Books by May Justus for Children and Young Adults

Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon
Ferrum College

Books by May Justus  |  Other Publications and Reprints  |  Links and References on May Justus

Notes: This is a complete bibliography of Justus' published books, as far as I can tell (from bibliographic research by George Loveland and myself, and from examining many of the books myself). Although these books are all out of print, the availability of many copies through libraries and used booksellers shows that they were read all around the continent through much of the twentieth century. And they are still enjoyable and heartwarming books to read today. The University of Tennessee library contains a complete collection of Justus books as well as archival material (see link to archives below). See also AppLit Articles "May Justus as Popular Educator" by George Loveland, for background on May Justus' lifelong work (1898-1989) as a writer, teacher, and activist in her native region of rural Appalachia, and "Vital Words and Actions in the Works of May Justus and Richard Chase" by Tina L. Hanlon.

"If my own stories and books have a lasting value it is, I hope, in the field of regional literature. For in this field may (be) preserved the history of a people to whom I belong, with whom I am glad to claim kin as a Tennessee Mountaineer" (May Justus, quoted in Burns and Hines, 1964).

Illustration by Robert Henneberger
in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains


Books by May Justus

See also Justus entries in Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.

At the Foot of Windy Low. Illus. Carrie Dudley. New York: P. F. Volland, 1930. 80 pp., 11 chapters. "This is the story of a friendship between a dear little girl of the mountains and a queer old fellow that the children call Simple Simon." Illustrated end papers and some color plates as well as silhouette borders and drawings. Dedicated to all her school children who asked Justus for stories after schoolwork. This story is less realistic than most of Justus' later fiction, focusing on a funny, child-like stranger with mysterious origins and almost no possessions (Simple Simon in the familiar nursery rhyme has no sense of money), but many talents that please children and adults in the Windy-Low community. Roberta Herrin notes that the bright "cartoon-like" illustrations would suit the Swiss Alps better than Appalachia, and that Justus used less dialect than in later books (Appalachian Children's Literature, p. 136).

Banjo Billy and Mr. Bones. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1944. 63 pp. Partially colored illustrations. "Includes some music for banjo and voice interspersed with the story which is about an orphan boy and his dog, Mr. Bones looking for his own 'stay place'" (notes from Bring Your Banjo cover

Barney, Bring Your Banjo. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, 1959. 61 pp. Tamburine’s lush details of mountain life are honest and provide much needed relief from stereotypical depictions of the times (note by Judy Teaford. See her article surveying realistic Appalachian picture books.) "Barney is invited to perform at a Saturday night play party given by his uncle. He picks out the tune that his grandmother is singing while doing the laundry. When he asks her to sing other verses to the song, she cannot remember the words and suggests that Barney ask the neighbor. For the rest of the week, . . . each neighbor sends Barney to another neighbor, who teaches an additional verse of the song, 'Tale of a Pig.' The melody and all the verses are included in the book. Of course, Barney’s performance at the play party is a huge success" (summary from Jennifer Smith's article, "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature." Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): p. 35.) See also Tale of a Pig, below.

Betty Lou of Big Log Mountain
. Illus. Starr Gephart. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, 1928. 243 pp. Rpt. Garden City, NY: The Sun Dial Press, 1937. 243 pp. Young Moderns Bookshelf Series. When Betty Lou is 15, her father takes her and Aunt Sue from Louisville to live on Big Log Mountain, where he is needed as a doctor and they learn about his father's important work establishing a mission there. Betty Lou rejoices in the beauty of the mountain landscape. She and her friend Milly, daughter of the sheriff, have many adventures trying to make money for Milly to go to high school with Betty Lou, and playing unexpected roles in catching a moonshiner/murderer. They befriend Uncle Pete, a paralyzed man high up on the mountain. Betty Lou thinks up a successful plan to get city stores to buy amusing wooden toy animals that Uncle Pete carves from wood knots the girls collect, earning the cash Milly needs. Dr. Dane's courtship of Marian, a nurse who also serves as school teacher and good friend to Betty Lou until she collapses from exhaustion, is in the background of the novel until their simple but festive marriage on Thanksgiving, when the new hospital built by the community is named for Marian. Betty Lou's exuberant ways make it difficult but not impossible for her to win over the new school teacher, Miss Witherington, from a strict missionary family in the Northeast. Justus exposes the misguided ways of the revival preacher who scares Betty Lou by judging her and her generation harshly, and the new teacher who only wears black and distributes religious tracts at every opportunity. When Betty Lou fills in as teacher for the younger children, the issue of parents' religious objections to the teaching of science (to the idea that the world is round) is introduced briefly. Dr. Dane and the professor who teaches the older children represent a loving and humane as well as reverential approach to religion, education, and community service.
Roberta Herrin notes, "The bits of interspersed folklore, songs, and dialect add interest" (Appalachian Children's Literature, p. 137).

Big Log Mountain. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, 1958. 184 pp. This is a shortened reprint of Betty Lou of Big Log Mountain. A Kirkus review observes, "The mountain atmosphere- and the kinds of things that happen- show May Justus at her best; her handling of the romance on the ragged edge seems a bit contrived" (on Kirkus web site with no date given, accessed 7/7/17).

Bluebird, Fly Up! Illus. Helen Finger. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1943. 187 pp. See Smoky Mountain Sampler for a story, "The Black Cat," reprinted from this book. The characters Matt and Glory are also in Cabin on Kettle Creek and The Other Side of the Mountain.

Cabin on Kettle Creek. Illus. Helen Finger. New York: The Junior Literary Guild/J. B. Lippincott,1941. 177 pp. Includes folk songs with music. See the same characters in Bluebird, Fly Up! and The Other Side of the Mountain.

Children of the Great Smoky Mountains. Illus. Robert Henneberger. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1952. 158 pp. Sixteen stories about children, many of them characters who appear in other Justus books. Mountain folkways are included in each story, especially folk songs and ballads but also riddles, quilting, holiday traditions, food, and folk beliefs. Click on title for details.

The Complete Peddler's Pack: Games, Songs, Rhymes, and Riddles from Mountain Folklore. Illus Jean Tamburine. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1967. 87 pp. (Click on thumbnails for larger pictures from "Signs" rhyme and “Whoa, Mule, Whoa!” song, "called a 'fiddle-jig song' in the Smoky Mountains.") The introduction by Edwin C. Kirkland praises the authenticity and beauty of this book because, unlike collections by outsiders, this one comes from Justus' memories of family life in the Great Smoky Mountains and her pride in her native culture. Justus writes that she "learned from my family, kinfolk, friends, and schoolmates" (xi). Her mother sang the songs she had learned from her English mother, and her father played the fiddle. She calls the book "a miscellany of fun and fancy belonging to the mountain region marked by the peddler's path" (xii). She gives sources for those she could remember, such as nonsense rhymes from Pig Trot School, near Bridgeport, TN, where she attended 1905-12. Musical notations and line drawings are included. A shorter version, The Peddler's Pack was published in 1957. See below for article by Dykes and Watley that discusses Justus' views on this book. They quote her as saying it was one of her favorites.

Dixie Decides. New York: Random, 1942. 295 pp. In "Dogwood Winter," a story from this book reprinted in Smoky Mountain Sampler, Dixie and her brother Rufe hurry to help plant corn before the weather changes. They hope to buy wishbook clothes later by selling fruit to people passing through Far Beyant on trains. Their father and his mother are "weather-wise," reciting several rhymes such as the "old rule-rhyme" for planting: "One for the cut worm, / One for the crow, / One for the field mouse, / And one to grow." Gran O'Dell says "chimney smoke trailing to the ground . . . [is] a bad weather sign certain sure—and last night it lightened in the north." Mammy recites the rhyme "If a cow beast scratch her ear / Stormy weather's drawing near." They haven't changed their winter underclothes yet because they "Change not a clout / Till May be out." Dogwood winter is the annual cold snap after the dogwoods bloom. Dixie and Rufe work hard all night, secretly building smudge fires to save the orchard from frost. They risk angering their father by trying a "new-fangled practice" followed by "far-outlanders"; Rufe is clever at figuring out how to imitate the method that their neighbor's son learned from his teacher. Old Man Rector and Dixie's father held a grudge over a land dispute when Dixie's parents were first married. The stubborn men would never let their wives make up, but Si Rector appears during the night and makes friends with Dixie. In the morning her father is pleased that the orchard is unharmed and vows to thank the Rectors, ending their feud. "Mighty Rough Road" is a tune that Si whistles. A New York Times review observed that "Miss Justus does not romanticize the mountain people, but she does know their instinctive kindliness and generosity, their proud sense of honor as well as their stubbornness and suspicion of change" (Jan. 10, 1943).Eban and the Rattlesnake

Eben and the Rattlesnake. Illus. Carol Wilde. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing, 1969. Click on thumbnail at left for larger illustration. This 48-paFiddle Away illustrationge picture book weaves a traditional tall tale into a realistic story about Eben Holder and his farming parents in No-End Hollow. More details at "The Snake-Bit Hoe Handle."

Fiddle Away. Illus. Erick Berry [pseud.]. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1942. 28 pp. A Story Parade picture book about mountain life. Includes "The Swapping Song" (words and music) on p. 21 and on lining-papers. The same story about Honey Jane helping Joe John to buy a new fiddle and win the fiddle contest is in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains (see cover at this link). Description in Loganberry's Art Deco Illustrated catalog: "8" x 8.5" square, approx. 24 pages. A charming children's book with color illustrations on every-other page. Decorated endpapers and a page of music notation." Illustration at right. For cover, see AppLit article "May Justus and Richard Chase."

Fiddlers' Fair. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1945. 32 pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. Illustrations are both brightly colored and some black and white. Notes from an online bookseller at "The story of a family feud and a fiddling contest set in the mountains of Tennessee. Justus included folksongs with words & music." Before the Fourth o' July Fiddling Match in Far Beyant, when the family feud that erupted over a misunderstanding at last year's fiddling contest is ended between the Adamses and Saymores, Andy and Jim play their fiddles while Sally Ann dances and sings, and text of the song is given. For cover, see AppLit article "May Justus and Richard Chase." A song with this name is on the CD called May Justus, listed below.

Fun for Hunkydory. Illus. Sue d'Avignon. Racine, WI: Golden Press, 1963. 24 pp. Roberta Herrin notes that Hunkydory is the dog who first appeared in Toby Has a Dog and later Whoop-ee, Hunkydory! "Hunkydory is left in charge of the yard while his master Toby goes off to town. Fun for Hunkydory coverHunkydory leaves the yard to explore 'real fun' with various farm animals and concludes that 'staying-at-home doggy fun' is better than colt fun, pig fun, goat fun, squirrel fun, or raccoon fun. Though the text does not identify the story as Appalachian, d'Avignon's illustrations depict a rural farm setting" (Herrin and Oliver, Appalachian Children's Literature, p. 137). Becky Furrow has observed (in a Facebook comment, 7/8/17) that the cover is similar to Gustaf Tenggren's design for one of the first twelve Little Golden Books, The Poky Little Puppy (1942), which is one of the best-selling picture books in history. The artist's style is different (more realistic here) and the other puppy (predominantly white) is examining a lizard, but the dog's body and pose are quite similar.

Fur in Huskyday. Little Golden Books, 1962.

Gabby Gaffer. Illus. Carrie Dudley. New York: Volland, 1929. 80 pp. Rpt. Illus. Inese Jansons. Minneapolis: Dillon Press, 1975. 106 pp. "No one knows how Gabby Gaffer came to Unlucky Village but they can all tell that he changes people's luck" (WorldCat). From Aleph-Bet bookseller description (2012): "8vo, green gilt cl....Inglenook Series. Illustrated by Carrie Dudley with 10 fabulous color plates, pictorial endpapers and pictorial border on each page of text. A very scarce Volland title and a wonderfully illustrated book in typical 20's style."

Gabby Gaffer's New Shoes. Illus. Merle T. Cox. Los Angeles: Sultonhouse, 1935. 93 pp. A collection of twelve stories about Gabby Gaffer.
For this book Justus was awarded the Julia Ellsworth Ford Prize, 1935.

Here Comes Mary Ellen. Illus. Helen Finger. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1940. 140 pp. See also Mary Ellen, Holidays in No-End Hollow, and Near-Side-and-Far. This novel depicts ballad-singing and many other traditions and routines of mountain life and neighborly relationships.

Holidays in No-End Hollow. Illus. Vivian Berger. American Folk Tales Series. Champaign, IL: Garrard, 1970. 63 pp. Back cover at right (click for larger image).

Honey Jane. Illus. Charles Smith. Garden City, NY: Junior Books/Doubleday, Doran, 1935. Rpt. 1946. 202 pp. Click on thumbnail at left for larger image. The mountain ballads in the book were verified in The Land of Saddle Bags, collected by James Watt Raine. Honey Jane enjoys her first trip from her town home in Millersville to visit her many relatives on Thunder Mountain. Later her father is called to live on the mountain as a preacher, circuit rider, and peacemaker, because his family of "wild McCrearys" have feuded with the Olivers for generations. Honey Jane's orphan cousin, Joe John, has to adjust to the more refined town school for a while, until they move in with Granny McCreary and build a school on the mountain. Honey Jane's father is a good school teacher until they find just the right woman who brings gentle, winning manners; stories of world travel; and a piano from the city. Honey Jane corresponds with an editor who advises her to write for fun instead of profit and sends her encouragement and literary gifts. Her poems and some of the ballads she hears around her are included in the novel. The brave girl, who never liked being taught to be a lady by her dignified Miller grandmother, helps quell the feud by discovering the good in the Oliver boy who comes to her school and in his moonshiner father, "old Alec." The illustration at left has the caption, "Honey Jane looked steadily at old Alec and felt herself grow braver" (facing p. 182).  "Honey Jane Rides to the Rescue" is reprinted in Smoky Mountain Sampler. Honey Jane also appears in Fiddle Away.

"Honey Jane....was a story about a little girl whose childhood was much like mine. Honey Jane had, as I had, kept writing poems and sending them in to a publisher of children's literature hoping to get paid some money to help with the family's expenses. So finally I was a published author."  (May Justus, Wigginton interview transcript, p. 24)

The House in No-End Hollow. Illus. Erick Berry [pseud.]. New York: Doubleday, Doran,1938. Rpt. 1950. 286 pp. The chapter "The Meeting of the Kin" is reprinted in Smoky Mountain Sampler (see illustration below). Three Turner children prepare a special meal for their kin and persuade the adults that they have taken good care of themselves and their mountain home in the months since their father died, that they should not be taken away to live with different relatives. An unexpected solution arrives with the news that their aunt suddenly married the peddler and their Granny will move in with them. The brother longs to play his father's fiddle and learns in the course of the story. The part in which Becky has a little school for the neighborhood children is based on Justus' experience of doing that when she was 15 with her sister Helen, when the school closed for the winter (Wigginton interview). For a similar family story in a well-known Appalachian children's novel, see Where the Lilies Bloom.

Hurrah for Jerry Jake. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1945. 64 pp., 8 chapters. Jerry Jake saves the old log schoolhouse that also served as a church on Kettle Creek, when greedy Ben Bailey tries to tear it down. The lithographs on every double-page spread alternate between black and white and brightly colored illustrations, some full-page pictures. Includes music. "The author wishes to thank Mr. Waldemar Hille for his version of the two folksongs used in this book." See also Jerry Jake Carries On and Step Along and Jerry Jake.  

It Happened in No-End Hollow. Illus. Mimi Korach. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing,1968. 48 pp. Three humorous traditional tales from the Great Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee: "Old Ben Bailey Meets his Match" (see this title below and Lester and his Hound Pup), "Little Lihu's Lucky Day" (also published as Luck for Little Lihu) and "Don't Be a Silly-Billy." See more details and illustration at AppLit's Folktale Picture Book Bibliography.

Jerry Jake Carries On. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1943. 62 pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. In this coming of age story, as in Use Your Head, Hildy and other stories, growing children mature through recognizing their interdependence with the larger society. Jerry Jake, who lives with his grandparents, is left in charge of the homestead when his Grandpappy leaves to take a job in a sawmill. Jerry Jake is very successful at carrying out the “man-sized work” around the cabin and at the end of the summer finds he will not be able to start school on time because there is a field of potatoes to be dug up. He decides to sacrifice his new pocket knife by offering it to his friend Tommy Tyler as pay to help him dig the potatoes, placing the family’s needs above his “prized possession.” (Notes by George Loveland from article on Justus in AppLit.) In a scene with a school teacher, she sings a ballad and the children discuss the fact that some songs tell stories. See also Hurrah for Jerry Jake, Step Along and Jerry Jake, and "The Rescue of Gadabout's Calf" in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Jumping Jack. Illus. Shirley J. Wallner. Fayetteville, GA: Oddo Pub.,1974. 30 pp. Story in rhyme: "Of great perplexity to all is that little Jack jumps uncontrollably." Also produced as one cassette tape with book by Oddo Pub., 1975.

Jumping Johnny and Skedaddle. Illus. Robert Henneberger. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson, 1958. 96 pp. Click on thumbnail for bigger picture of illustration. Bold, appealing black and white drawings, full-page and half-page, appear throughout the six-chapter story. A song about Jumping Johnny and his mule going to fetch the doctor is printed in the back. The story says that people "still tell tall tales about him, tales that have never been in books." To hear them, you have to go stay in the mountains and listen to the older folks tell tales and sing songs.

Jumping Johnny Outwits Skedaddle. Illus. Raymond Burns. Champaign, IL: Garrard Pub., 1971. 62 pp. American Folktales Series. "A young mountain boy's high-jumping mule proves its worth on a stormy night ride to fetch a doctor" (WorldCat).

Lester and his Hound Pup. New York: Hastings, 1960. Illus. Joan Balfour Payne. 45 pp. "Tells of a mountain boy's encounters with cruel Mr. Barker when he rescues two dogs that Barker has ill-treated." Lester's father is a foxhound breeder. This story appears as "Old Ben Bailey Meets his Match" in It Happened in No-End Hollow.

Let's Play and Sing. Illus. William Dugan. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958. Music by Thomasina Weber. 32 pp. Twelve children's singing games and songs, with music, words and simple instructions. Includes "Gallop Gallop," "Little Mouse," "Choo-Choo," "I Like to Hop" and "Bluebird, Bluebird."

Like the Wise Men—A Christmas Cantata, 1925. The only play written by Justus. Listed with music by Ira B. Wilson and copyright renewed by Lorenz Pub Co. at Red Rooster's colorful cover

Little Red Rooster Learns to Crow. Illus. Katherine Evans. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1954. N. pag. For beginning readers. Little Red Rooster tries to fly and crow like Big Red Rooster. Although Big Red Rooster gives encouragement, Little RR is ashamed and goes away. He tries to imitate the appealing sounds of a duck with ducklings, a goose with goslings, and Old Mother Turkey with little turkeys. As he can't quack or honk or gobble, but only say "Cock, cock, cock" and scare the young birds, he becomes more lonesome and ashamed, and gets lost in a wheat field. The crowing of Big Red Rooster helps him find his way back to the chicken yard, where he flies on a fence post and crows, proud that he has learned what to do in the end. (I read it at ETSU, 10/08/07.) An online bookseller (source of the image at left) notes that the 31-page book is "brightly illustrated throughout."

Lizzie. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1944. 62 pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. Includes music for folk songs that Justus says are from her own Tennessee collection. "Still a very appealing little book about the friendship between 'Log Cabin Lizzie' and an 'outlander' girl" (note from bookseller at

Luck for Little Lihu. Illus. Frederick T. Chapman. New York: Aladdin Books, 1950. 112 pp. This story was reprinted in It happened in No-End Hollow (see above). For this book Justus was awarded the Boys' Club Award, 1950.

Lucky Penny. Illus. Frederick T. Chapman. New York: Aladdin, 1951. 80 pp. Dedicated "Once again, to the children of Summerfield." One line drawing per chapter, with a title-page drawing of the lively hound dog, Snapper, carrying in its mouth the hat that appears in the last chapter.

The Mail Wagon Mystery. Illus. Lucia Patton. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1940. 210 pp. with color plates. WorldCat also lists a microform edition (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317), SOL MN02276.03 TKN).

Mary Ellen. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1947. 93 pp. See also Here Comes Mary Ellen.

Mr. Songcatcher and Company. Illus. Howard Simon. New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1940. 237 pp. "Mr. Songcatcher Comes By" is a chapter reprinted in Smoky Mountain Sampler. It depicts a ballad collector's visit to the Purdys' double log cabin halfway up Near-Side-And-Far. Joe, who lives with his grandparents, gets their permission to go traveling with the friendly man who stays overnight with them. Joe's Grandpaw plays the tune on his violin and remembers only one verse of the words to "The Swapping Song." Joe wants to help find the rest of it himself, as well as visiting his relatives and seeing a little more of the world. See illustration from Smoky Mountain Sampler at Foolish Jack/Swapping Song link.

My Lord and I. Tracy City, TN: M. Justus, Bireline, 1980. 40 pp. Poems, including "Sharing" and "Miracle." Justus was quoted as saying this is a devotional book, her only book for adults, published when she was past eighty years old. "The devotionals in that book 'contain my whole philosophy of life,' she says. It was from this small volume Monty Wanamaker, gifted Monteagle artist, selected a pair of inspirational poems for notepaper he had designed. One was 'Sharing.' The other, 'Miracle,' describes the author's feelings when, her strength completely drained, she finds renewed energy to go on. The slim devotional book was reprinted recently by a civic club in Valdosta, Ga., which produced the special edition for those in nursing homes, hospitals and prisons." (see Dykes and Watley below, pp. 3, 5).

Nancy of Apple Tree Hill. Illus. Lucia Patton. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1942. 257 pp. Includes apple pies and music "Sing a little hoe down Jordon" on end papers.

Near-Side-and-Far. Illus. Grace Mallon. Los Angeles: Suttonhouse, 1936. 148 pp. For this book Justus was awarded the Julia Ellsworth Ford Prize, 1936. Mary Ellen in this book appeared later in Here Comes Mary Ellen.

New Boy in School. Illus. Joan Balfour Payne. New York: Hastings House, 1963. 56 pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. Lennie Lane adjusts to his family's move from Newton, Louisiana to Nashville, Tennessee, where he attends an integrated school. He makes friends by sharing a folk song for a talent show. Although not set in the mountains, the story was inspired by Justus' own experiences and observations of discrimination. The book is dedicated to Scott Bates's children; see notes below about Robin Bates's blog post "My Memories of a Mountain Writer." George Brosi recalls that Justus called this one of her favorite books (conversation with Brosi June 15, 2006). See details (including lyrics of a folk song used in the story, "I Wish I was an Apple") in "A Greater Fairness: May Justus as Popular Educator," by George Loveland. A New Home for Billy is also about integration. This story, with two illustrations, is 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, 2006). For two illustrations, and discussion of both these books about racial integration, see also AppLit's essay on May Justus and Richard Chase.

A New Home for Billy. Illus. Joan Balfour Payne. New York: Hastings House, 1966. 57 pp. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration. Billy lives in a crowded, grimy city building ironically called Sunny Side Apartments. His mother works on an old sewing machine in their one-room apartment. Although Billy isn't allowed to play in the street, his friend is injured while doing so. Billy's hard-working parents decide to move away from the pollution and other dangers even though they can't afford a nice house in the suburbs and some neighborhoods are not integrated. They rent a much-neglected house in the suburbs, which seems like paradise to Billy because of the space and yards, trees and swings. Rain and an injury prevent Billy's painter father from painting the house, but when both black and white neighbors realize that the house finally has tenants that aren't "trash," they help with the painting and Billy has new friends of both races. See New Boy in School, above, for another story about integration. Kirkus review: "Billy is a six year old Negro boy whose parents live in a small, dark, dreary apartment in a tenement and who would like to be able to move to a house with a yard. Their problems, while somewhat simplified for the beginning reader, are presented realistically and sympathetically. When Billy's best friend started playing in the streets and was hurt by a car, Billy's parents were determined to move. Billy went with his father to look at houses, and the first place they liked was refused to them because of their color. Eventually they found a rundown house with a large yard and a cooperative owner.... The neighbors became impressed and finally pitched in to help finish the job. Simple, satisfying, and easy to read. (Aug. 29, 1966).

Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match. Parsippany, NJ: Celebration Press, 1997. Developmental Reading Assessment series, Level 40. Listed as a large print book in WorldCat. See It Happened in No-End Hollow, above, and reprints of this story below.

The Other Side of the Mountain. Illus. Mabel Pugh. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. Rpt. 1935. 149 pp. Also Chicago: E. M. Hale, 1930, 1931. Rpt. Illus. Berkeley Williams. New York: Hastings, 1957. Click on thumbnail for larger illustration by Williams of Glory with morning glory vines, cleaning room for Miss Penny's visit. . This novel focuses on Glory and the first year she gets to go to the one-room school, which is a three-mile walk down the mountain. She lives in a cabin with her widowed mother, her Other Side of the Mountain covergrumpy but good-hearted grandfather, and her older brother Matt, who teases sometimes but usually shares everything. Many details of their frugal farm life are described, such as making baskets to sell, borrowing necessities from the neighbors because stores are so far away, attending a party when neighbors are finishing off a big batch of molasses, and sharing traditional ballads and rhymes. Matt is the only one in the household who can read until Glory eagerly begins learning at school. Learning to play and share with friends and adjusting to the discipline of the strict schoolmaster are as important as the book learning Glory acquires at school. Acts of generosity are illustrated several times, especially Glory's sacrifice when she lets her friend Dovie wear her new shoes and recite the verses that Glory's mother had taught her, for a special recitation day at school. Glory and Matt fend for themselves overnight when a flash flood in their creek keeps the adults away from home and destroys their potato crop. Their financial hardships are relieved when Miss Penny, the former schoolteacher who had named Glory after the morning glory, comes from Memphis to stay in their little loft room for a time, sharing her books and other riches as well as paying for her board. Glory gives up her chance to visit Miss Penny in Memphis, keeping the money that would have paid for her Christmas trip to buy a horse for her aging grandfather, but later Glory is invited to the city and looks forward to finally seeing the other side of the mountain.

Peddler's Pack. New York: Holt, 1957. 95 pp. Poems and prose. See later, longer edition The Complete Peddler's Pack.

Peter Pocket: A Little Boy of the Cumberland Mountains. Illus. Mabel Pugh. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Page, 1927. 127 pp.
This is Justus' first book, about "a young boy's life in the Cumberland Mountains during the early part of this century."
Peter Pocket and his Pickle Pup illustration by Jean Tamburine

Peter Pocket and his Pickle Pup. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, 1953. 141 pp. Click on thumbnail at left for larger image.

Peter Pocket's Book, including Peter Pocket and Peter Pocket's Luck. Illus. Mabel Pugh. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran,1934. 127 & 118 pp. Junior Books. Rpt. Doubleday, 1938.

Peter Pocket's Luck. Illus. Mabel Pugh. 1st ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran,1930 118 pp. "Peter Pocket, who believes there's nothing too good to be true, is a little orphan fiddler in a Tennessee mountain community and is in charge of the Song-Maker's legacy of ballads" (WorldCat).

[See also Peter Pocket in Surprise for Peter Pocket below, the Thanksgiving story in Holidays in No-End Hollow, and "Peter Pocket's Christmas" below.]

The Right House for Rowdy. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1960. 62 pp. The story is dedicated to boys and girls who had asked Justus for another dog story. It describes the life of nine-year-old Tib Turner and his parents, a farm family living in a two-room cabin with an open dogtrot, "halfway up No-End Hollow" (11). In early November, Rowdy is approaching his first winter and the adults expect him to stay outside as a watch dog. During the fall vacation when children help with the late harvest, Tib and his father plan to build a doghouse. They sharpen their ax on the grindstone in order to cut lumber, but their very old neighbor Uncle Josh, borrows the ax and delays their building. When Rowdy sleeps in the barn one night, he is blamed for the escape of the cow and mule, but he herds them home the next day. Next they try to make him cozy in a hollow log beehive but it rolls down the mountain with pup inside. Tib and his father laugh at the tall tale when Uncle Josh tells a version of "The Snake-Bit Hoe Handle," claiming he had built a corn crib from his hoe handle swollen by a copperhead bite, and that it shrank into a doghouse after he coated it with turpentine. In the end, Josh surprises Tib and Rowdy by refurbishing the same doghouse from his story, which he had saved since his dog died. (See Eben and the Rattlesnake for another version of the tall tale.)

Sammy. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Junior Literary Guild/Albert Whitman, 1946. 47 pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. Sammy longs for new clothes for the Last Day of School program, but the hard-working Pennybackers don't make much cash with their crops. When Mr. Songcatcher comes along, Sammy earns two dollars singing all the verses to "There Was a Little Tree." His parents insist that he needs shoes most, but after the kind man leaves, Sammy finds enough additional money in his pocket to buy a shirt and britches, too. Some of the pencil drawings are colored. Mellenger E. Henry contributed his version of the folk song that is included in the story.

Smoky Mountain Sampler. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Abingdon, 1962. 127 pp. Seven stories previously published in other books by Justus: "Dogwood Winter" - see Dixie Decides above, "The Meeting of the Kin" - see The House in No-End Hollow, "How Honey Jane Rode to the Rescue" from Honey Jane, "The Outlander Teacher" from Cabin on Kettle Creek, "Mr. Songcatcher Comes By" from Mr. Songcatcher and Company. (See illustration of songcatcher at Foolish Jack/Swapping Song link). Several of the stories are about Glory and Matt from The Other Side of the Mountain and other novels. In "The Black Cat" from Bluebird, Fly Up!, Matt and his friend try dying a gray cat black to appease demanding Aunt Rhody after her black cat runs away during one of her turns staying with Matt's family. "Company for Christmas" from Cabin on Kettle Creek is about sharing the little they have with unexpected Christmas Eve visitors when a young family gets stranded on the mountain in the year that Matt and Glory have to stay home to help nurse their ailing grandfather.

Illustration at right by Jean Tamburine from "The Meeting of the Kin" in Smoky Mountain Sampler, p. 27.

Step Along and Jerry Jake. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1942. 62. pp. Digital copy available at HathiTrust Digital Library. See also Hurrah for Jerry Jake and Jerry Jake Carries On.

Surprise for Perky Pup. Illus. Mimi Korach. Champaign, IL: Garrard Pub., 1971. 39 pp. for early readers. "When he is hit on the head while sleeping, Perky Pup becomes convinced that someone doesn't like him and soon has all the other dogs roaring in sympathy." He thought he had no enemies so "Perky Pup's feelings hurt more than his head" (p. 12). Varied dogs named Old Hound Trap, Little Hound Trigger, Hurry, and Snap, with many more, come running when he howls. People start wondering what the noise is. Old Sol is the wise, oldest dog in the neighborhood. While he interrogates the group of dogs, an apple falls from the tree into their circle, like the one that hit Perky Pup. He is very happy when he realizes no one has been unkind. When all the people bring the dogcatcher, fearing mad dogs, the dogs are playing together. The illustrations are lively, humorous sketches of groups of dogs and people in bright green, blue and brown, with thick black outlines. (read at ETSU, 10/08/07) Also produced as one sound cassette, 1974. A Georgetown Studios production.

Surprise for Peter Pocket. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt,1955. 101 pp. Click on thumbnail for larger illustration. See earlier Peter Pocket books under P above. Peter is an orphan taken in by a kind granny in a small cabin. In this story she gives him the box of songs left to him by his father, an outlander song-maker, and Peter shares the songs at school. He and Pickle Pup entertain the other children to earn the persimmons Peter craves, although eating too many gives him a stomach ache. A substitute teacher from New York turns out to be a friend of Peter's father. After Peter says he can't leave Granny to live with someone else, the friend takes his father's poems and gets them published so that Peter and Granny will have money to make their lives more comfortable.

Susie. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1947. 48 pp. Includes the musical score and words for "Lazy Lady," a humorous song about having one's animals stolen, and lots of information on the healing uses of herbs. Susie Linders, age 10, helps her mother gather and prepare herbs on Little Twin Mountain. Mammy has wisdom but no schooling. Susie and her twin brothers dread the Spring Tea that she makes everyone take to prevent or cure ailments. Susie is not as beautiful as other girls but she would rather romp and run wild and free as the wind than roll her hair on cornstalks or wear a bonnet. When the peddler Step-Along spends the night, he and Pappy trade stories and they sing to Pappy's fiddle and tell riddles. Susie also makes sorghum molasses candy. Step-Along's cold turns into a more serious illness with rheumatism. In return for their care of him, he gives each person a gift that this poorest of families couldn't afford from his pack.Tale of a Pig cover

Tale of a Pig. Illus. Frank Aloise. New York: Abingdon, 1963. N. pag. "Adaptation of an American folk song. Contains the song, arr. for voice and piano, as well as the unacc. melody." About a little woman who dances jigs and a prize-winning little pig. The song is also in Barney, Get Your Banjo and The Complete Peddler's Pack.

Tales from Near-Side and Far. Illus. Herman B. Vestal. Champaign, IL: Garrard Pub., 1970. 63 pp. Introduced by the publisher, like others in this series, as "American Folk Tales [that] are colorful tales of regional origin full of the local flavor and grass roots humor of special people and places." These are not wonder tales but four realistic family tales with traces of folklore roots. More details, and illustration of Jumping Johnny as a baby,  at AppLit's Folktale Picture Book Bibliography.

Then Came Mr. Billy Barker. Illus. Joan Balfour Payne. New York: Hastings House, 1959. 44 pp. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration. The animal characters get along fine in homes they like until Mr. Barker moves in with a gun and an ax, and cultivates some of their land. The animals have a meeting to figure out how to get rid of him. Slippy Coon decides secretly that he might want Mr. Barker to stay and grow delicious green corn to steal, so he persuades Snoopy Possum not to destroy the garden. Mr. Barker is proud of his crops, especially the corn, but Slippy Coon steals a bag full for himself. Snoopy is not as "shrewd and clever" as Slippy, but he has a spy glass that an outlander had dropped. He spies Slippy sneaking away with corn and then sees Mr. Barker guarding his corn with a gun, but Slippy has a narrow escape. When the coast is clear, Snoopy steals a bag of corn. Slippy calls another meeting, in which old Grandfather Terrapin advises moving slowly. Mr. Barker, also shrewd and clever, makes a scarecrow that bewilders Snoopy, who thinks the man has a twin. Running away in fright, Snoopy discovers a pile of logs on the other side of Big Log Mountain, Mr. Barker's old home in the woods where wild foods grow. He persuades his friends to move there, and everyone laughs in the end because animals and human are happy to be rid of each other. Black and white drawings culminate in a final double-page scene of the animals looking down on the cabin and garden.Toby Has a Dog cover

Tobias Zoekt Plezier. Trans. Han G. Hoekstra. Illus. Sue D'Avignon. Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1963. 24 pp.

Toby Has a Dog. Illus. Sanford Tousey. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1949. 28 pp. An online bookseller says it's a 32-page picture book and notes, "Bright colors and detailed line drawings in black and white make this an attractive book. A warm story of a boy and his dog and their relationship." Toby and the dog Hunkydory later appear in the Little Golden Books Fun for Hunkydory and Whoop-ee, Hunkydory!

Use Your Head, Hildy. New York: Henry Holt, 1956. 95 pp. In this coming of age story, as in Jerry Jake Carries On and other stories, a growing child matures through recognizing her interdependence with the larger society. A young girl takes over the role of mother and woman of the house to an infant, two younger siblings and her father while her mother goes away for a month to care for her sick sister. She sells a rug that she has woven, delighted that she finally has the five dollars she will need for a “floweredy dress” she has wanted for a long time. She then mistakenly cooks her father’s seed corn for dinner, all the seed he had saved for next year’s crop. She uses her five dollars to buy a feast for the family and new seed corn for her father, sacrificing her dress, but leaving the family stronger. (Notes by George Loveland from article on Justus in AppLit.) See the story with the same title in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Whoop-ee, Hunkydory! Illus. E. F. Vaughan. Racine, WI: Whitman,1952. N. pag. "When the hound dog puppy named Hunkydory tries to catch a rabbit, he finds that he can not run fast enough. He asks the donkey Molasses to teach him to run fast" (note from bookseller at See also Fun for Hunkydory.

Winds A'Blowing. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Abingdon, 1961. 79 pp. Poem "Wind A'Blowing" reprinted in Language Arts Tutorial Activity. Duke University/Durham Public Schools Partners for Success tutoring program, 1998. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration from "My Mother's Music." Poems on subjects such as nature, seasons, childhood memories, and fairy lore. The title poem personifies the winds from different directions and different seasons. Some of the poems depict mountain life, such as:

The Wonderful School. Illus. Hilde Hoffmann. New York: Golden, 1969. Rpt. 1972. Click on thumbnail at left to enlarge illustration. This Little Golden Book contains a poem about a teacher who always has fun with her very small pupils. "There once was a very unusual school / That had for its teacher Miss Tillie O'Toole. / She taught all her lessons in riddles and rhyme, / And those who learned quickest were given a dime." Short rhyming lessons are given through to the end: "I'm sure there was never a happier school / Than the one that was taught by Miss Tillie O'Toole." The pictures depict multicultural children exploring a city setting like New York City, in colorful child-like drawings. Accounts of May Justus by people who knew her and her writings about teaching indicate that this story reflects her own methods of providing fun and active learning experiences for children. For example, see blog posts by Robin Bates, listed below.

You're Sure Silly, Billy! Illus. Herman B Vestal. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing, 1972. 63 pp. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration. Also Don Mills, Ont.: Nelson Venture Books, Level 2, 1972. Two stories for early readers. Billy gets in trouble when he misunderstands his instructions. First he lets a pig loose and has to chase it around town while it wreaks havoc with several pedestrians. In the second tale, he tends the bean pot over the fire while his mother is away, but each time he checks the beans, he follows her instructions to put in a pinch of salt, causing disaster when he and his parents taste them at dinner. In both stories Billy is forgiven for his mistakes. See also "Don't be a Silly-Billy" in It Happened in No-End Hollow. For similar folktales, see "Jack and the King's Girl" and "Jack's First Job" (known as "Lazy Jack" in Britain).

Other Publications and Reprints by May Justus

Note: HathiTrust Digital Library has digitized some books by May Justus. WorldCat lists these ebooks and they are viewable at the HathiTrust site.

"Dress of Spring." and "Footwear." Justus poems in The Year Around: Poems for Children. Ed. Alice Isabel Hazeltine and Elva S. Smith. Illus. Paula Hutchison. New York: Abingdon Press, 1956. In Granger Index Reprint Series, 1973. This book includes many major poets back to Song of Solomon ("Winter is Past"), Shakespeare ("Flowers of Middle Summer"), and Wordsworth ("Written in March").

"Easter Surprise." Poem inside front cover of Children's Activities For Home and School March 1951. Child Training Association magazine.

Elves, Fairies and Gnomes. Ed. Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illus. Rosekrans Hoffman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980 ."This selection of seventeen poems, stanzas, or prose lines on the fairy people is a collection of works from several poets such as Annette Wynne, Rachel Field, May Justus, Thomas Hood, Ivy O. Eastwick, Barbara Hales, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Solveig Paulson Russel, Christopher Morley, Mary Howitt, Hilda Conkling, and Sir James M. Barrie.... The book is separated into poems about elves and poems about fairies and the styles vary from haikus and narrative forms to lymricks."

"Footwear." See "Dress of Spring" above.

"Good Neighbors." Poem about a woman and a mouse living in the same house. In Read-aloud Rhymes for the Very Young. Ed. Jack Prelutsky. Illus. Marc T. Brown. New York: A. Knopf, 1986. p. 24.

"Growing Up in the Smoky Mountains." The Appalachian South, vol. 2 (Fall/Winter 1967): p. 16.

"Helpful Suggestions." The Progressive Teacher and Southwestern School Journal, vol. 24 (Sept. 1918): p. 24. Short essay on getting students interested in school work through play, such as playing "Who's Who" for a history lesson, creative uses of maps in geography, and creating illustrations for their own writing. "Children do not hate study; they hate drudgery. Play teaches more easily and impressively."

"I See a Gleam of Glory." In Vaughan, James D., et al. Victory Voices: For Sunday-Schools, Singing-Schools, Revivals, Conventions and General Use in Christian Work and Worship. Lawrenceburg, TN: J. D. Vaughan, 1931. Musical score. Eddie L. Faircloth is presumably the composer for Justus' hymn.

"Jessica Jane." Poem reprinted in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. Ed. Jack Prelutsky. Illus. Arnold Lobel. New York: Random House, 1983. "More than 550 poems by American, English, and anonymous authors." A library catalog description lists ""The Rain Has Silver Sandals" in the same volume.

"Lickety Lick." Poems to Read to the Very Young. Selected by Josette Frank. Illus. Dagmar Wilson. NY: Random House, 1977. Poem about children licking "The beautiful frosting / That Mother will make / To trim up the wonderful / Company cake!" I've seen a page copied in Pinterest with this poem, a colorful illustration of children licking cake mix bowls, and "Mix a Pancake" by Christina Rossetti under Justus' poem. I've also seen a discussion board comment in which this was identified as one of a 21st-century boy's favorite poems. (A well-known earlier version of this book was illustrated by Eloise Wilkins but Justus is not in that edition.)

"Listen and Wait for the Master." In Hymns of Praise: For Sunday School Anniversaries. Melbourne: Allan & Co. Pty Ltd, 1942. Musical score listed as juvenile works. Bruce Kennedy is presumably the composer listed with Justus' hymn in WorldCat.

"Living with Jesus." In Good Tidings: A Superior Collection of Gospel Songs for the Church, Sunday-School and Singing Classes. Abilene, TX: Churchmen's Press, 1926. Musical score. J. M. Henson is presumably the composer listed with Justus' hymn.

"Luck for Hallowe'en." Poem. See "Remember September" below.

May Justus: The Carawan Recordings. Knoxville, TN: Jubilee Community Arts, 2011. Sound recording. "Children's author May Justus performs ballads and folk songs, stories, children's songs and games remembered from her childhood in Cocke County. From field recordings made by Guy Carawan in 1953 and 1961 with notes by Guy Carawan, May Justus and Bene Scanlon Cox." Contents and sample songs on the Jubilee web site. Includes "The Riddle Song" and "Barbara Allen." See Felts article, below, for background on this CD.

"Merry-go-round." In Huck, Charlotte S, William A. Jenkins, Wilma J. Pyle, and Albert J. Pucci. The World's so Big. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1971. "A collection of 51 poems by various authors about various things found in the world, such as animals, friends, autumn leaves, etc."

"Miracle." Poem. See Dykes and Watley article, below, for reprint.

New Boy in School. Story 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, 2006. In Part 8 on Censorship and Values.

"Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match." From It Happened in No-End Hollow (see above). Included as a folk tale in Bridges. Scott, Foresman Reading Systems. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1970, pp. 73-79, and 1972. Also in Spinners by William K. Durr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981. Level I, grade 3. Also in kit Developmental Reading Assessment. Parsippany, NJ: Celebration Press, 1997 and 2002-2004. See Biskin, in References below for study of moral dilemmas in this and other stories. See also Lester and his Hound Pup.

"Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match." In Beaver, Joetta, and Joetta Beaver. Developmental Reading Assessment: Grades K-3. Parsippany, NJ: Celebration Press, 2001. "Gives K-3 teachers a range of tools to help monitor literacy behavior continuously as they teach, as well as conduct periodic assessments for accountability. Intended to guide teachers' ongoing observations of children's progress within a literature-based reading program."

"Peter Pocket's Christmas." In Harper, Wilhelmina. Brownie of the Circus and Other Stories of Today. Philadelphia: Mckay, 1941. 108 pp.

"The Rain Has Silver Sandals." In Prelutsky, Jack, and Arnold Lobel. The Walker Book of Poetry for Children. London: Walker Books, 1993. p. 29.

"Remember September" and "Luck for Hallowe'en." Autumn Poems. Ed. Leland B. Jacobs and Stina Nagel. Champaign, Ill: Garrard Pub., 1968. "A collection of poems about the end of summer and the many moods, holidays, and activities of Autumn." Many famous poets are included, such as Robert Frost, Robert Louis Stevenson, and David McCord.

"The Singing Bird." Poem reprinted in Skip Across the Ocean: Nursery Rhymes from Around the World. Ed. Floella Benjamin. Illus. Sheila Moxley. New York: Orchard Books, 1995, pp. 26-27. These pages with colorful illustrations in the book's Nature section are available in Google Books (5/5/12).

"Somewhere." In Radio Specials and Spirituals: A Collection of Carefully Selected Sacred Songs and Negro Spirituals Especially Adapted for Use in Radio Broadcasts, Concert Programs, Evangelistic Work. Dallas, TX: Stamps Quartet Music Co., 1948. Musical score. R. W. Barnette is presumably the composer listed with Justus' hymn in WorldCat.

"The Thanksgiving Play." The Progressive Teacher and Southwestern School Journal, vol. 24 (Nov. 1918): p. 25. Available in Google Books (accessed 7/8/17). A very brief script in which three children each say a verse about the harvest and all say a verse of thanks to "Dear Father."

"Treasure Hunting" and "When It Rains." In Broccoli and Bubble Gum. Ed. Jeffrey Copeland. Illus. Greg Nemec and Randy Messes. Logan, IA: Perfection Form, 1985. 84 pp. Poems for children by a variety of poets, including "My Shadow" by R. L. Stevenson, "Jump-Jump-Jump" by Kate Greenaway, and "Spaghetti!" by Jack Prelutsky.

“Weather Rhymes.” Poems reprinted in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Ed. Sandra L. Ballard and Patricia L. Hudson. Univ. Press of KY, 2003. A biography and list of primary and secondary sources are given for each of the 105 authors in this anthology. See also Thematic Table of Contents for Listen Here in AppLit.

"When It Rains." See "Treasure Hunting" above.

"When the Savior Passes By." In Church of God Songs: For Church, Family and Religious Worship. Cleveland, Tenn: Church of God Publishing House, 1920. Musical score. 157 hymns. J. M. Henson is presumably the composer listed with Justus' hymn. Also listed in Church of God Songs No. 3: A Choice Collection of Singable Gospel Songs, for All Religious Services. Cleveland, Tenn: Church of God Publishing House, 191-?.

"Wind A'Blowing." Poem reprinted in Language Arts Tutorial Activity. Duke University/Durham Public Schools Partners for Success tutoring program, 1998.

"Wind A'Blowing." In Ward, Winifred. Stories to Dramatize. Anchorage, KY: Children's Theatre Press, 1952. 389 pp. "Anthology of short stories which can be easily dramatized."

"Winds-a-blowing." In Bates, Robin. "My Memories of a Mountain Writer." Better Living through Beowulf. 17 Oct. 2011. This blog post by a writer who knew Justus in childhood reprints this poem. See below for notes on other observations in this essay.

"Winds-a-blowing." In Hale, Jeanne, and Nora E. Beust. Wide, Wonderful World. Eau Claire, WI: E. M. Hale, 1958.

"The Wish Book Dress." In Gruenberg, Sidonie M, and James Lewicki. All Kinds of Courage: Stories About Boys and Girls of Yesterday and Today. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962. "Thirty-nine short stories by such authors as Armstrong Sperry, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Cornelia Meigs, Eric Kelly, Pearl Buck, and Elizabeth Yates, describing the courage to give up a beloved possession, to defend a classmate before taunting peers, or to admit a wrong without making excuses." 

"With My Savior through the Shadows." In Rodeheaver, Homer A, and Chas H. Gabriel. Victorious Service Songs: Rodeheaver's Combination Song Book for All Services. Chicago: Rodeheaver Co, 1925. Downloadable musical score. Chas. H. Gabriel is presumably the composer listed with Justus' hymn in WorldCat.

"You're Sure a Silly, Billy." In Nelson Venture Books 2 by John McInnes, Wayne Carley, Leland B. Jacobs, Emily Hearn, Kathy Darling, Donna L. Pape, Elaine M. Willoughby, Irwin Shapiro, May Justus, Ida M. McIntyre, Jane W. Watson, and Joseph Banel. 20 vols. Toronto: Nelson, 1972. 

Links, Recordings, and Background References on May Justus

"Aldren A(uld) Watson." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web (accessed 7/7/17). Biographical notes on illustrator (b. 1917) of Dixie Decides by Justus.

Anderson, Adrienne W. Firefighter, Read Me a Book! Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1993. Includes recommendation of poem "Jessica Jane" by Justus in activities for young children.

Bates, Robin. "Can Donne Help Us Cope with Death?" Better Living through Beowulf, 12 Nov. 2014. Accessed 7/10/17. Bates includes this memory: "A children’s book writer than [sic] I knew as a child, the Appalachian author May Justus, told me that she occasionally stuck difficult words into books intended for very young children (such as The Wonderful School of Miss Tillie O’Toole) because they find it to be an invigorating game." This blog post also discusses The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown in relation to dealing with death.

Bates, Robin. "My Memories of a Mountain Writer." Better Living through Beowulf, 17 Oct. 2011. Accessed 7/10/17. Justus' poem "Winds-a-blowing" and a photo of her reading to two children outdoors are reprinted in this blog post. Bates knew Justus in childhood and tells about how she and Vera McCampbell were two of the few white people to support Highlander Folk School's work with civil rights. The county couldn't fire Justus when she was an independent writer but they fired McCampbell and withheld her pension a year before her retirement. Bates calls the school where they came to teach in the 1920s "a John Dewey-inspired school for mountain children." Justus was "a remarkable Appalachian writer" who "lived simply in a tiny Tracy City." After the comments below about New Boy in School, Bates observes, "She lived the life of one who was grounded in what really mattered. As you can tell from her poem, she also had a wonderful imagination." Bates also refers to a feature article he wrote about Justus in the Winchester Herald Chronicle in 1975. 

Miss Justus’s book New Boy in School, about an African American child’s first day in a newly integrated school, was important at the time and won a national award. It has particular significance for me since it was dedicated to me and my brothers. As the children of liberals, we too faced tensions in our newly integrated school although, of course, nothing like that faced by black children. The book helped me put a frame around my experience.

Bates, Robin. "My Town's Desegregation Battles." Better Living through Beowulf, 20 Jan. 2014. Accessed 7/10/17. An illustration from A New Home for Billy is included, and a photo of a historic marker about Desegregation of Franklin County Schools. Robin Bates, whose father Scott Bates was a professor and a friend of May Justus, tells about a fiftieth reunion of people involved in a lawsuit in Sewanee, Tennessee, in which he was one of the child plaintiffs. He acknowledges that children in their college town had an easier transition than many children elsewhere. His friend Ronnie was the only black child in their school in the first year of integration, before they could make room for more children. Bates believes Justus based New Boy in School on these children that she knew, although he and Ronnie had experiences different from those in his book. Excerpts from his speech at the reunion are included, reflecting on historical changes that they weren't fully aware of as children of 11 and 12.

Battistelli, Paula W. English for the Masses: English Instruction at Nontraditional Educational Institutions. Ph.D. Thesis. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, 2009. Available online. Contains one paragraph on May Justus's descriptions of Grundy County's socioeconomic conditions and Highlander school (from Wigginton book).

Bernstein, Joanne E. "Minorities in Fiction for Young Children." Integrated Education 11.3 (1973): 34-37. Also available as ERIC item EJ080074. "Reports a study undertaken to analyze the ways in which the primary school experience is portrayed in stories for American children between the ages of three and seven, focusing on the roles of minority group members in the stories." Includes the observation that "May Justus writes of the dilemma of being the only black child in a class (New Boy in School)."

Biggers, Jeff. The United States of Appalachia. Shoemaker & Hoard, 2006. This groundbreaking book argues that Appalachia has been in the vanguard of many developments in American history, even though it has been severely misrepresented in mass media. The chapter "We Are All Appalachians" includes an overview of literary history, including discussion of Appalachia's influence on writers whose best-known works are not usually associated with the region, such as Pearl Buck and Francis Hodgson Burnett. May Justus is discussed along with Highlander's interracial programs on p. 188, which says "her chidren's books had gone far in providing a positive view of Appalachian cultures." New Boy in School is mentioned as "one of the nation's first children's books that dealt with the subject of school desegregation." Interviews and excerpts available through Biggers' web site. "Moving Mountains to Mine Coal," Biggers' radio commentary on NPR's Marketplace on Aug. 28, 2007, is available at this link.

Biskin, Donald S. and Kenneth Hoskisson. "An Experimental Test of the Effects of Structured Discussions of Moral Dilemmas Found in Children's Literature on Moral Reasoning." The Elementary School Journal, vol. 77, no. 5. (May 1977), pp. 407-416. Available online through library services such as JSTOR. "Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match" is one of 7 stories used in Experiment 1 of this study of fourth- and fifth-grade students in relation to Kohlberg's stages of moral development. All stories used in the study were from the reading series used by the Virginia Department of Education.  A later article by James Garrison and Kenneth Hoskisson: "Confirmation Bias in Predictive Reading." Reading Teacher, vol. 42, no. 7 (Mar 1989), pp. 482-86. Abstract: "Argues that confirming reading predictions emphasizes supporting evidence, while refuting predictions reinforces positive patterns of logic and scientific inquiry. Shows how teachers can change questions of confirmation to questions of refutation, using question examples about the story 'Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match.'"

Brook, Daniel. "Someday." Oxford American: A Magazine of the South Winter 2013. Online article dated Jan. 27, 2014 describes a visit to the ruins of Highlander Folk School with Scott Bates, an 89-year-old professor who died in late 2013. The campus outside Monteagle, TN, still a site of pilgrimage for many progressive visitors, was destroyed and the organization that promoted desegregation and other civil rights causes later relocated to New Market. The article explains that May Justus and Vera Campbell, both teachers, had lived next to this site. In the late 1950s, Highlander was "the only desegregated place in the South,” according to Bates, and a court case accusing its supporters of Communism closed it down. "When the state cracked down on Highlander, the school board fired McCampbell. 'Everyone in Monteagle had her for first grade,' Bates recalled, but she lost all her friends after the red-baiting. 'They really killed her.' After she died, a mob of townspeople burned down her house for good measure."

Brown, Effie Christine. May Justus: A Bio-bibliography. Thesis. University of Tennessee, 1969.

Burns, Paul C., and Ruth Hines. "May Justus: Tennessee's Mountain Jewel." Elementary English, vol. 41 (October 1964): pp. 589-93.

Burrison, John A. "Transported Traditions: Transatlantic Foundations of Southern Folk Culture." Studies in the Literary Imagination, vol. 36, no. 2 (2003): pp. 1+. The Complete Peddler's Pack is cited in connection with "antique British children's games and associated rhymes...such as 'Green Gravel' and 'Three Dukes a-Riding,' [that] have survived more or less intact in the South, especially in Appalachia."

Carter, Vicki K. "The Singing Heart of Highlander Folk School." Justus is mentioned in article on Zilphia Horton, first wife of the school's founder, and her contributions to the curriculum, especially in the area of music and folk traditions.

Coats, Janelle Layne. History of Grundy County, TN Schools. Middle Tennessee State University. Summer 1988. Unpublished paper submitted for course Directed Individual Research in Education. Available online as pdf at Grundy County Tennessee History (accessed 7/9/17). The author interviewed May Justus on June 21, 1988. "Dr. Lillian Johnson of Memphis and a summer resident of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, took an interest in the school and in 1925 invited two teachers, May Justus and Vera McCampbell, to come and teach there.... The school had no lunchroom so Miss Justus decided that it would be good for the children to have a hot meal at lunch time. The students brought canned or fresh vegetables from home, and Miss Justus provided the meat which she cooked at her home next to the school. In the mornings the vegetables and meat were combined and cooked at school. The hot meal was served in tin cups on the students' desktops" (p. 42). For a newspaper clipping about Summerfield School that describes Justus, see Turner below. Another "Glance Back" column attached to this paper lists Justus as a teacher in 1936 (The Grundy County Herald 21 Apr. 1994).

Cobb, Alice. Interview with May Justus. n.d. Myles Horton Papers. Archives and Manuscripts Division. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison.

Coleman, Evelyn. Circle of Fire. American Girl History Mystery series, no. 14. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications, 2001. Popular fiction for children: "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." In chap. II, 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.

Commire, Anne. Something About the Author. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale Research, 1971.

Dykes, Donna and Thelma Watley. "Women of Grundy: May Justus." The Pathfinder, vol. III, no. 3 (1998): pp. 3-7. Linked in Grundy County Tennessee History. Grundy County Historical Society. Parts of the article were reprinted from The Grundy County Herald (no date given, but the article quotes Justus and says she will be 88 on May 12, at a point when she had lived in Summerfield 61 years). Justus' short poem "Miracle" is reprinted on p. 7. This article surveys Justus' life and works, beginning with details on The Complete Peddler's Pack, "probably the best known, certainly the one she's most pleased with" (p. 3). Reflecting on coming to Summerfield to be principal of the school 61 years earlier, Justus said, "I came for a year, fell in love with the community, and have lived here in my little gray house ever since" (p. 3). Her house, the oldest in the town, is described in detail, including the attic where she created a library for local children. She said her publishers came to visit and donated lots of classic and modern books. She told of a recent visitor: "'How happy I was to climb those steep stairs to the library every Friday afternoon and get a book or two which I could read at home over the weekend,' she remembers her guest saying" (p. 4). Justus paid tribute to a nurse and neighbors who took care of her, including some former pupils, after she had a heart attack and had to watch her diet and blood pressure. She enjoyed letters and visitors from all over the world. "In 1978, May began work on what she said would be her last book, a volume of children's poems. 'I've written that last storybook,' she said then. 'My first love was not stories. My first love was poetry'" (p. 5). She had vowed not to write any more but still corresponded with former students and readers whom she called her children. When she taught in a small community outside Monteagle in her early life, she and her pupils enjoyed the "school soup pot" she started during the Great Depression. They also made honeysuckle baskets and sold them as far away as New York City. Mrs. Thelma Watley, a former pupil, remembered that May made the soup, took children's wet socks home to wash them, and took sick children to a doctor in Sewanee who did not accept payment. Watley returned to the mountains after retirement and took care of Justus daily for 17 years.

       May spent a year in 1928 studying at UT Knoxville where her work received the encouragement of folklorist Edwin Kirkland. He told May she was valuable both as collector, and as source of folk material.
       "I was product of a culture, and that culture was my very life," she remarked several years ago. "I write out of my own heart, my own life. All I do is start remembering. I'm just remembering."
        "I give God the credit for the talent I have. What you are is God's gift. What you do with it is your gift to God." (p. 6)

Egerton, John. Shades of Gray: Dispatches from the Modern South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991. In a chapter on "The Trial of Highlander Folk School," Scott Bates, a French professor who testified on behalf of Highlander, remembers Justus as "valiant, courageous" in her stand in defense of the school, while others in the community supported the school but did not speak out publicly (p. 71). Justus was 80 when this book was written, living in a house near the old Highlander property. Information about her life and her statements about following her Christian conscience to defend the school and associate with African Americans, disregarding public condemnation, appear on pp. 64-66. She said that a church member recognized her as a Christian and asked her not to resign from the church, that former students never turned against her. "They have come to be my family, the only children God ever gave me. I'm devoted to them, and they to me. Some of them are in their sixties now" (p. 65). She said that the Highlander trial was about racism and was caused by the upper class, not the poorer citizens of Grundy County.

"(Evangel) Allena Champlin Best." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003. Web (accessed 7/7/17). Biographical notes on the illustrator (1892-1974) of two of Justus' books. Her pseudonym (as listed above) was Erick Berry.

Felts, Susannah. "Bright Beads on a Thread." Chapter 16: A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers, and Passersby. Humanities Tennessee, 28 June 2012. Online article with photos surveying Justus' life and work, including background on the Carawan CD called May Justus (see below).

Garrison, James W. and Kenneth Hoskisson. "Confirmation Bias in Predictive Reading." The Reading Teacher 22 (July 1989): 118-25. Available through library services such as JSTOR. Also available as ERIC item EJ385149. Abstract: "Argues that confirming reading predictions emphasizes supporting evidence, while refuting predictions reinforces positive patterns of logic and scientific inquiry. Shows how teachers can change questions of confirmation to questions of refutation, using question examples about the story 'Old Ben Bailey Meets His Match.'" See Biskin, above.

Glen, John M. Highlander: No Ordinary School: 1932-1962. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988. 2nd ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1996. Glen spoke to Justus about her "perspective on the school" (p. xi). A Bibliographical Essay in this book, on p. 383, notes that Justus contributed to oral history when she "described Highlander's relationship with the Monteagle community in a 1977 interview with Alice Cobb for the Appalachian Oral History Project at Mars Hill College." Lillian Johnson, a wealthy Memphis woman, recruited May Justus and Vera McCampbell to teach reading to children in 1925 and to teach adult night classes in Summerfield, but Johnson's "condescending view of the community" kept her ideas from being accepted so she donated her community center house to Horton and West for a school that became Highlander Folk School in 1932 (pp. 22-23). Justus, "Tracy City author," was on the board of directors in 1957 when a financial crisis was ended by restoring tax-exempt status (p. 216). Justus was school treasurer in 1957 during transactions that gave Myles Horton rights to school property as his home, and included indictments of staff members and a subpoena ordering records brought into court, as the Highlander case attracted national and international publicity (pp. 226, 234, 240). In 1960 Justus was secretary-treasurer when Highlander made plans to move to Jefferson County.

Grantmyre, Laura. "The Attacks On the Highlander Folk School: A White Supremacist Response to Anti-Racist Activism." A Senior Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of History in Candidacy for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in History. University of North Carolina at Asheville. Asheville, NC. 21 November 2003. Includes quotations by Justus when she helped to defend Highlander.

Grundy County Tennessee History. Grundy County Historical Society, N.d. Documents linked to this web site indicate that the Historical Society has genealogy material on May Justus, papers relating to her writings, and other items listed separately by author in this bibliography. "Favorite Poems" is an item listed with Justus' book titles that is not familiar to me. Tapes of some May Justus titles are also listed in what appears to be an archive catalog. Another similar catalog lists "Custard the Dragon" by May Justus as well as "Favorite Poems." There are typographical errors in the titles in these documents. One issue of The Pathfinder (vol. X, 2005, no. 1) announces plans for a museum, noting, "One collection already in progress is the books written by Grundy County author, May Justus. If you have any of these books that you would like to contribute, please let us know" (p. 1). In 2006 The Pathfinder printed a list of Justus books they were still seeking for a collection in The Root Cellar, and later said they had located all but two, and were planning to support a historical marker in memory of Justus. A document on Grundy County World War II deaths, with biographies of each person, includes this: "Pvt. Charles Clifton Thomas was born in 1916 to Henry and Martha Dickerson Thomas in Summerfield. He went to school in Summerfield to Ms. May Justus" (the same record was reprinted in The Pathfinder in 2012). A 2005 document on newspaper records contains a clipping showing the house where Justus lived with Vera McCampbell, in a sort of ad for "Pictures of Our Past." A 2005 "Grundy County History" by James L. Nicholson has one paragraph on Justus (p. 93). In 2007 The Pathfinder reported that William Ray Turner had displayed pictures and shared a May Justus video at a meeting. (These materials accessed 7/9/17).

Hanlon, Tina L. "May Justus and James Still: Appalachian Authors Serving Children and the Community." Presentation at Appalachian College Association workshop on The Folk School Concept in Appalachia, The Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, TN, June 23, 2006.

Hanlon, Tina L. "Vital Words and Actions in the Works of May Justus and Richard Chase." Paper presented at Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Radford University, Radford, VA, Mar. 18, 2005. Reprinted in AppLit.

HathiTrust Digital Library has digitized some books by May Justus and many other materials that contain her name (which in some cases are documents recommending children's books or ads for one of her books printed on another book). WorldCat lists these ebooks and they are viewable at the HathiTrust site.

Herrin, Roberta. "Appalachian Books for All Children." Now and Then, vol. 4.1 (1987): pp. 34-35. In special issue on Appalachian childhood. Full text available in ERIC, no. ED310896. Herrin assesses many books in various genres of the often-ignored field of Appalachian children's literature. Herrin parallels Justus's contributions to the realistic Appalachian novel for children, from the 1920s to the 1970s, with William O. Steele's writing of many popular historical novels. "The characters are flat, the stories are formulaic, but rich in mountain lore and culture....She is a local colorist.... Justus paves the way for the complex realistic fiction of writers such as Virginia Hamilton.

Herrin, Roberta T., and Sheila Quinn Oliver. Appalachian Children's Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010. This bibliography gives excerpts from reviews for many of Justus' books, as well as notes by Roberta Herrin on some individual books (pp. 136-43).

Highlander Folk School Audio Collection. Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1954-1960. Archival Material. 17 sound tape reels: 7 in., 1/2 in. tape. Recordings of folk music and of workshops on leadership, integration and voter registration conducted by the school, including a 1956 integration workshop with comments by Rosa Parks on Martin Luther King and the Montgomery bus boycott. Included are performances by Folk School students, Zilphia Horton, Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan, Jack Elliott, Frank Hamilton, and May Justus. Also, a radio interview (ca. 1960) with Septima Clark and school founder Myles Horton. "Founded at Summerfield, Tennessee in 1932 as an experimental education program for working-class adults. Promoted organized labor, agrarian and civil rights movements in the South, utilizing folk culture and combining social and educational activities. Charter revoked by the state of Tennessee in 1961, re-opened as the Highlander Research and Education Center later that year." (Information from WorldCat)

Highlander Research and Education Center Records, 1017-2005. Wisconsin Historical Images. Wisconsin Historical Society. Search "May Justus" for photos you can view online, such as a wonderful photo of "May Justus with Charis and Thorsten Horton" at Highlander. Photos with Eleanor Roosevelt are the same ones in the Civil Rights Digital Library (see Justus below).

"Howard Simon." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web (accessed 7 July 2017). Biographical notes on the illustrator (1903-79) of Mr. Songcatcher and Company by Justus.

"Jean Tamburine." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web (accessed 7 July 2017). Biographical notes on the illustrator (b. 1930) of a number of Justus' books.

Jervis, Oliver. "The Heritage Center: A Narrative." The Pathfinder: A Quarterly Publication of the Grundy County Historical Society, vol. 20, no. 3 (Sept. 2015): pp. 2-11. Available online as pdf at Grundy County Tennessee History (accessed 7/9/17). This article describing the heritage center tells about Lilian Johnson starting an agricultural cooperative in Summerfield in 1915. "She initiated the Grundy County Fair there, and brought May Justus and Vera McCampbell to Grundy County as teachers. The gallery contains a collection of the writings of May Justus, poet, storyteller and author of children’s books that impart wisdom from life in the Appalachian Mountains." Another paragraph tells about Lilian Johnson giving her property to Myles Horton and Don West in 1932 to develop the Highlander Folk School. A gallery on the school includes the involvement of May Justus and Vera McCampbell (p. 4).

Joan Balfour Payne Papers, 1953-1972. Abstract: The collection includes color separations and a dummy for Lester and his Hound Pup (1960) by May Justus, the story of a boy whose father is a fox-hound breeder. Notes: Bio/History: American author and illustrator born in 1923 in Natchez, Mississippi, Payne lived in Minneapolis and Mississippi. She often collaborated with her mother, Josephine Balfour Payne. Archive in the deGrummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi. Donated by Joan Balfour Payne and Jean Poindexter Colby, her editor.

Justus, May. 1898- . Civil Rights Digital Library. Highlander Folk School: A Photographic History collection includes "Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt shaking hands with Vera McCampbell and May Justus at the Highlander Folk School, Monteagle, Tennessee," 1957-59, and six other photos. Some photos include friends Myles Horton and Septima Clark.

Kirby, Rich. "Guy Carawan: Connecting People, Songs." The Daily Yonder. Center for Rural Strategies, 12 May 2015. A tribute to Carawan after his death. "He not only sang with people, he recorded them on a bulky Ampex reel-to-reel machine which he lugged to a lot of improbable places. The recordings you may have heard of hundreds of people singing at civil rights rallies were probably Guy’s, as are our recordings of ballad singer May Justus, storytelling moonshiner Hamper McBee, coal miner George Tucker, and the folks at Moving Star Hall in John’s Island, South Carolina, who inspired Guy’s iconic song 'Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life.'"

Latimer, Bettye, ed. Starting Out Right: Choosing Books about Black People for Young Children Pre-school through Third Grade. Bulletin no. 2314. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 1972. Six women in Madison, WI organized the Children's Literature Review Board and conducted this project for over two years, surveying over 300 books and developing complex criteria for evaluating books. Chap. 3 criticizes New Boy in School for showing Lennie's "intense fears" without depicting any particular acts of discrimination, since the white characters treat him well. Showing just one Black child being assimilated into a white school was also considered limiting (p. 19). The review on pp. 62-63 says that Lennie's fears are "grossly exaggerated" while the white characters have no flaws. Integration seems like "a one-way process" with Black children leaving inferior schools and "No attempt is made to provide an honest account of while schools are segregated" (p. 63). In a similar review of A New Home for Billy, the book is called "boring and pointless." An act of housing discrimination is portrayed well, "bluntly" as it would happen in real life, but Billy's father's responses are considered too passive as he "rationalizes prejudice" (p. 63). The reviewers object to the background comments on Blacks having to leave ghettos to find new homes and the suggestion that they can buy "dilapidated shanties in the country and work like mad to rehabilitate them" (reviewers' words, p. 63). (For comparison, these reviewers do recommend Ezra Jack Keats' John Henry and his other picture books, as well as Gail E. Haley's retelling of an African Anansi tale, A Story, A Story, 1970. Booker T. Washington by Lillie G. Patterson, 1962, is recommended although somewhat simplified and romanticized.) See also Robin Bates's blog post, above, about a reunion with a classmate who was the only black child in their school in the first year of integration in Sewanee, TN. Bates believes Justus based her book on these children that she knew.

Lenski, Lois. "Regional Children's Literature." Adventure in Understanding: Talks to Parents, Teachers and Librarians, 1944-1966. Tallahassee, FL: The Friends of the Florida State University Library, 1968. pp. 49-64. According to Google Scholar, Justus may be cited here. Another reference with this title: "Regional Children's Literature." Wilson Library Bulletin, vol. 21 (1946): pp. 289-92. 

Loveland, George. "A Greater Fairness: May Justus as Popular Educator." Journal of Research in Rural Education, vol. 17 (Fall 2001), pp. 102-11. Reprinted in full in AppLit at this link. Contains other references on Justus.

McDermott, Colleen M. "From Cook to Community Leader: The Women of Highlander Research and Education Center." Ph.D. Thesis. University of Georgia, 2009. Includes quotation from Wigginton interview with Justus on work at Highlander. "The purpose of this study was to examine the roles of the women of Highlander and how these women influenced not only the curriculum but also the institutional structure of Highlander. This study sought to determine the roles undertaken by women at Highlander and the ways in which these roles were gendered." Overview available as pdf file, from 2008 Adult Education Research Conference Proceedings.

"May Justus." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web (accessed 7/7/17). Awards listed in this reference source: "Julia Ellsworth Ford Prize, 1935, for Gabby Gaffer's New Shoes, and 1936, for Near-Side-and-Far; Boys' Club Award, 1950, for Luck for Little Lihu."  Also, "New Boy in School was on the New York Times Best Book List for 1963, and The Tale of a Pig was used by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in their television series, 'The Friendly Giant,' in 1970." May Justus told the editors, at a time when she had more than fifty books published, "It makes me happy to know that my writing has helped preserve the ways of my people for children of other areas for generations to come."

"May Justus." In Kunitz, Stanley, and Howard Haycraft. The Junior Book of Authors. 2nd rev. ed. New York: Wilson, 1951.CD cover

May Justus: The Carawan Recordings. Knoxville, TN: Jubilee Community Arts, 2011. Sound recording. "Children's author May Justus performs ballads and folk songs, stories, children's songs and games remembered from her childhood in Cocke County. From field recordings made by Guy Carawan in 1953 and 1961 with notes by Guy Carawan, May Justus and Bene Scanlon Cox." Contents and sample songs on the Jubilee web site. Includes "The Riddle Song" and "Barbara Allen." See Felts article, above, for background on this CD.

May Justus - 1898 - biography and bibliography by Tennessee student Kenneth Johnson, in NCTE's Literary Map of America.

The May Justus Collection, 1923-1983, at Univ. of Tennessee Special Collections Library, Knoxville, TN. "There is a May Justus Collection at the University of Tennessee containing all her books, many manuscripts and a vast correspondence."

May Justus Collection. University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville. WorldCat (7/9/17) lists a finding aid with downloadable archival material: "This collection houses bibliographies of books by May Justus; a partial list of anthologies containing her poems; miscellaneous photographs; detailed biographical material concerning her life and work; personal correspondence (16 letters); miscellaneous manuscript copies of her works; and, the UT Press manuscript of her book, The Complete Peddler's Pack."

May Justus Papers. University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville. WorldCat (7/9/17) lists a finding aid with downloadable archive material: "This collection houses poetry, correspondence, and a decoupage made with tatted lace documenting the life and work of Tennessee author May Justus."

May Justus Memorial Library in Monteagle, TN was named in memory of Justus in 1988. A Grundy County History Society publication, The Pathfinder, noted in 1998 that "The May Justus Memorial Library has recently been enlarged, room added, new shelving, more books—a fitting tribute to Miss Justus and to the people who made it happen. The library has the entire collection of books written by Miss Justus" (vol. III, no. 3, p. 1).

Montgomery, Michael and Joseph S. Hall, eds. Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2004. Quotations by Justus are used in some of the entries on Smoky Mountain language. Samples, such as "hear tell," can be viewed in the Dictionary section of the excellent web site.

Moore, Harry, and Fred Brown. Discovering October Roads: Fall Colors and Geology in Rural East Tennessee. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2001. Mentions May Justus as "a noted children's book author" produced by Del Rio (her home town). Cocke County had a mix of Anglo-Saxon, German-Dutch, and Huguenot languages among its residents' ancestry (p. 23).

MTSU's Biographical Index to Tennessee Women.

"A New Home for Billy." Review. Kirkus 26 Aug. 1966. (accessed online 7/8/17)

Partin, Jackie Layne. "Hence Layne's Pig Dropped Dead." Grundy County Tennessee History. Grundy County Historical Society. N.d. In one of Jackie Partin's undated stories attached to this history site, she describes a visit with Virgil Calvern Thomas on Feb. 25, 2009, in Kimball, TN. Virgil was born in 1912 in Summerfield. Partin calls him "a kind, hospitable, Christian man." At the end of the pdf document, two of the photographs have this caption: "Virgil and Miss May Justus pondered the water pump in her kitchen at Summerfield. Together again—student and teacher visited in the living room of her little house next to the Summerfield School." In both pictures they are standing together late in life, with a tall kitchen pump in one photo. After the following paragraphs, the story says that "Ms. Justus wanted him to go to Berea College in Kentucky, but efforts to do that broke down." Later Virgil worked in a mine, where he lost a hand and forearm in a machine accident in 1959. After being fitted with a hook, he worked in the mine until he was 72.

Virgil and his siblings went to the Summerfield School that stood where Billy and Dorothy Nunley once had a business. His fondest memories were of his favorite teacher, Ms. May Justus. Some of the words he used to describe this incredible woman were wonderful, highly educated and highly talented. She wrote poetry and books that the children could understand like The Other Side of the Mountain and The House in No-End Hollow. Virgil told the story that she had a bad birthmark on her face when she was a child in Virginia; as she grew older, the birthmark became an embarrassment to her. When her writings became known around the area, a publishing company recognized her talent and became interested in her work. They made a visit to her 2 home, and subsequently began to publish some of her work. Soon the publisher began to realize the problem she was having because of the birthmark. After a few inquiries were made, a doctor was found who fixed the birthmark, and as Virgil said, "She was a beautiful lady!" The procedure gave her new confidence and a feeling of pride spurring her on to finish her college education with the desire to teach children.

Dr. Lillian Johnson lived in Summerfield at the time, and she had acquaintances in New York City who had “lots of money.” One of her desires was to insure that mountain people in Grundy County, especially in Summerfield, had access to higher learning. Dr. Lillian built a large nice home over at the old Johnson place; then she bought Ms. Justus the little house that used to stand next to the Summerfield School. It was probably the best-known house in Summerfield. Vera McCampbell, another teacher at the school, came to live with Ms. Justus in later years. Virgil remembered making the two-mile walk to Monteagle to pick up the teachers’ mail for them. He also remembered that Dr. Lillian Johnson spent a lot of money remodeling certain features of the Summerfield School. The old pot-bellied stove was replaced with a coal furnace, and Virgil was paid two dollars a month to build the fires in it. Sweeping floors was another one of his chores, and he happily did both with pride.

When Virgil was in the fifth or sixth grade, he missed nearly a whole year of school. A horse stepped on his foot parting his toes, and “proud flesh,” (a decaying of the flesh), set up in his foot taking a long time to heal. Dr. Jackson rode down from Tracy City on his horse to help with the injury. His beloved teacher, Ms. Justus, allowed Virgil to make up his lost work while he was in the seventh and eighth grade so that he was able to enter high school on time with the rest of his classmates.

People's Song Library Records, 1940-1970. Archives. Wayne State Univ., MI, Archive of Labor and Urban. "Correspondence, clippings, programs, broadsides, reviews, songbooks, scores and other materials relating to the People's Songs organization's collection, publication and promotion of folk songs, labor songs and protest songs. Includes material relating to the Industrial Workers of the World, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and other trade-unions in the United States as well as songs relating to the civil rights movement." By May Justus and many other people (WorldCat).

Schneider, Stephen. Organic Classrooms: Rhetorical Education at the Highlander Folk School, 1932-1961. Ph.D. Thesis. Pennsylvania State University, 2007. Available online.

Smith, Jennifer. "The Music of Appalachian Children's Literature." Children and Libraries 5 (Winter 2007): 31-37. Smith lists Justus along with Rebecca Caudill, William Steele, Jesse Stuart, James Still, and Lillie Chapin as authors who "set the standard for how the Appalachian culture and region would be portrayed in children’s literature" from 1940 to 1970 (p. 34). Justus' book Barney, Bring Your Banjo is discussed as a family and community story built around a song (p. 35).

Smith, Scot. "Carolina Dreams: Kerry Madden and the Saga of the Weems Family of Maggie Valley." The ALAN Review, vol. 36, no. 3. (Summer 2009). Available online from Virginia Tech. Interview with Madden includes comment about the influences of previous Appalachian writers such as May Justus.

Sterling, Dorothy. "The Soul of Learning." The English Journal, vol. 57, no. 2. (Feb. 1968), pp. 166-180. Available through library services such as JSTOR. Interesting overview of literature for children about African American life available before and during the civil rights movement, by the author of ground-breaking biographies and history books for children. Sterling's Mary Jane was a controversial but successful children's book about school desegregation published in 1959. P. 171 mentions the existence of "at least six novels about school desegregation, including May Justus' New Boy in School (Hastings) and Natalie Carlson's The Empty Schoolhouse (Harper)".

Turner, William Ray. "A Glance Back to . . . Summerfield School." The Grundy County Herald 23 Sept. 2003. This is a newspaper column by the "Grundy County Historian," available online attached to a college paper about the school (see Coats above). Within this article, with a photograph of the school from the 1930s, information from the 1958 yearbook is summarized, including the students' names. The yearbook was dedicated to Miss May Justus, although she no longer taught at the school but still lived next door. These "kind words" are quoted in the article:

"Today Miss Justus is still the pride and joy of Summerfield School. She is a member of the Parents Club. Miss Justus does not teach regular school any more but teaches a home bound child of our school and some handicapped children, too.
        The children of our school always look forward to seeing Miss Justus, for she is always coming to the school to bring books, some of her own writings, magazines, flowers, candies, and asking if there is anything we need or if we want her to help us in any way with our work.
       Our school does not have some of the things of the past but it is still being improved as the years go by and it is lucky to have a friend and helper like Miss Justus--a grand resource."
       This was signed by Katherine Tarzi, one of two teachers at Summerfield School back in 1958.

University of Tennessee Distinguished Alumni: Arts, Entertainment & Media. (Also Marilou Awiakta on this page)

Wallace, Sarah. “Miss J: Teacher and Author.” Foxfire 14.2 (1980): 88-121.

Warren, John W., and Adrian W. McClaren. Tennessee Belles-Lettres: A Guide to Tennessee Literature. Morristown, TN: Morrison Printing, 1977.

Wigginton, E. Interview with May Justus. Transcript archived at Harry Lasker Library, Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, TN, 1988?.

Wigginton, Eliot. Refuse to Stand Silently By: An Oral History of Grassroots Social Activism in America, 1921-1964. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Women in Tennessee History: An Online Bibliography and Research Guide: Literature. Internet resource.

Women Writers and Illustrators. Short bio and descriptions of OP books for sale by Dragonfly Books (OP book dealer). Link to Women Writers page not functioning 8/25/03, but Justus books are described in other pages on this site.

You Got to Move. Dir. Lucie Massie Phenix and Veronica Selver. Cumberland Mountain Educational Cooperative, 1985. DVD Milliarium Zero, 2011. "You Got to Move (USA, 1985, 87 minutes, color) is a documentary by Lucy Massie Phenix (Winter Soldier) and Veronica Selver (Word Is Out) that follows people from communities in the Southern United States in their various processes of becoming involved in social change. The film’s centerpiece is the Highlander Folk School, a 50-year-old center for education and social action that was somehow involved in each of the lives chronicled." The film is recommended in a blog post by a professor (can't find his name in the blog uncomely and broken, 19 Aug. 2013) about "A Visit to Highlander Folk School": the film "features marvelous footage of Horton and the children’s author May Justus defending the school from its bigoted detractors." This blog post contains photos of the original site of Highlander in Grundy County.

Zilphia Horton (1910-1956). Folk Music Collection (1935-1956). Manuscript Section of Tennessee State Archives. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Contains recording of songs by May Justus, in box 6 with songs by children of Summerfield community, Pete Seeger, Zilphia Horton, and others. Collected when Mrs. Horton was director of music at Highlander Folk School. Most of the collection includes songs of social protest and "authentic" folk songs. Songs in box 6 are listed by title (not by singers) in 1964 catalog (pdf file at

An Internet search engine will lead you to out-of-print books by Justus listed by booksellers and libraries, and to a number of poems by Justus reprinted on the Internet. The poems and hymns are not all listed here because some are in social media posts or personal web sites that do not give sources or permissions information. It's not easy to trace all of Justus's writings that were published in anthologies, hymn books, and periodicals. If you have corrections or suggestions, or comments, please contact Tina L. Hanlon.

Citations from Linnea Hendrickson's Children's Literature: A Guide to Criticism:

BURNS, PAUL C., and HINES, RUTH. "May Justus: Tennessee's Mountain Jewel." Elementary English 41 (October 1964): 589-93. An overview of Justus's writings.

MADISON, JOHN. "School Integration in Children's Literature." Integrated Education 16 (May-June 1978): 10-11. Looks at "interesting and disconcerting results" in the way school integration is handled in May Justus's New Boy In School, Natalie Savage Carlson's The Empty Schoolhouse, and Dead End School by Robert Coles.

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