aunt blog, 16 Jan. 2009, where she identifies a coming trend she calls "rural fantasy" or "tall tale fantasy."
Kehde, Daniel S. Coal Camp Madonna. Tallahassee, FL: Eldridge, 2000. Script. 64 pp. This is a play, not a novel. Kehde is a Charleston, WV dramatist who has produced many new plays for young audiences. See details on AppLit page Appalachian Christmas Books for Children and Young Adults.
Kendle, Hazel C., and Jennifer L. Bryan. Cole Family Christmas. Illus. Jennifer Julich. Boca Grande, FL: Next Chapter Press, 2008. 74 pp. "One snowy Christmas in the coal-mining town of Benham, Kentucky, nine children and their parents discover that the most precious gifts come from the heart, in this tale based on family members' recollections. Includes a historical family photograph of the Cole family in 1919 and an epilogue about the family's years following the story." Set in 1920. "Based on a real family, the youngest of nine children in the story, Hazel, is the 88-year-old co-author of the book."
Key, Alexander. Cherokee Boy. Illus. Alexander Key. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957. "Forced on the Trail of Tears—the U.S. army's removal of the Cherokee nation from Georgia in 1838—young Tsi-ya, the Otter, and his brother and two girl cousins, escape and face danger and hardship to return to their land." Key's extensive research was influenced by his family's stories of kinship with Cherokees. This is one of the first books for children telling of the Cherokee Removal from the viewpoint of a Cherokee boy (Tsi-ya). Key also illustrated several other books about Cherokee folklore (Indian Legends, 1925; Indian Nights and Famous Indian Legends, 1927; and Indian Legends of Eastern America, 1963).
Key, Alexander. Escape to Witch Mountain. Illus. Leon B. Wisdom. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968. "When a mysterious man claims to be their uncle and acquires court custody, Tia and Tony, aware of his evil intent, run away to prevent him from enslaving their unusual powers and to try to find someone who may know something about them." The well known Walt Disney film adaptation, produced by Jerome Courtland and directed by John Hough (1975), changed the Appalachian setting to California and changed the character of the New York priest who helps the children find their people in the Appalachian mountains. Tia and Tony, who escape from a city children's home where they are treated harshly, struggle to recover memories of their earlier life and travels in which they were separated from their own people. One of Tia's special powers is opening any lock if it's right to do so. The book sequel to the Disney movie, Return from Witch Mountain (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978), set in California, was written by Malcolm Marmorstein and published with Key's name: "Tia and Tony's visit to Earth is disrupted when Tony is kidnapped by a power-crazed doctor wishing to use the boy's special powers for his own evil purposes."
Key, Alexander. The Forgotten Door. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965. A boy from another planet finds himself lost in the Appalachian mountains. People who find him are astounded that he can understand the thoughts of humans and other animals, he learns English in a few days, and he has other amazing abilities, as well as unfamiliarity with institutions such as money and government. A farm family that helps him, recognizing eventually that Jon is far more advanced than earth people, contrasts with mean and dishonest neighbors who want to blame him for the crimes of others. The family helps him find his way home as the need to protect him from society's curiosity, suspicions, and desire to exploit him becomes more and more urgent. Teacher Guide by Anne Troy and Phyllis A. Green. Palatine, IL: Novel Units, Inc., 1991, 22 pp.
Key, Alexander. Jagger, the Dog from Elsewhere. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976. Set in eastern rural Alabama, on the edge of Appalachia, about a dog from another planet.
Key, Alexander. The Mystery of the Sassafras Chair. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967. A magic chair made of sassafras wood allows the dead to communicate with people who are in tune with other dimensions.
Key, Alexander. The Preposterous Adventures of Swimmer. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973. "A talking river otter escapes from captivity, experiences perilous adventures with some cruel humans, and resolves the problems of various troubled people and animals." In discussion of Key's Appalachian fantasies, Roberta Herrin calls this story of an otter with human reason and speech "the most distinctly Appalachian though much of it is predictable" ("Appalachian Books for All Children." Now and Then, vol. 4.1, Spring 1987: p. 34).
Key, Alexander. With Daniel Boone on the Caroliny Trail. Illus. Alexander Key. New York: Junior Literary Guild, 1941. 223 pp. This biographical fiction is Key's first book set in Appalachia, inspired by a childhood hike in the Smoky Mountains (although he grew up outside the region). The focus is on Boone in the forest at age 14, with Cherokee characters. See Key's essay "Following Daniel Boone’s Trail for Twenty Years,” in Writing Books for Boys and Girls: A Young Wings Anthology of Essays by Two Hundred Sixteen Authors. Ed. Helen Ferris. New York: Doubleday-Junior Literary Guild, 1952. 234-35.
Knoop, Faith Yingling. Kuni of the Cherokees. Chattanooga: Harlow, 1957. 230 pp.
LaFaye, A. Pretty Omens. Anchor & Plume, 2015. "Cass Anne Marie, born during a nasty winter on Crowley's Ridge and loved back to life by her mama, is shunned by the mining community because of her gift of omens. And yet this gift might prove to be their salvation. A novel-in-verse." See LaFaye's discussion of creating this book in Elizabeth O. Dulemba's blog.
Laskas, Gretchen Moran. The Miner's Daughter. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. A young adult historical novel by the author of A Midwife's Tale (a highly acclaimed 2003 novel for adults about a young woman who grows up learning midwifery from her mother). This novel is about fourteen months in the life of the narrator Willa Laura Lowell, age 16, beginning with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. It ends with a New Year's party attended by Eleanor Roosevelt at Arthurdale, a new town established under the New Deal for West Virginia homesteaders who need jobs and decent homes and schools. The governmental experiment provided escape from the poverty and disease of mining towns where men cannot count on steady mining or farming work and miners' families have no rights or reliable health care. Willa's older half-brother is interested in politics and helping to start unions for miners. The lives of both their parents are threatened by the mother's difficult pregnancy and the father's illness after working on the Hawk's Nest Tunnel at the New River (a real disaster where many men died from injury and exposure to silica). Willa deals with hunger, grueling housework when her mother is ill and the family is destitute, gender bias when she wants to work at harvesting food as men and boys do in summer, her longing for books and schooling, and prejudice when her best friend's and boyfriend's families, as well as African Americans who helped her when no one else would, are excluded from Arthurdale because they are of foreign descent. Friendship with a mission worker from Fairmont gives Willa access to books, a sympathetic confidant, a visit to Fairmont, and an introduction to Eleanor Roosevelt. Willa develops an interest in writing, which can help her protest against the injustice in her society. The author's father's family had moved to Arthurdale in the 1940s and Willa's bleak town of Riley Mines is based on various WV coal camps. References to historical background are provided at the end of the novel. See also Short Review of The Miner's Daughter in AppLit's Articles section and review in online journal The Looking Glass.
Lawrence, Mildred. Walk a Rocky Road. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971. 187 pp. "An Appalachian girl is interested in attending college but considers it an impossibility since her family cannot supply financial backing."
Lawson, John. You Better Come Home with Me. Illus.
Arnold Spilka. New
York: Crowell, 1966. Roberta Herrin
has described this book as a great "blend of fantasy and Appalachian
culture....A psychological fantasy...about a young boy's search to know
who he is" ("Appalachian
Books for All Children." Now and Then, vol.
4.1, Spring 1987: p. 34).
Lenski, Lois. Blue Ridge Billy. New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1946. "Regional story of Billy Honneycutt, a boy living in the remote North Carolina mountains. He dreams of owning a fiddle and playing at the neighborhood dances." Roberta T. Herrin has written about this novel's "romanticized" use of language from Ashe County, NC (in "'Shall We Teach 'Em or Learn 'Em?': Attitudes toward Language in Appalachian Children's Literature." Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association, vol. 3 (1991): p. 193). The characters don't comment on their own speech but Lenski's approach is a typical attempt to preserve the Elizabethan English of Appalachia, a perspective that is now outdated.
Lenski, Lois. Coal Camp Girl. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1959. "Nine-year-old Tina Wilson who lives in a West Virginia coal town where life is full of difficulties–mine accidents and work shortages –learns about hunger and hardship but also courage and hope." Lenski (a native of Springfield, Ohio) wrote series of novels about families in different classes and regions that were praised for their realism, detail, and sympathy.
Leppard, Lois Gladys. Mandie and the Medicine Man. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1986. "A Cherokee superstition seems to have come back to haunt Mandie and her friends - the gold they discovered has been donated to build a new hospital, but someone or something is tearing the walls down as fast as they can be built." This book is in a series of mysteries about Mandie.
Lowry, Lois. Rabble Starkey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. "Many things change for twelve-year-old Rabble Starkey, her mother, and her best friend, Veronica Bigelow when Veronica's mother becomes mentally incapacitated and the Starkeys move in with the Bigelows." Set in a small town in WV.
Lynn, Jodi. Glory. New York: Puffin Books, 2003. "Thirteen-year-old Glory Mason's questioning and spirited nature makes life difficult for her in the conservative West Virginia Christian community that is her home and leads to consequences which threaten her survival." As narrator, Glory tells of her love for her beautiful, communal tiny town, as well as her difficulties with following its rules and rigid gender roles as her father expects her to start acting like a woman. Her beautiful, loyal friend Katie has a loving mother who tells the girls about living in Boston before her marriage, while other members of this isolated community have never seen society outside Dogwood or used modern conveniences. Citizens who commit serious offenses are, at the vote of the community, forgiven and allowed to do penance, or cast out forever. On Christmas Eve Glory makes a terrible mistake that changes all their lives and separates her from her home. The later part of the novel depicts her efforts to survive alone in the winter woods and her first friendship outside Dogwood. The sequels (same publisher and date) include Shadow Tree, named after a town where Glory stays for a while, Forget Me Not, and Blue Girl. After making it to Boston, Glory struggles with school, a foster home, illness and friendship.
Lyon, George Ella. Borrowed Children. Rpt. New York: U Press of Kentucky, 1999. See AppLit's bibliography for details.
George Ella. Gina. Jamie. Father. Bear.
New York: Atheneum/Richard Jackson, 2002. This novel's short
chapters alternate between two points of view. Gina is a contemporary high
school girl in Shaker Heights, Ohio whose mother leaves the family to live
with a man in the mountains of North Carolina. Jamie is a boy who lives
with his two sisters and father in another dimension, in an ancient or
timeless world of folktales such as "Whitebear Whittington." The novel
focuses on the quests of Gina, Jamie, and the fathers. The children and
fathers seek individual healing and family unity. Cars, workers at
McDonalds, and telephones with caller ID help characters mysteriously find
each other in the modern world. In the end Gina's psychic experiences have
a profound effect on both families, leaving her to ponder the unfathomable
relations between past and present, life and death, the worlds of dreams
and everyday consciousness. See more on this book in Folklore
Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction and Lyon's web site.
Lyon, George Ella. Holding on to Zoe. New York: Farrar. Straus, Giroux, 2012. Gripping and innovative novel narrated by a troubled teenager: "After sixteen-year-old Jules loses her boyfriend she experiences complications from the pregnancy that drove him away and suddenly, some of the people closest to her are behaving as if her baby is not real." Jules's relationships with her mother (who works in a state disability office), the father who left them years before, her best friend Reba, her doctors, and school contribute to her struggles and strengths. See AppLit's bibliography for more on Lyon's books.
Lyon, Steve. The Gift Moves. New York: Laurel-Leaf Books, 2006. "In a futuristic United States devoid of wealth and material things, a teenage baker befriends a talented weaver's apprentice who holds a dark secret."
McKenna, Colleen O'Shaughnessy. The Brightest Light. New York: Scholastic, 1992. Set in Romney, West Virginia. "A young West Virginia girl becomes involved in the problems of the family for whom she babysits."
Madden, Kerry. Gentle's Holler. New York: Viking, 2005. A novel focusing on one girl in a large family in Maggie Valley, NC at the beginning of the 1960s. See the author's fascinating web site, Kerry Madden.com, for details and music to accompany the songs that the protagonist makes up for herself. Livy Two tells about her older sister who died at birth (Livy One), the arrival and acceptance of the wiener dog Uncle Hazard, the children's building of his doghouse called the Pinecone Palace, dangerous encounters with lost children and hornets, the family's painful realization that the toddler Gentle can't see, her father's song writing and struggles to get jobs in the music business, learning to get along better with her grandmother, her brother Emmett's desire to go off and work at the new Ghost Town in the Sky, his discovery of their estranged uncle at the mountaintop amusement park, visiting the bookmobile and its kind librarian in Maggie Valley, singing at a folk festival, and a family disaster at the end of the novel.
Madden, Kerry. Jessie's Mountain. New York: Viking, 2008. Third novel in the Maggie Valley trilogy about the Weems family. This novel contains excerpts from the diary of Jessie, Livy Two's mother. Livy learns to understand her mother and grandmother better by reading about her mother's youth in the 1940s, when her father became ill and died. As her own father gradually recovers from his brain injury, not yet able to make a living, Livy Two goes away on an adventure which she hopes will help the family finances and prevent their planned move into the town of Enka to live with their grandmother, but her attempt to seek her fortune causes quite a few troubles. Their mother's employment at Champion Paper Mill brings benefits and difficult adjustments to the family. The marriage of the bookmobile librarian to a history teacher is an impending event throughout the novel. Although Livy Two does not much like Mr. Pickle, the fiance, he is persuaded to help the Weems family begin a promising new venture in their mountain community. (For more on Champion Paper Mill in Canton, see AppLit page on George Loveland's 2006 book Under the Workers' Caps.)
Madden, Kerry. Louisiana's Song. New York: Viking, 2007. Sequel to Gentle's Holler. In 1963, the Weems family struggles to cope with the father's long recuperation from an injury. The narrator Livy Two continues to write songs about her experiences, including a song about her shy, artistically talented, tall sister Louise (Louisiana). The family's efforts to make ends meet include gardening, selling sweaters and baby blankets knit by the mother, Emmett's job at Ghost Town in the Sky on Buck Mountain (which was really built in 1960), Becksie's job at the Pancake House, Livy's job on the bookmobile, selling paintings by Louisiana, and Livy's attempts to sell songs written by her father and herself. Grandmother Horace stays with them to help out but wants them to move to her town of Enka.
Malakoff, Anne F., and Frances D. Powdrell. Minkapee. Illus. Donna D. Segal. Glendale, CA: Great Western Pub., 1982. 94 pp. "Relates how Minkapee, a Cherokee Indian Chief, kidnapped a ten-year-old boy to bring about peace between the frontier settlers of the Tennessee-Kentucky area and the Cherokee Nation in the early nineteenth century."
Markle, Sandra. The Fledglings. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press, 1992. After she runs away from Atlanta to find the grandfather she didn't know she had on Snowbird Mountain (near Cherokee, NC), Kate (age 14) learns the language and customs of the Tsa la ki (Cherokee) from him. See more on this book in Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature and Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Martone, Ginny. Trapped in Dead Man's Cave. Baltimore: Publish America, 2008. 61 pp.
Miles, Celia H. Mattie's Girl: An Appalachian Childhood. Infinity Publishing.com, 2002. 181 pp. Set in the North Carolina mountains. "In stories set in 1940s Appalachia, nine-year-old June chronicles the years between meeting her best friend PeeDee and losing her. In this world forever gone, June survives and triumphs through the grace of family and friendship."
Miller, Jim Wayne. Newfound: A Novel. New York: Orchard, 1989. "A boy growing up in his grandparents' house in the Appalachians learns about the town and the people around him, their habits, stories, and lore."
Moulder, Holly. A Cord of Three Strands. Sharpsburg, GA: White Pelican Press, 2008. 175 pp. "A Cherokee Indian boy, a runaway slave, and a future president of the United States share the adventure of a lifetime! The year is 1838. John, a thirteen-year-old Cherokee, is forced to leave his home in Georgia to walk what is how known as the Trail of Tears to the Oklahoma Territory. In Alabama, twelve-year-old Annie is a runaway slave traveling the Underground Railroad in her desperate search for freedom. When their paths cross during a blizzard in Kentucky, the pair agrees to travel on together. This 'cord of three strands' becomes complete when they are joined on their journey by a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln."
Mushko, Becky. Stuck! Blumo Bluff, VA: Cedar Creek Publishing, 2011. "A middle-grade paranormal novel, in which an eleven-year-old girl—stuck in grief over her mother’s death—helps a ghost who’s stuck on earth until she finds her daughter" (author's summary). Jacie has to adjust to many sudden changes in her life, including moving from a northern city to an old house at Smith Mountain Lake that was inherited by her new stepmother. Some history of the area and local landmarks around Smith Mountain Lake and Franklin County, VA are included in the novel. At a summer camp Jacie learns to love and care for horses. She learns many other things in the novel about moving forward while also cherishing memories of the past. See author's web pages on this book, with background, links to reviews and articles, FAQ, etc., and author's blog, which has photos of the book's launch in Franklin County at the end of March, 2011. For a novel about a girl whose family's farms are displaced by a KY lake created by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1940s, see Final Tide by Norma Cole, above.
Myracle, Lauren. Shine. New York: Amulet Books, 2011. "When her best friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover the culprits in her small North Carolina town." What Cat discovers while her friend is in the hospital includes homophobia, drug abuse, and violence. This powerful young adult novel was in the news in 2011 because it was announced by mistake that it was nominated for a National Book Award (when a book called Chime really was one of the nominees). Myracle's book had been a finalist in the nomination process and the National Book Fund donated $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation while apologizing for this error.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Series about the Malloy sisters vs. the Hatford brothers in West Virginia:
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Sang Spell. New York: Aladdin, 1998. "When his mother is killed in an automobile accident, high-schooler Josh decides to hitchhike across country, and finds himself trapped in a mysterious village somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, among a group of people who call themselves Melungeons." While staying with them, he learns about their business of gathering and selling ginseng ("sang").
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Send No Blessings. New York: Puffin, 1992. 231 pp. Ages 12 and up. Set in West Virginia. " A teenager in a large family that lives in a trailer yearns for love, approval, an escape from endless chores, and a chance to make something of herself. When a good and decent man, seven years her senior, falls in love with her, she realizes marriage to him could solve her problems."
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Saving Shiloh. New York: Aladdin, 1997. Sequel to Shiloh and Shiloh Season. Marty's family continues the process of making friends with their neighbor Judd.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Shiloh. New York: Yearling, 1991.
A novel inspired by a real dog in WV, about a boy's moral dilemma when he
tries to save a beagle being abused by Judd, a neighbor. He hides the dog
from his family because he has no legal right to provide a sanctuary for
the mistreated dog." See sequels above
and below. Adapted as a feature film, 1996. Good Dog Productions, a Utopia Pictures/Carl Borack production in
association with Zeta Entertainment; a Dale Rosenbloom film; produced by
Zane W. Levitt, Dale Rosenbloom; written for the screen and directed by
Dale Rosenbloom. Warner Home Video DVD 2006, with introduction by Roger
Ebert and interviews with cast, filmmakers and the author. This text is discussed in Building a Child's Library: Inside Twenty-Five Classic Children's Stories by Miriam Johnson. New York: Paulist Press, 2004. See also
Arquilevich, Gabriel, Cathy Gilbert, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. A
Guide for Using Shiloh in the Classroom: Based on the Novel Written by
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Resources,
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Wrestle the Mountain. Follett, 1971. Set near Morgantown, West Virginia. "Frustrated by the narrowness of his West Virginia mining town, a boy [age 11] with a talent for woodcarving yearns for a different way of life."
Nolan, Han. When We Were Saints. Orlando: Harcourt, 2005. "Inspired by his grandfather's last words and guided by a girl who believes they are saints, fourteen-year-old Archie sets out on a spiritual quest that takes him from southern Appalachia to the Cloisters Museum in New York City."
O'Connor, Barbara. Greetings from Nowhere. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008. 208 pp. "In North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains, a troubled boy and his mother, a happy family seeking adventure, a man and his lonely daughter, and the widow who must sell the run-down motel that has been her home for decades, meet and are transformed by their shared experiences."
O'Connor, Barbara. How to Steal a Dog: A Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. "Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer."
O'Connor, Barbara. Me and Rupert Goody. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1999. 106 pp. Jennalee Helton tells about her relationship with the storekeeper that everyone in Claytonville calls Uncle Beau. Because her family is so "wild and unpredictable" (pp. 3-4), Jennalee spends as much time as possible helping Uncle Beau at the General Store, sometimes pretending that she lives there and not in her "ton-of-hell house" (p. 4). Tourists ask the way to Cherokee (NC) and Uncle Beau competes by selling his own cheap Smoky Mountain souvenirs. Chapter one tells of a typical day in Jennalee's life, but then Rupert Goody shows up. He is a son that Uncle Beau never knew he had, "the skinniest black man I ever saw" (p. 10). Rupert's African American mother was, to Uncle Beau, "the sweetest woman this side of heaven" (p. 17). The novel tells of Jennalee's struggle to accept this slow-witted but lovable newcomer. She and Uncle Beau visit very good and very bad foster homes in Fletcher where Rupert had lived. They suffer through a lightning strike, Uncle Beau's hospital stay, and a fire until they celebrate the opening of a new store built just like the old one, where Jennalee willingly shares her chores with Rupert.
O'Connor, Barbara. Moonpie and Ivy. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001. Rural Southern Georgia setting. Twelve-year-old Pearl is left at her Aunt Ivy's farmhouse by her irresponsible mother. She meets Moonpie, who lives with his ailing grandmother. Pearl's time with Ivy and Moonpie is one of love and learning.
Oughton, Jerrie. Music from a Place Called Half Moon. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1995. Jerrie Oughton’s book is a moving depiction of tragedies which result from prejudice and reactions to prejudice in a small North Carolina town near Asheville. The reader walks with young Edie Jo as she overcomes the ignorance that results from lack of contact with people who are racially and ethnically different, towards a warm and deep understanding that comes with opening her life to those same people. The book envelops a mystery that keeps the reader engaged, and the interpersonal dynamics seem familiar as the family struggles with differing opinions about contact with their Cherokee neighbors. The theme is hard-hitting and direct, yet the context of personal and community growth brings the story home so that children empathize and learn from the ethnocentric mistakes of the characters in this novel (notes by Susan V. Mead). Jennifer Smith's article "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature" discusses the songs of "lost love and loneliness" in this novel: "On Top of Old Smoky" and "Down in the Valley." [Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): p. 33.] See more on this book in Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature.
Parsons, Glenn R. Cherokee Summer. Charleston, SC, 2010. 130 pp. "Richard Dodge and his best friend Donnie Green have never met a Native American and know nothing of their ways. Jack Feather, the last Cherokee in North Alabama, has an almost supernatural connection with nature and teaches the boys to see the world with a new appreciation. After a summer of hilarious misadventures involving monster catfish, Cherokee lore and unforgettable characters, the boys make a promise that the pray they will never have to keep. Their solemn vow sends them on an adventure across rural Alabama toward an uncertain fate" (back cover).
Partridge, Elizabeth. Clara
and the Hoodoo Man. New York: Puffin, 1996. The novel
tells of everyday experiences of a young girl growing up in mountain
traditions of ginseng gathering, home births with midwives, and healing
illnesses with herbs. Clara’s family celebrates the Juneteenth holiday,
observed in many African American communities as the day that word of
emancipation got to slaves in Georgia—months after the Emancipation
Proclamation was issued. A Euro-American doctor provides assistance
beyond the traditional healing practices of Clara’s family; however, it
is mountain tradition of the African American Hoodoo Man which helps most
when Clara’s sister needs healing. Clara's mother has to overcome
negative stereotypes of this outcast man (notes by Susan V. Mead). See
more on this book in Celebrating
Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian
Children's Literature and Folklore
Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Paterson, Katherine. Come Sing, Jimmie Jo. New York: Puffin, 1995. A talented boy (age eleven) struggles with fame after he begins performing with his family of traveling country musicians. His grandmother has cared for him in a West Virginia mountain home where they work hard and grow their own food; then his parents take him to a city home in Tidewater, Virginia after they get a manager and regular booking on a television show. Intergenerational conflicts about their music, homesickness, problems emerging from his young mother's past, a stern teacher in a new school, and lack of friends his own age make his transition into the world of professional music difficult, although all the family is immersed in their love of traditional music. "It was the music that tied him to home, to being James" (p. 63). Adult decisions about changing names and other efforts to please fans challenge James to find ways to maintain his sense of self and home with his growing love for performing. The novel includes some song lyrics and discussion of writing new songs. Jennifer Smith's article "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature" notes that this novel includes "as a secondary theme the struggles and differences of opinion between the group’s members regarding the modernization and popularization of their repertoire, . . . the difficulty many groups may have encountered in transitioning from the old-time music to that of the country western repertoire." [Smith in Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): p. 33.] Paterson discussed her process of determining Jimmy's date of birth and his parents' history in "People I Have Known," in her book The Spying Heart (NY: Dutton, 1989, pp. 94-96).
Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved. New York: Avon, 1980. Although this award-winning young adult novel is about twin sisters growing up on an island in the Chesapeake Bay in the 1940s, in the end of the novel Louise moves to Kentucky. She wants to be a doctor but she is persuaded to try nursing and transfer to University of Kentucky. Louise (the narrator of the novel) explains, when she accepts an internship as a nurse-midwife in a western Virginia community, that "A mountain-locked valley is more like an island than anything else I know," with "green grass" that is "often treacherous" and roads that are difficult to navigate in army surplus jeeps (chap. 19). Polish and Lithuanian immigrants who had been miners struggle to farm the land in this area where no mines are open and the Scotch-Irish farmers consider them outsiders. In these mountains Louise marries a Catholic widower with several children and delivers a neighbor's twins. The novel's final chapters, as well as other writings by Paterson, are reprinted in Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism (ed. J. D. Stahl, Tina L. Hanlon and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser. New York: Oxford UP, 2007).
Paterson, Katherine. Park's Quest. New York: Puffin, 1988. Parkington Waddell Broughton V is nearly twelve, but his mother still won't talk about his father who died in Vietnam. An avid reader of Arthurian fiction, Park repeats medieval scenes in his mind that parallel his own quest. After he goes alone from their D. C. home to the new Vietnam Memorial and tries to get his mother to talk about it, she sends him to visit his father's family. They are prominent landowners in far southwestern Virginia with a family military history going back to the American Revolution. With its patriarch incapacitated by strokes, the large farm and old-fashioned house are shabby. The city boy has trouble swallowing whole milk and greasy country food cooked by the housekeeper from Roanoke, but he learns to milk cows, enjoy fresh spring water, and shoot his father's gun. The uncle Park didn't know he had has a Vietnamese wife, whose daughter is also unaware of the full story of her link to Park's family.In spite of Park's prejudice against Asians and Thanh's hostile behavior, they are brought together caring for a crow that is accidentally shot. Both children discover the secrets of their parents' past and begin to learn how to communicate with their disabled grandfather.
Patterson, Nancy Ruth. The Christmas Cup. Illus. Leslie W. Bowman. New York: Orchard, 1989. "Eight-year-old Megan and her grandmother turn a worthless old cup to good use by saving money in it to buy a gift for a special person at Christmas." This book was made into a play and performed at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Virginia, beginning in 1995.
Patterson, Nancy Ruth. Ellie Ever. Illus. Patty Weise. New York: Farrar, Straus, 2010. 117 pp. After Ellie Ever Taylor loses her home, father, and dog in a hurricane, her Christmas request received by volunteer workers helps her mother find employment and an apprenticeship in Virginia. They move from temporary housing to a farm to care for injured and aging horses while her mother learns to be a farrier like her father was. With a full scholarship to a private school, Ellie is the smartest girl in fourth grade but needs to overcome some false assumptions the other girls have about Ellie's background. An election for class president and Ellie's birthday party are central events during her first term at the school. GoodReads reviews of this book.
Patterson, Nancy Ruth. The Shiniest Rock of All. Illus. Karen A. Gerome. New York: Farrar, Straus, 1991. 80 pp. Robert Renolds has a speech defect. He can't pronounce his R's. He comes to realize that everyone is not perfect. This book was made into a play and performed at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Virginia.
Patterson, Nancy Ruth. A Simple Gift. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. A ten-year-old New Yorker summers at her grandmother's home in North Carolina. She wants most to have a part in a new play based on one of her mother's children's books. She gets a part but jeopardizes the play through a bad decision.
Patterson, Nancy Ruth. The Winner's Walk. Illus. Thomas F. Yezerski. New York: Farrar, Straus, 2006. Publisher description: "Case Callahan isn’t a star swimmer like his sister, Quinn. He’s not a champion horse trainer like his father, or a popular stage actor like his mother. Still, Case is determined to make his mark. But one effort after another–talent show, science fair, junior horse show–is a terrible failure. It isn’t until Case comes upon a lost dog that he finds his path to success. The dog, whom Case names Noah, is certainly one of a kind–what other golden retriever can answer the telephone and put dishes in the dishwasher? Together Case and Noah seem destined to become a trophy-winning team. Noah, however, is so smart because he was trained to be a service dog, and when Case learns about his dog’s past, he realizes there is more than one way to be a winner."
Perry, Tristan. Cinnamon Takes a Vacation. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2009. Second of a series of books for middle grades based on the author's apricot-colored toy poodle in southwestern VA. "Cinnamon takes a vacation with her family in the mountains and gets into even more dilemmas than ever before."
Perry, Tristan. Furry Tails: The Adventures of Cinnamon Persimmon. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2006. 108 pp. First in a series of books for middle grades based on the author's apricot-colored toy poodle in southwestern VA. Cinnamon is a mischievous puppy.
Petersen, Randy. The Appalachian Ambush. Choice Adventures, #15. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1994. "The reader is asked to make choices which will determine the outcome of a hiking trip adventure for a group of Christian friends on the Appalachian Trail," who try to stop a robbery of Fort Knox.
Phillips, Jayne A. Lark and Termite: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. "Set during the 1950s in West Virginia and Korea, this is the story of two children—Lark, on the verge of adulthood, and her brother, Termite, a child unable to walk and talk but filled with radiance—who grow up with their mother and aunt while their soldier-father fights for his life during the chaotic early months of the Korean War." In a TeenReads interview, Author Talk: February 13, 2009, Phillips discusses experiences that inspired this novel, her family's long history in West Virginia and the strong women she grew up with there, the novel's multiple points of view, and its "hints of ghosts stories."
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Silent Thunder, A Civil War Story. New York: Jump At The Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 1999. The narrative alternates between a sister and brother who are slaves on a Virginia plantation during the Civil War. Learning to read in secret and decisions about running away are among the problems that change their lives. A reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Frederick Douglass in Boston occurs near the end of the novel.
Porter, Tracey. Billy Creekmore. New York: Joanna Cotler Books, 2007. 305 pp. Billy tells of his life between the ages of ten and twelve at an orphan farm in northern WV, in a coal town closer to Charleston, and with two traveling circuses. "'Folks say I'm bound to be unlucky in life, for I was born at midnight on a Friday, the thirteenth of December, and Peggy says it's certain I can commune with spirits. But I ain't never seen any ghosts, not even my own mother, and wouldn't that be the ghost I'd see if I could?' So begins the tale of Billy Creekmore, a boy with mystifying powers and the glorious gift of storytelling. But what does life hold for someone growing up in the cruel clutches of the Guardian Angels Home for Boys, where Billy's gifts do more harm than good? Escaping the orphanage seems an impossible feat, but when a stranger comes to claim Billy, he sets off on an extraordinary journey. With only a tin box that holds precious mementos of his beloved mother and mysterious father, Billy travels from the coal mines of West Virginia to the spectacular world of a traveling circus in search of his past, his future, and his own true self." Audiobook Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2008. Marketed as a book for ages 8-12.
Potts, Mary L. Fluharty. Jimmie Lee. Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance, 1997. Set in WV farm country during and after the Depression.
Price, Olive M. Snifty. Illus. Bill Hamilton. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957. "After rescuing Snifty, a bear cub orphaned as a result of illegal hunting, two young Cherokee Indians work at tracking down the poachers while they bond with their new charge and prepare him to take part in the annual Cherokee Fair."
Ralphson, G. Harvey. The Boy Scout Camera Club, or The Confession of a Photograph. Full text available online at Project Gutenberg. Chicago: M. A. Donohue, 1913. From an extensive series of Boy Scout global adventure novels by Ralphson. When a group of teenage boys (sons of prosperous East Coast fathers) plan a trip, Ned says, "Of course Jimmie and I can form a club all by ourselves, and he can be the officers and I can be the members, but we'd rather have a menagerie of large size, as we are going into the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee." Another boy explains the enthusiasm of the whole group: "'The mountains!' shouted Frank Shaw, of the Black Bear Patrol. 'It is the mountains that get us! We've been thinking that the club you were organizing wouldn't get outside of little old New York, but would loaf around taking snap-shots of the slums and the trees in the parks. But when you mention mountains, why—.'" Ned, who works for the Secret Service at a young age, says they can take six boys and must be secretive. They aren't searching for moonshiners or counterfeiters, but they end up having adventures with both. They don't suspect mountaineers of stealing a child, but they look for a kidnapped ambassador's son whom they call the prince. When they travel by mule and camp on a WV mountaintop, there is description of the scenery and animal life. They debate the value of living in the wild or with modern inventions. An old woman who had moved to the remote mountains as a refuge plays a role in their dangerous adventure.
Ramey, Robin L. Butternut Moon. Huntington, WV: Mid-Atlantic Highlands, 2012. 117 pp. "An Appalachian adventure involving a girl, a dog and a ghost. Based on a true story of one family's search to find itself and hold onto love amid wrenching change from a comfortable small-town lifestyle to living in a tent in a field in rural Virginia."
Ransom, Candice. Finding Day's Bottom. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2006. Publisher's description: "After eleven-year-old Jane-Ery loses her father in a sawmill accident, Grandpap comes down from Salter’s Mountain to live with her and her mother. To Jane-Ery’s surprise, Grandpap’s funny ways and strange stories bring her a comfort she never expected. He tells her about Day’s Bottom, 'a place of light and wonderment' that has 'anything a body could ever want.' Jane-Ery wonders: Could she find Daddy there? So begins her search for a new kind of understanding of her father’s death. This gently told, beautifully rendered novel brings to life a time and place readers will come to love, Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1950s." See more on this book in Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Ransom, Candice. Time Spies Series. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast/Mirrorstone, 2006-. Series for Grades
2-4, Ages 7-10
.Mattie, Alex, and Sophie Chapman move to the Gray Horse Inn in rural Virginia, where their parents open a bed and breakfast. In the first novel, Secret in the Tower (illus. Greg Call, 2006), the children discover that the seemingly boring old house near Wildcat Mountain contains a secret tower with a hidden spyglass that takes them to various places in history and legend. Guests who stay in the Jefferson Suite (Travel Guides) leave postcards with clues and a letter at the end giving factual background about their time travel adventure. Related activities are explained at the end, such as writing with invisible ink and in code in Book 1. The first adventure involves their own house during the Revolutionary War and a plot to kidnap Governor Thomas Jefferson. Book 3, Giant in the Garden (illus. Greg Call and Jim Bernadin, 2007), takes them into a fairy tale similar to Sophie's favorite, "Jack and the Beanstalk." In Book 4, The Magician in the Trunk (2007), they learn magic from Houdini at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, where part of their adventure involves the Virginia building (a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon home) and possessions of Thomas Jefferson on display. Book 5, Signals in the Sky (2007), involves spies in Civil War Virginia. Book 10, about the War of 1812 in D. C., was published in 2008. See more details and activities for readers and teachers at Ransom's web site and Time Spies Official Home Page .
Ray, Delia. Ghost Girl: A Blue Ridge Mountain Story. New York: Clarion, 2003. Alice Sloane, the narrator, is a light-haired girl sometimes called Ghost Girl by other kids. She is 11-14 in 1929-32, when the first school is built near her mountain home and the summer home of President Herbert Hoover, Camp Rapidan. Alice's family, especially her mother, is devastated by the recent death of her younger brother, Riley. The secret Alice has been hiding about the fire in their cabin when she was home alone with Riley comes out in the course of the novel. Aunt Birdy, Alice's grandmother, is a colorful, hardy mountain woman who convinces Alice's mother that Alice needs to learn to read and teaches Alice to look more deeply into things. As the Author's Note explains, this story is based on the letters and papers of Christine Vest Witcofski, the teacher in the story who is hired to teach and live in the school that the Hoovers build when they realize the community has no school. When Alice's arm is broken, Miss Vest meets her future husband, a medical aide in the Marines named Witcofski. The novel describes the Hoovers' visits to the school, the gifts sent by outsiders, and the school's trip to the Madison County fair. It depicts the prejudices of reporters and benefactors who intrude on the school as it opens and the long struggle of children and adults as they learn to read, helped at times by the Sears, Roebuck catalog. There is one photograph of Mrs. Hoover at the school with the teacher and children. See Ray's web site (click on her name above) for more photographs and background.
Raymond, Charles. Up from Appalachia. Chicago: Follett, 1966.
Reaver, Chap. Bill. New York: Delacorte Press, 1994 . "With the help of her faithful dog Bill and the officer responsible for putting her father in jail, thirteen-year-old Jessica faces changes in her life when she realizes that her father will not stop drinking and making moonshine." Set in rural Kentucky.
Reeder, Carolyn. Grandpa's Mountain. New York: Avon/Camelot, 1991. Eleven-year-old Carrie (who lives in D. C. with her parents) loves spending summers on her grandparents' farm, helping in their rural store and lunchroom in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Depression, until she and Grandpa become involved in conflicts over the government's decision to displace the farmers in order to build the Shenandoah National Park. A variety of characters represent different attitudes toward the advantages and disadvantages of relocating to the valley with funds and services provided by the government. Compare this book to, or use as an introduction, Candice F. Ransom's picture book When the Whippoorwill Calls. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. New York: Tambourine, 1993.
Reeder, Carolyn. Moonshiner's Son. Illus. Tim O'Brien. New York: Aladdin Books, 1993. 208 pp. "Twelve-year-old Tom Higgins is learning the craft of making whiskey. Even though Prohibition forbids the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, Tom is determined to be a good apprentice. He is, after all, a moonshiner's son. His father has raised moonshining to an art, and Tom wants nothing more than to please this rough, distant man. Then a preacher comes to the wilds of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains to rid Bad Camp Hollow of the "evils of liquor." This is when Tom and his father begin their campaign to match wits with the preacher and try to outsmart the law officers he calls in. Tom's father is eloquent in defense of a way of life long and respectfully lived by the Higgins family. But the preacher and his pretty daughter make a powerful case against it. And when drink causes a tragedy in the community, Tom Higgins is torn. . ." (SimonSays.com)
Rinaldi, Ann. The Coffin Quilt: The Feud Between the Hatfields and the McCoys. New York: Harcourt Brace/Gulliver Books, 1999. "In the 1880s, young Fanny McCoy witnesses the growth of a terrible and violent feud between her Kentucky family and the West Virginia Hatfields, complicated by her older sister Roseanna's romance with a Hatfield." The Prologue opens with Fanny's account of the hanging of Ellison Mounts in Pikeville, KY, "a half-wit" from a poor family. The hanging is like a sensational celebration in eastern KY but Fanny says "he didn't deserve to die...for what happened the night the Hatfields' gang attacked our house and did the killings" (p. 1). Fanny's former teacher encourages her to study for the normal school exam so she could be a teacher. The teacher comments on "the mountain people and their superstitions" when someone says a pregnant woman's baby will be marked because she fainted at the hanging, but Fanny knows that the teacher is mountain people, too, from Virginia. Fanny has conflicting feelings about what to do with her life now that her family's place on Blackberry Fork is burned; she stays at their house in town to tend her injured mother, but she could go to school or go to live with relatives elsewhere. Then she returns to 1880 to tell the story of their family's troubles. An Author's Note at the end discusses the history and folklore of the most famous American feud, which may have begun during the Civil War and may have ended because commercial coal mining brought more law enforcement to the area. The Hatfields became miners and the McCoys were farmers. Rinaldi discusses her method of making the story into a novel and adding details about various characters, observing that historical fiction explores "the why of it" that is often lost in history. She created the character of the teacher and the Yeller Thing, based on traditional stories of "ghosts, boogers, witches, and haints [that] were very much a part of the culture of this time and place. Tales of eerie encounters were told and retold around the old stove or fireside at night" (p. 224). She discusses some other folkways in this section, including quilting and the tradition of the coffin quilt.
Ritter, John H. Choosing Up Sides. New York: Philomel, 1998. Novel about baseball set on the Ohio River in the 1920s, in Crown Falls, Ohio . The thirteen-year-old narrator who discovers baseball has a preacher father who disapproves of sports. Named to the Adult Crossover List by the Children's Book Council (books of interest to adults as well as children). Excerpt and other background available on Ritter's web site. His family was scattered around Ohio and WV in the 1920s.
Rockwood, Joyce. Enoch's Place. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. "Fifteen-year-old Enoch, oldest of the children in their Blue Ridge Mountain community of hippies, leaves his family's farm to live with his cousins in the city."
Rockwood, Joyce. Groundhog’s Horse. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978. 115 pp. "An eleven-year-old Cherokee sets off on a one-boy raid of a Creek town to rescue his 'unusual' horse." Also published as The Midnight Horse, Scholastic, 1978.
Rockwood, Joyce. Long Man's Song. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975. "A young pre-Columbian Cherokee living in the southern Appalachian mountains proves himself as a medicine man while trying to cure his sister's illness."
Rockwood, Joyce. To Spoil the Sun. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976. "Forewarned by omens, a sixteenth-century Cherokee Indian village in the southern Appalachians is struck by an 'invisible fire,' a smallpox epidemic brought by European explorers."
Rosenberg, Madelyn. Canary in the Coal Mine. New York: Holiday House, 2013. 140 pp. "Set in 1930s. Bitty is a canary whose courage more than makes up for his diminutive size. Of course, as a bird who detects deadly gas leaks in a West Virginia coal mine during the Depression, he is used to facing danger. Tired of unsafe working conditions, he escapes and hops a coal train to the state capital to seek help in improving the plights of miners and their canaries. While there, Bitty manages to bring together two men: a state senator and the inventor of a machine that can replace canaries. But Bitty's return to Coal Hallow coincides with a shattering mining accident that affects humans and canaries alike. In the tradition of E. B. White and George Selden, Madelyn Rosenberg has written an extraordinary novel starring unforgettable animals in an incredibly imaginative society." The Author's Note indicates that "Coalbank Hollow is a fictional town in West Virginia, though I named it after a mine in Blacksburg, Virginia, that was once owned by Murray Slusser, my stepdad's grandfather." It closed in the 1940s and she borrowed only the name.
Rylant, Cynthia. A Blue-Eyed Daisy. 1985. New
York: Aladdin, 2001. "Relates episodes in the life of
eleven-year-old Ellie and her family who live in a coal mining town in
West Virginia." Rylant wrote that "A lot of A Blue-Eyed Daisy is about things that really happened to me—how I got my first kiss, a school bus accident, going deer hunting, worrying whether a parent would die" (Sixth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, 1989, p. 255).
Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May. New York: Dell, 1992. Set in West Virginia. Winner of 1993 Newbery Award. For details, see Lesson plan by Nancy Polette, 2000, in Nancy Polette's Children's Literature Site.
Seabrooke, Brenda. The Bridges of Summer. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1992. Republished by www.backinprint.com i Universe in conjunction with the Authors Guild, 2007. When she reluctantly comes to stay on a small South Carolina island, fourteen-year-old Zarah gradually accepts her grandmother's Gullah traditions and different way of life" (WorldCat summary). A Notable Book from the National Council of Social Studies. "Strong, smart, and creative, Zarah is a memorable heroine." - The Horn Book. NOTE: Although this book is not set in Appalachia, WV librarian Phyllis Wilson Moore recommends it as "one of my favorite 'coming of age' books by a WV author."
Seabrooke, Brenda. The Haunting of Holroyd Hill. New York: Puffin, 1995. "When her family moves to the Virginia countryside, eleven-year-old Melinda, her older brother, and their new friend Dan work together to solve the mystery of a Civil War-era ghost who is haunting their house." (The Haunting at Stratton Falls, Dutton, 2000, is about another Civil War ghost in a house in New York state during World War II.)
Seabrooke, Brenda. The Haunting of Swain's Fancy.
New York: Dutton's Children's Books, 2003. "Eleven-year-old Taylor spends
the summer with her father and his new family in a historic house in West
Virginia and, while contending with hostility from her stepsister Nicole,
attempts to solve the mystery of ghosts who haunt the site."
While Taylor's stepmother prepares the house for a local history event,
Taylor researches the Civil War Swain family. It was torn apart by a love
triangle and divided political loyalties, with a Quaker father who
remained neutral and two boys who joined opposing armies as the Union and Confederacy fought over
control of their part of the
eastern WV panhandle. Taylor and Nicole, with their brother and a neighbor
boy, put on a play re-enacting the tragic historical events they have
brought to light in their house.
Seckar, Alvena. Trapped in the Old Mine. 1953. Bolchazy Carducci, 1999. Set in Appalachia. Twelve-year-old Andy's parents have immigrated from Slovkia and settled in Coal Patch.
Seckar, Alvena. Zuska
of the Burning Hills. 1952. Bolchazy Carducci,
1999. Set in West Virginia, this is the story of a preteen girl with
Slovak immigrant parents.
Showell, Ellen Harvey. Our Mountain. Illus. Nancy Carpenter. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1991. "Two brothers living in the mountains of West Virginia describe their family, home, and favorite pastimes." Based on true stories. An excerpt appears in the anthology Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia.
Simon, Charlie M. H. Younger Brother: A Cherokee Indian Tale. Illus. Howard Simon. New York: Dutton, 1942. 182 pp. "Sungi performs a service to the tribe and earns the right to wear an eagle feather."
Skurzynski, Gloria, and Alane Ferguson. Night of the Black Bear: A Mystery in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Washington, D.C: National Geographic Society, 2007. 157 pp. "While their mother investigates a series of bear attacks in and near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jack and Ashley learn about country music and Cherokee people from two new friends, one of whom is keeping a secret."
Slate, Joseph. Crossing the Trestle. New York: Cavendish Children's Books, 1999. About an 11-year-old boy in WV in 1944. He has to cross a high trestle to get to school. His older sister and whole family struggle with some painful hardships. See the author's site (Joe Slate) for more information.
Slayton, Fran Cannon. When the Whistle Blows. New York: Philomel Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, 2009. "Jimmy Cannon tells about his life in the 1940s as the son of a West Virginia railroad man, loving the trains and expecting one day to work on the railroad like his father and brothers" (WorldCat). Jimmy has adventures every Halloween (his father's birthday) from ages 12 to 18 in the book. Based on the author's father's youth in Rowlesburg, WV in the 1940s, when trains changed from coal to diesel and many jobs were lost (see author's web site for details).
Slone, Verna Mae. Rennie's Way. Illus. Len Slone. KY: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. "Set in Eastern Kentucky's Lonesome Holler of the 1920s and '30s, this first novel, an expanded, refocused and retitled edition of Slone's 1982 self-published Sarah Ellen, deals with the harsh life of Rennie Slone" (Publisher's Weekly).
Smibert, Angie. "The Jelly Jar." Cicada 15.4 (2013): 18+. Full text of story available through library services such as MasterFILE Premier (accessed July 17, 2014). An excerpt is available on the Cicada web site (Cricket's magazine for teens), as well as "Behind the Scenes: Designing 'The Jelly Jar'" by designer Melanie Galloway, about creating art for the magazine's iPad version to reflect the setting in a deep mine. This young adult short story, set in a southwestern VA mining community during World War II, contains some magic realism. Will is a young man who lost his voice when he was five and his father was killed in a mine cave-in. As Will begins his work in the mine, the work conditions are described, and especially the lunch that his mother prepares in the bucket his father had used. The magic jelly jar in the lunch bucket leads the story to its intriguing climax and conclusion. Bone, a young woman named after the rock left when the coal is gone, is Will's friend who speaks for him and tells Jack tales and other stories.
Smith, Doris Buchanan. Return to Bitter Creek. New York: Puffin, 1986. Twelve-year-old Lacey Bittner returns to her ancestral home in Bitter Creek, NC, where her mother's parents and brother run the grocery store, gas station and garage. As Lacey observes at the end, it takes "a year and a death and a foal" to "melt" the hard feelings that divide the extended family. Lacey and a cousin her age try to be friends but they are caught in a feud between their grandmother and Campbell, Lacey's mother, which began with a custody battle that had caused Campbell to flee to Colorado when Lacey was two. Conflict continues because Campbell has returned with her Iranian-born partner, who works as a blacksmith at a nearby craft school. David Habeeb, a loving father to Lacey although not married to Campbell, teaches Lacey how to become a peacemaker like himself. He also helps her learn how to identify local wildflowers, overcome her prejudice about Appalachian speech, and enjoy weekly square dances and family Sunday dinners. Lacey and her mother help each other through hard times, working together on crafting the leather products they sell, and on raising a new horse and building a home. They have a brief reunion with Lacey's biological father when he helps with their new cabin. Names are important throughout the novel because learning to call people by the names they prefer is part of the healing process, and so is the family quilt made by Grandmom.
Smith, Susan Mathias. The Booford Summer: A Girl and the Dog Next Door. Illus. Andrew Glass. New York: Clarion Books, 1994. Set in rural Virginia. "Ten-year-old Hayley worries about the dog across the street, whose moody owner keeps him tied up and never walks him." Hayley, the narrator, who has five cats, shares a love of animals with a nearby farmer. Full-page pencil drawings by Andrew Glass.
Snow, Dorothea J. Sequoyah, Young Cherokee Guide. Illus. Frank Giacoia. Childhood of Famous Americans Series. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960. 192 pp.
Steele, William O. Flaming Arrows. Illus. Paul Galdone. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1957. Rpt. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990 with introduction by Jean Fritz. "An Indian attack on a fort in the Tennessee wilderness makes young Chad Rabun realize that it is wrong to condemn one person for the misdeeds of another." Steele, also known by the pseudonym Wilson Gage, is the author or many other popular historical novels.
Steele, William O. The Man with the Silver Eyes. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. "Until he learns the reason for the arrangement, a young Cherokee boy has mixed emotions about living for a year with a white man."
Steele, William O. Over-Mountain Boy: The North Carolina Mountaineers in the Revolution. Illus. Fritz Kredel. New York: Aladdin Books, 1952.
Steele, William O. Trail Through Danger. Illus. Charles Beck. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965. 184 pp. Novel about Cherokee life.
Steele, William O. Wayah of the Real People. Illus. Isa Barnett. Williamsburg, VA: Colonial Williamsburg; distributed by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1964. 128 pp. "Wayah the Wolf, a Cherokee boy, goes to the Brafferton School for Indians at Williamsburg to live for a year."
Stewart, Dianne C. Season of the Cold Moon. Midway, FL: Beanpole Books, 2011. 216 pp. "Anthony and his friends travel back in time to 1838 America, and inadvertently disrupt the life of Daniel Kingfisher, a Cherokee boy who had been destined to escape the Trail of Tears."
Stewart, Elisabeth J. On the Long Trail Home. New York: Clarion Books, 1994. "Meli and her brother Tahlikwa escape from the Cherokee people being herded westward on the Trail of Tears, determined to return to their beloved mountain home." Included in A More Perfect Union, vol. 3. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999 (set of materials to enrich social studies curriculum through literature; intended for use with eighth grade social studies text).
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Cycle. The author set this paranormal series for young adults in the Shenandoah Valley, where she lives. Welsh mythology is a major influence in her novels. "Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble."
Still, James. Sporty Creek. 1977. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 1999. Still's only novel for children, Sporty Creek, has many parallels with his classic and only novel for adults, River of Earth. For details, see AppLit's James Still's Books for and about Children: Bibliography and Study Guide.
Stoddard, William O. The Windfall. Illus. B W. Clinedinst. New York: D. Appleton, 1896. 288 pp. Subject headings include floods.
Strachan, Margaret Pitcairn. Trouble at Torrent Creek. New York: I. Washburn, 1967. 183 pp. "During her first year of teaching in the Appalachian Mountains, a twenty-two-year-old girl tries to educate the parents of an isolated community to the need for a better school system and more contact with the outside world."
Street, Julia Montgomery. Drovers' Gold. Illus. Paul Galdone. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1961. About a runaway girl in NC in the 1880s.
Street, Julia Montgomery. Moccasin Tracks. Illus. Frank Kramer. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1958. Friendship between Cherokees and white settlers.
Street, M. R. Blue Rock Rescue. Tallahassee, FL: Turtle Cove Press, 2008. "In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, thirteen-year-old Andy Broome meets a new friend, Trudy Mitchell. Through a fun-filled summer of fishing, playing and visiting two Belgian draft horses, Andy tries not to let Trudy learn his guilty secret about his mother's death, and the reason he won't go swimming at Blue Rock. As a summer storm engorges the river, Andy must rely on the skills and the courage he learned from his mother if he is to save the life of his friend."
Street, M. R. The Werewolf's Daughter. Tallahassee: Turtle Cove Press, 2013. Set in Tennessee. See review by J. G. Annino in this web site.
Stuart, Jesse. Come to My Tomorrowland. Nashville: Aurora Publishers, 1971. Rpt. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1995.
Stuart, Jesse. The Beatinest Boy. Illus. Robert Henneberger. New York: Whittlesey House, 1953 .
Stuart, Jesse. Hie to the Hunters. New York: Whittlesey House, 1950. Rpt. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1996. Published in German as Kentucky-Melodie: Roman. Bayreuth: Hestia, 1960.
Stuart, Jesse. Old Ben. Illus. Richard Cuffari. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970. Rpt. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1992. "When young Shan befriends a bull black snake, his Kentucky mountain family decides that perhaps the only good snake isn't a dead snake after all." Also reprinted in Responsibilities [grade 6]. Ed. Mary O'Hara, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and Jesse Stuart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Stuart, Jesse. A Penny's Worth of Character. Illus. Rocky Zornes. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2001. "An earlier version of this story appeared in The Progressive Farmer and Scholastic Teacher." In this moralistic chapter book, Shan is sent to the store by his mother. She tells him not to take a sack that has a hole in it, but he does anyway because, if he returns 10 sacks to the store, he will get enough pennies back to get his favorite treat of a chocolate bar and a lemon soda pop. He has a nervous time hoping the old storekeeper won't check that particular sack and then his treats don't taste good. When his mother finds out, she makes him walk back to the store in the hot sun to take another sack. He has a miserable time facing up to his misdeed, but he feels much better after he does, when the storekeeper and another neighbor praise his mother and Shan realizes he should appreciate her for teaching him well. The story about Abraham Lincoln walking miles to return pennies to a woman after he made a mistake giving change is evoked while Shan is learning his lesson. Except for the time when he is feeling guilty, he enjoys observing many kinds of creatures and plants along the mountain path to the store. Wonderful black and white drawings by Henneberger, including some double-page spreads, show the farm, the store, and the natural world (click on thumbnail at left).
Stuart, Jesse. La quema / cuento de Jesse Stuart. In Lloro por la tierra y lecturas afines by Mildred D. Taylor, Richard Wormser, Liliana Heker, Gerda Lerner, Jesse Stuart, and Yvonne Nelson Perry. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 1997. Bilingual sourcebook available.
Stuart, Jesse. Red Mule. New York: Whittlesey House, 1955. Rpt. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1993.
Stuart, Jesse. A Ride with Huey, the Engineer: Fact and Fiction from a Colorful Era of America's Past. Illus. Robert Henneberger. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966. 92 pp. Rpt. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1988. "A farm boy gets to see a bit of the world when his engineer friend offers him a ride to the end of line and back."
Stuart, Jesse. The Rightful Owner. Illus. Robert Henneberger. New York: Whittlesey House, 1960.
Sulkin, Karen Adams. The Mystery of Roanoke. Roanoke, VA: The Roanoke Times, 1998. Sulkin's book may be even more accessible to young people because of the ghost story genre and its more subtle references to history. Young readers can use their imaginations to follow the path of the ghost of the enslaved young man who drowned on his way to freedom. With the help of two present day Euro-American children, the ghost is able to recreate the moment of his century old escape attempt and complete it successfully (notes by Susan V. Mead). See more on this book in Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature. For other serialized stories by Sulkin set in Virginia, such as "Ghost Train Journey" (based at the Roanoke Transportation Museum) and "Secrets on the Wind" (about the Civil War on a plantation near Salem), see The Roanoke Times Newspapers in Education web site.
Skurzynski, Gloria, and Alane Ferguson. Night of the Black Bear: A Mystery in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mysteries in Our National Parks Series, no. 13. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2007. 157 pp. "While their mother investigates a series of bear attacks in and near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jack and Ashley learn about country music and Cherokee people from two new friends, one of whom is keeping a secret" (WorldCat). Arguments over ancestral Cherokee lands in the parks play a role in the plot. Includes an Afterword by a park naturalist about black bear behavior and problems with tourists.
Troup, Ellen M. Winter Boy, a Young Cherokee. Pickens County, GA?: E. Troup, 2000. Illustrations by the author.
Tubb, Kristin O'Donnell. Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different. New York: Delacorte Press, 2008. "Autumn Winifred Oliver, an eleven-year-old girl living in Cades Cove, Eastern Tennessee, during the Depression, watches her grandfather as he tries to persuade his neighbors to back the proposed Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but when they discover that the government representative is lying to them, Gramps becomes even more resourceful. Includes author's note about the history of the park."
Urquhart, John. Liza and the Riddling Cave: An Appalachian Adventure for Children. New Orleans, LA: Anchorage Press, 1999. "Stories of life for children in the Blue Ridge Mountains."
Vaughn, Sherry T. Grandpa's Eyes. Illus. Ernie Ross. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1996. See more on this book in Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Vaughn, Sherry T. Melvin's Melons. Illus. Ernie Ross. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1995. See more on this book in Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Ware, Cheryl. Catty-Corners. Illus. Paul Yalowitz. New York: Orchard, 1998."Cheryl Ware will have readers rolling on the floor with laughter, as Venola Mae takes on puberty, her grandma's eccentricities and a trailer full of cats in this hilarious sequel to Flea Circus Summer" (Book Jacket). Venola Mae Cutright, the protagonist of the series, writes, in diary format, all about her exciting time with Grandma. The child-like drawings and short, handwritten notes add a sense of realness to the diary format of the book. The setting is West Virginia.
Ware, Cheryl. Flea Circus Summer. New York: Orchard, 1997. In the first book of the Venola Mae series, the protagonist writes letters to the Ultra Underwater Flea Circus Company, complaining about the lack of life in her recently purchased Underwater Flea Circus People. She also writes to her best friend, Sally, providing a humorous recounting of her summer activities. All of the Venola Mae books are set in West Virginia. See the Trivia Page in AppLit for an interesting tidbit of information on this particular book.
Ware, Cheryl. Venola in Love. Illus. Kristin Sorra. New York: Orchard, 2000. In the third installment of the Venola Mae series, Cheryl Ware's protagonist now has email. She continues to write about the second half of her tumultuous seventh grade experience in her "super secret locked-up diary," but the addition of email now allows her to make those all-important immediate contacts (Front Cover). One of the best aspects of this book, as in all the Venola Mae books, is that it resembles, in every way, the diary of a young girl: simple drawings are scattered throughout the text of the diary; notes are taped onto the pages of the diary; and the email appears exactly as though it were printed from the reader's own computer, complete with headings.
Ware, Cheryl. Venola the Vegetarian. Charleston, WV: Quarrier, 2008. "Seventh grader Venola Mae Cutright, the saucy heroine of the popular Venola series, entertains us again in Venola the Vegetarian. In the fourth book of the series, Venola is dealing with Miss Wilma's illness and the birth of a sixth sibling, when all of a sudden a simple science experiment makes her take a flying leap into vegetarianism. Discouraged and teased by family and friends, Venola perseveres, even creating a few converts. When one of these converts is the cafeteria lady who hasn't smiled in two years, the laughs begin. Stay tuned and find out how Venola fares in becoming a vegetarian in a world where hot dog eating contests are the norm. See whether she can stand up to her family at dinner, avoid detention while trading her dubious meatloaf on the school lunch black market, or survive a vegetarian pizza called 'Flame.'"
Ware's Venola Mae 'Ramps Story." Hillchild:
A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children.
Ed. Dr. Judy Byers and Noel W. Tenney, West Virginia Folklife Center,
Fairmont State College. Vol. 1, 2002. Four April entries from Venola's journal are illustrated by real WV school children. Venola's
ideas about "state pride" are changed when she ends up having a
good time at a ramps festival, in spite of many jokes about reactions to
ramps in her family and school. Includes a recipe for rampy potatoes (made
with the "amount of stinkiness you desire"). Also a letter by
Cheryl Ware to readers and writers about writing the Venola books and how
she makes them humorous. See AppLit's
Review of Hillchild.
Watts, Julia. Kindred Spirits. Midway, FL: Beanpole Books, 2008. 143 pp. "Miranda Jasper like all the women in her family, has the Sight - the ability to see into other people's thought. Miranda's one real friend, Abigail, is a ghost, until Adam moves to town. Miranda and Adam become friends, and soon Miranda introduces an amazed Adam to her friend Abigail. They unearth the story of a horrible crime committed in their town nearly seventy years before, a crime for which an innocent young man was punished" (WorldCat).
Webb, James Plimell. Riley Dawson. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co, 1950. 245 pp. Set in Kentucky mountains.
Weinberg, Karen. A Cherokee Passage. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Pub., 1995. 152 pp. "In 1736 thirteen-year-old Ela draws strength from her Cherokee heritage when she is kidnapped by Creek warriors."
Wells, Rosemary. Red Moon at Sharpsburg. Viking, 2007. "As the Civil War breaks out, India, a young Southern girl, summons her sharp intelligence and the courage she didn't know she had to survive the war that threatens to destroy her family, her Virginia home, and the only life she has ever known." India Moody, a 12-year-old in the Shenandoah Valley when the novel begins, wants to be a scientist and go to Oberlin College in Ohio. Reader reviews at Goodreads.
Whitaker, Alecia. Queen of Kentucky."Fourteen-year-old Ricki Jo, a Kentucky farm girl, learns that popularity is not all she hoped it would be when the huge changes she makes in her personality and style seem to do more to drive away old friends than to win new ones" (WorldCat). "Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her. After a serious incident on Luke's farm, Ricki Jo realizes that being a true friend is more important than being popular....and that the one boy who matters most has been next door all along." The author "grew up on a small farm in Cynthiana, Kentucky" (book jacket).
White, Ruth. Buttermilk Hill. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004. Sequel to Weeping Willow, narrated by Tiny Lambert's daughter Piper Berry, at age 10, in a NC town in 1973. Piper, who is best friends with her aunt her own age, struggles with her parents' divorce and a new stepfamily, her mother's return to college, and her own efforts to express herself through writing poetry. Piper and Lindy also get caught up in an old town mystery of a missing child, which changes the life of their friend Bucky. See review at Allreaders.com.
White, Ruth. Little Audrey. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008. "In 1948, eleven-year-old Audrey lives with her father, mother, and three younger sisters in Jewell Valley, a coal mining camp in Southwest Virginia, where her mother still mourns the death of a baby, her father goes on drinking binges on paydays, and Audrey tries to recover from the scarlet fever that has left her skinny and needing to wear glasses" (WorldCat). Classified as fiction, this compelling book is White's story of her own family, told through the voice of her oldest sister (who died in 1993). Ruth Carol is age six and the youngest child when Audrey is eleven. Audrey calls her sisters "the three pigs" because she mostly views them as greedy and messy. Her problems include hunger, grief for the baby sister she remembers, worry about her mother who has episodes of mental illness, and male bullies at school. Her friend Vergie, who is funny, clever, and good-hearted like Woodrow in Belle Prater's Boy, uses a brilliant ploy in school to stop a dangerous dare imposed by the bullies. Everyone, even the bullies, adores their pretty and kind teacher. Audrey and her mother are comforted by books (Audrey escapes into fantasies about Jane Eyre) and movies at the local theater, although Shirley Temple makes Audrey feel loathing because of her family's poverty. Audrey is teased with jokes in which the Little Audrey cartoon character absurdly laughs at trivial or ironic twists during horrifying events, but Vergie tells funny riddles and Audrey develops her own maturing perspective on suffering as her family deals with a terrible crisis at the end of the book. See 2008 review by Jane Stimmen at wsws.org, with thoughtful comments on the relationship between this family story and the historical background, and publisher's page with excerpts from book and reviews at macmillan.com.
White, Ruth. Memories of Summer. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000. Bittersweet story of a 13-year-old girl who moves with her widowed father and mentally ill sister from Glory Bottom, VA to Michigan in the 1950s.
White, Ruth. A Month of Sundays. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011. April Garnet Rose is a fourteen-year-old girl from a family of people named after months. But her father, August, left before she was born, so she doesn't know her relatives until the summer of 1956, when her mother leaves her with her father's sister June for a month. Her mother leaves their apartment in Elkhorn City, Kentucky, to look for work in Florida. In Black River, Virginia, in a big house built around an old log cabin on a busy road, Garnet grows to love her aunt and uncle, their two boys, and her grandfather, who previously hadn't known she existed. They buy Garnet her first nice clothes, including a poodle skirt, and she becomes acquainted with other luxuries such as television and plentiful food, both modern and country foods that her grandfather helps prepare. A mentally handicapped girl next door becomes a friendly confidant. Garnet accompanies Aunt June, who has cancer, to a variety of churches where they witness outdoor baptisms, a revival, snake handling, and faith healing. A preacher's son becomes April's first boyfriend during this summer when she explores love and loss, family and identity, and the illusions and realities surrounding her parents' relationship.
White, Ruth. The Search for Belle Prater. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005. The story from Belle Prater's Boy (see above) resumes on New Year's Eve, when Woodrow's household receives a
voiceless phone call at the stroke of midnight, which is his 13th
After the call is traced to Bluefield, Woodrow and Gypsy convince their
parents that they are old enough to visit Bluefield by themselves. On the bus trip they are joined by two new characters: Cassie, who has
been blessed all her life with inexplicable gifts such as second sight,
and Joseph, an African American boy looking for the father who had
abandoned him many years before. Cassie and Woodrow learn about
segregation while traveling with Joseph. Woodrow's trip to have his
crossed eyes operated on in Baltimore and the search for his mother occupy
most of the plot.
White, Ruth. Tadpole. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. Set in the Kentucky hills in 1955-56. With three seemingly accomplished and well-known older sisters—Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia—Caroline, the ten-year-old narrator, is encouraged by the optimism of her thirteen-year-old cousin to recognize her own talent after Tadpole arrives unexpectedly for a visit. Tad's musical talents fill their days with song and dance, inspiring Caroline to hear the songs in her own head. SPOILERS IN THIS SUMMARY: Tad organizes a neighborhood July 4th picnic at the Breaks of Cumberland, the first public park in their area, in a place explored by Daniel Boone. Tad finds ways to help pay the bills when the aunt determined to protect him from an abusive guardian is "broke as the Ten Commandments" (p. 105). He has mysterious spiritual insights and is inspired by Wordsworth's "Intimations Ode" to think, "When we're born, we bring magic with us from the other side. One old famous dead poet said we come 'trailing clouds of glory'" (p. 39). Tad and Caroline enter a radio music contest with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Tad leaves for Nashville on the day after James Dean died, and writes to the family later as his fortunes improve. Lyrics from some traditional songs and ballads are scattered throughout the novel.
White, Ruth. The Treasure of Way Down Deep. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013. This sequel to Way Down Deep (see below) begins at Ruby's thirteenth birthday party in 1954, which is interrupted by misfortune befalling her pet goat Jethro. Miss Arbutus' boarding house, The Roost, works its magic on Miss Duke, "the new English teacher from elsewhere," who seems severe (and narrow-minded about local dialect) until a kids' Halloween prank makes her realize she is unlikable and she moves to The Roost; there she becomes involved with another boarder as he finishes his book about the town's history. Rita Skeeter, a young motherless child, and Ruby's formerly unsociable Grandma, who is learning to read, are among the varied characters who benefit from staying at The Roost. Miss Arbutus still has an active spirit life in her dreams. Johnny Ray Springstep is a miner's son who wants to be a doctor and discovers his advanced interest in chemistry. Becky Trueheart is Ruby's school friend from the small African American community. Their school has been integrated since fire damaged the separate school outside town. Ruby nurses a three-legged dog of mysterious origins back to health and names it Tripod. When mine closings bring many kinds of hardships to citizens of the town, especially the miners' families who live in the hollers, Ruby learns that unemployment among one group damages the economy and lives of everyone. As she searches for the legendary treasure hidden by the town's founder, Archibald Ward, a new article about the history of The Roost provides clues. With some supernatural help, Ruby leads the town to fulfill its most utopian dreams after an interlude when the adults become ashamed of their own greed and arguing. Benevolent librarians and teachers are among those who understand that education is the key to improving life for everyone in their community.
White, Ruth. Way Down Deep. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007.
Story of a child who becomes a foundling as a toddler in 1944 and lives among an
array of quirky characters in Way Down Deep, WV, an amusing and almost
mythic small town, sixty miles from Yonder Mountain, VA.
Ruby June lives with a kind foster mother who runs a boarding house, until
Ruby is twelve and the mystery of her past starts to unfold. A number of
characters in addition to Ruby struggle with the loss of their mothers and
other family members. The book includes a map of the town and list of the
cast of characters. Lee Smith observes that the story is "both fable and
mystery...simply irresistible...with an entire community worthy of
Dickens...funny, sweet, and filled with the heart's own truth" (back
cover). A starred review in Booklist notes
that "White dabbles in magic realism here." See Publishers Weekly 2007 interview with Ruth White. See above for the 2013 sequel, The Treasure of Way Down Deep.
White, Ruth. You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does). New York: Delacorte Press, 2011. "Forced to flee a small North Carolina town when the neighbors suspect they are aliens, sixth-grader Meggie Blue and her family leave Earth and arrive in Fashion City, where individuality is punished and the greatest crime is being 'grossly unique.'"
Whitefeather, Willy. Willy Whitefeather's River Book for Kids. Tucson: Harbinger House, 1994. 124 pp. "Choona, a young Cherokee boy, goes down the river in a canoe with his grandfather and learns many useful things which he will use throughout his life."
Wyatt, Melissa. Funny How Things Change. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. "Remy, a talented, seventeen-year-old auto mechanic, questions his decision to join his girlfriend when she starts college in Pennsylvania after a visiting artist helps him to realize what his family's home in a dying West Virginia mountain town means to him" (WorldCat).
Yep, Laurence. Dream
Soul. New York: HarperCollins Juvenile Books, 2000. The sequel to Star Fisher, the story of the Chinese American Lee
family in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Dream Soul focuses on the
events surrounding the Christmas season of 1927. Joan, Emily, and
Bobby want nothing more than to celebrate Christmas with their landlord
neighbor, Miss Lucy. Their parents concede, only if they behave
perfectly until the time of Christmas, which is not a traditional
celebration for the Chinese. Though the children try hard not to
disappoint their parents, they do embarrass their father, so the holiday
is cancelled. When the children's father becomes seriously ill, Joan
remembers a story her father has told her and tries to bring her father's
"dream soul" back to him. See
more on this book in Folklore
Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.
Yolen, Jane. Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All. New York: Philomel, 2007. Young adult novel based on Yolen's 2000 short story "Snow in Summer" (see Snow White's Appalachian Descendants in AppLit's folktale index). The setting, called Addison, is based on her husband's family home of Webster, WV in the 1930s and 1940s (Yolen's husband was born in 1937). Except for some names and a wealth of culturally specific details, the plot and characters are imaginary, with fairy tale themes and magic woven into a realistic story about Summer's grieving and then deluded father; her mistreatment at the hands of her stepmother (a witch practicing unrealistic dark magic); and her escape into the forest where she finds refuge with a group of brothers who are German jewel miners. Cousin Nancy, a widow who takes her to the Catholic church, brightens Summer's early childhood after her mother dies, and tries to rescue her as she approaches adolescence. Nancy provides rowan seeds, briars, and Summer's own caul to ward off the witch. A remote rural church that uses rattlesnakes and strychnine to test faith and a ruthless young man named Hunter are manipulated by the stepmother with evil intentions. Summer is the narrator, with a few chapters switching to Nancy's, the stepmother's, and one of the German brother's memories. Read this novel to see how Yolen replaces the romantic kiss of life at the end (from the Disney movie, of course, as it's not a kiss in older versions of "Snow White") and other intriguing transformations in this blend of European tale and realistic American regional fiction. Page on this book in Yolen's web site gives links, excerpts from reviews, and a few personal observations.
Youmans, Marly. The Curse of the Raven Mocker. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003. "After her parents disappear from their isolated home in the Great Smoky Mountains, Adanta discovers the truth of the Cherokee stories her father told her and embarks on a journey to thwart the sorcery that has claimed her parents."
Youmans, Marly. Ingledove. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005. "Several years after Fontana dam flooded the town where they were born, Ingledove and her brother Lang go wandering in the southern Appalachians, where they encounter their mother's peculiar people, the Adantans, and an evil being who charms Lang." Involves Cherokee legends and a magical place in the Great Smoky Mountains. Kate Coombs discusses this "dark...moody" novel in her Book Aunt blog, 16 Jan. 2009, where she identifies a coming trend she calls "rural fantasy" or "tall tale fantasy." She refers to "an unusual mix of Celtic and Cherokee magic in this book."
Short Stories and Collections
Note: Stories based on folklore are listed in Appalachian Folktale Collections.
Archer, C, and Catherine Marshall. The Bridge to Cutter Gap; Silent Superstitions; The Angry Intruder. Christy Juvenile Fiction Series, vol. 1. Nashville: Tommy Nelson, 1995. 372 pp. "Three stories based on Catherine Marshall's novel Christy, about plucky, headstrong Christy Huddleston, who left her comfortable home to teach the mountain children at a mission school in the heart of the Smoky Mountains."
Archer, C, and Catherine Marshall. Midnight Rescue; The Proposal; Christy's Choice. Nashville: Tommy Nelson, 1996. "Three stories based on Catherine Marshall's novel Christy, about plucky, headstrong Christy Huddleston, who left her comfortable home to teach the mountain children at a mission school in the heart of the Smoky Mountains."
Archer, C, and Catherine Marshall. The Princess Club; Family Secrets; Mountain Madness. Nashville: Tommy Nelson, 1997. "Three stories based on Catherine Marshall's novel Christy, about plucky, headstrong Christy Huddleston, who left her comfortable home to teach the mountain children at a mission school in the heart of the Smoky Mountains."
Archer, C, and Catherine Marshall. Stage Fright; Goodbye, Sweet Prince; Brotherly Love. Nashville: Tommy Nelson, 1997. "Three stories based on Catherine Marshall's novel Christy, about plucky, headstrong Christy Huddleston, who left her comfortable home to teach the mountain children at a mission school in the heart of the Smoky Mountains."
Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin, and Joseph Eugene Dash. Stories from an Indian Cave: The Cherokee Cave Builders. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1939. 217 pp.
Sandra L., and Patricia L. Hudson, eds. Listen
Here: Women Writing in
Lexington: Kentucky UP, 2003. The first comprehensive Appalachian anthology of
writing by women. Contains selections of poetry and prose by 105 writers,
including Marilou Awiakta, Jo Carson, Rebecca Caudill, Nikki Giovanni,
Clark, Billy C. By Way of the Forked Stick. TN: Tennessee UP, 2000. 149 pp. Four fictional stories drawn from the author's childhood experiences of the 1930s.
Clark, Billy C. Sourwood Tales. Illus. Harold Eldridge. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2001. 256 pp. Collection of eighteen short stories of life in the Big Sandy region of Eastern Kentucky during the Great Depression.
Davis, Donald. “Don’t Kill Santa!” Christmas Stories. Atlanta, GA: August House, 2006. 112 pp. See Appalachian Christmas Picture Books: Collections for Children for summary.
Faine, Edward Allan. Little Ned Stories: A Chapter Picture Book for Kids. Illus. Joan C. Waites. IM Press, 1999. Realistic adventure stories of Little Ned, "six going on seven." Set in West Virginia in the 1950s, the titles include "No Soap," "The Boy Who Hated Halloween," and "The Ocean Vacation."
Gibbons, Faye. One Bright Morning.
Gifford, James, M.,
Owen B. Nance, and Patricia A. Hall, eds. Appalachian
Christmas Stories. Illus. Jim Marsh. Ashland,
KY: The Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1997. See Appalachian
Christmas Picture Books: Collections for Children for
Mushko, Becky. Where There's A Will. West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing, 2005. With Study Guides by Kay McGrath (based on 6th-grade Virginia Standards of Learning). Third-grade lesson plans by Charlotte Webb. A collection of eight stories, all set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from the 1770s to the 1950s. "All of the stories in Where There's a Will are about young people who are empowered in some way and who learn valuable lessons about life" (from author's Introduction). An earlier version of "Spelldown" appears in AppLit at this link. "Meg Reddingoode: A Blue Ridge 'Little Red Riding Hood" is a realistic story set in Bedford County during the Revolutionary War, in which Meg and Grandma are sharp enough to stand up to a Tory intruder named Jeremiah Wolfe. "Insult to Injury" and "You Ain't Buck-Nekkid and You Got Enough to Eat" also appeared in Mushko's 2003 collection The Girl Who Chased Mules and Other Stories. See also 2005 article in Smith Mountain Eagle at this link.
Now and Then, vol. 4.1 (Spring 1987). Ed. Pauline Cheek. Johnson City, TN: Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, East Tennessee State Univ. Special issue on Appalachian childhood. Stories are "Thief in the Night" by Jan Barnet, "The Flood" by Drema S. Redd, and "Soul Train Ride" by Judy Odom. Also essays, reviews, interviews, memories, photos, and poems. Full text available in ERIC, no. ED310896.
Rutledge, Archibald. "Young Abel Yancey." Echoes of the Southland, vol. 1 (1941): pp. 170-83. "Abel Yancey pursues an eagle that has carried off a kid from his family's herd of goats."
Rylant, Cynthia. Children of Christmas: Stories for the Season. Illus. S. D. Schindler. New York: Orchard Books, 1993. See Appalachian Christmas Picture Books: Collections for Children for summary.
Rylant, Cynthia. Every Living Thing. Illus. S D. Schindler. New York: Aladdin Books, 1988. Available as audiobook with Rylant's Children of Christmas stories. A dozen short stories (some very short) by a WV native, set in different parts of the country but some stories have no place specified. The first story, "Slower than the Rest," mentions Tyler Mountain, and there is a Tyler Mountain in WV. Each one is a moving story about how humans of various ages are transformed by experiences with pets or wild animals. Sometimes the animals comfort a lonely human and sometimes they improve human relationships: for example, a father's parrot makes the son realize when his father is ill that he has neglected his father; a widow takes pity on the boy who tries to sell her lost cat because the boy does not look well himself.
Stuart, Jesse. "Split Cherry Tree." In Whole Pieces. Ed. Alice Quinn. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1990.
Stuart, Jesse. Seven by Jesse. Terre Haute: Indiana Council of Teachers of English, 1970. Seven short stories: "Neighbors in the Night," "The Reason," "Night of Love," "He Saw the Sun this Time," "More Fun than a Circus," "The Usurper of Beauty Ridge," "The Biscuit Maker."
of AppLit Pages by Genre: Fiction for Children and Young Adults