Nature and the Environment in Appalachian Literature

Complied by Tina L. Hanlon, Ph.D.

Ferrum College

Fiction for Children and Young Adults Literature for Adults Realistic Picture Books Folktales and Legends
Selections in Anthologies Nonfiction Background Resources AppLit Home
Other Picture Books about the Environment Indicates literature that deals explicitly with ecological problems and issues.
This bibliography, begun in June, 2002, is based largely on material developed while collaborating with Dr. Carolyn Thomas, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Ferrum College. In 1994-98 we participated in a national environmental education project sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges. For information on our team-taught, general education courses, including guidelines for teaching environmental science using children's books, see Humans Within Ecosystems and Our Home/Our Habitat. These courses were later taught by Carolyn Thomas as part of the Appalachian Cluster of general education courses.

As most Appalachian literature includes some treatment of humans' relationships with the land, innumerable other examples could be added to this bibliography. Send your suggestions for expanding and improving this page to

Fiction for Children and Young Adults

Berg, Larry G. The Trail to Sunrise: A Family's Journey on the Appalachian Trail. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2005. "A backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail may not sound like an enjoyable family vacation. But for the Lawrence family, hiking hundreds of miles on the AT proves to be an exciting, unforgettable, fun filled adventure. Twelve-year-old Justin gains valuable lessons in 'Nature's Classroom,' while meeting the physical and emotional challenges of the hike. Together the family encounters storms, uninvited nighttime visitors, wild creatures, a variety of other hikers, and even an Appalachian Trail thief. Find out how Justin and his six-year-old sister Emma, find clues that lead them on a treasure hunt along the Appalachian Trail."

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Halfway to the Sky. New York: Random House/Yearling, 2002. Twelve-year-old Katahdhin leaves her Bristol, TN home alone to hike the Appalachian trail after her older brother dies and her parents divorce. She and her brother Springer were named after the end points of the trail, where their parents met. She and her mother end up on the trail together, hiking from Georgia to Virginia. Many details about specific places and the hardships and pleasures of thru-hiking are discussed. Each chapter begins with Katahdin's journal records of the place, weather, and miles hiked.

Byars, Betsy. After the Goat Man. Illus. Ronald Himler. New York: Viking, 1974. During one eventful summer evening in a West Virginia city, two children try to help a new boy in the neighborhood, Figgy, and his stern grandfather, known as the Goat Man, who was forcibly removed from his mountain cabin for the building of Interstate 79. Bewildered when the grandfather disappears with his shotgun, Figgy and friends set out on a trek to the highway construction. Harold learns how to feel true empathy when he faces the grandfather and the cabin, which transforms in Harold's imagination from a pile of trash that is about to be razed to a carefully built rural home once surrounded by trees. Harold's haunting memories of having to play the third hippopotamus on Noah's ark in a Bible school play represent his fears of his own differences and the realization that the old Goat Man can not be forced to fit in to city life. See background at

Cleaver, Vera and Bill. Where the Lilies Bloom. New York: HarperCollins, 1969. Very popular children’s novel about a family in western NC struggling to live off the land (sometime earlier in 20th century). The oldest daughter keeps the family together after the father’s death. The authors put notes in the back about the practice of “wildcrafting,” collecting plant products to sell for a living. Also made into a popular film. Study Guide in AppLit.

Creech, Sharon. Chasing Redbird. New York: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 1997. Thirteen-year-old Zinnia Taylor's coming of age experiences include time spent alone camping in the woods, where she encounters a fox, a bear with a cub, and countless smaller creatures and plants. Having discovered a historic trail at her family's farm in the Kentucky mountains near the Ohio River and the tiny town of Bybanks, she undertakes the difficult job of clearing off the slates that form the trail, through the woods and meadows to the town of Chocton. She plants zinnias along the trail she has claimed as her own. The novel's title refers to Uncle Nate's pursuit of his red-haired wife's ghost. Along the trail Zinny discovers Uncle Nate's secret methods of preserving the memories of his wife and child. Life never stops being messy and quirky, but family and community relationships are sorted out when Zinny is praised for clearing the trail and all kinds of people start visiting it. See more on this novel in AppLit bibliography Appalachian Fiction for Children and Young Adults.

Dulemba, Elizabeth O. A Bird on Water Street. San Francisco: Little Pickle Press, 2013. "A Bird on Water Street is a coming-of-age story about Jack, a boy growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices and pollution. Jack is opposed to the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his Dad who wants him to follow in the family trade? Jack just wants his Dad safe and the land returned to its pre-mining glory with trees, birds, frogs, and nature--like he's learning about in school. After Jack's uncle is killed in a mining accident and the Company implements a massive layoff, the union organizes and the miners go on strike. It seems Jack's wish is coming true. But the cost may be the ruin of his home and everything he loves." The book includes photos of Copperhill, Tennessee and the surrounding mining area, and historical background on the story. The protagonist Jack Hicks is named after the hero of the Jack Tales and the famous storyteller Ray Hicks; Jack's mother is related to the Harmon branch of the Beech mountain storytelling family, and the novel contains some discussion and depiction of the family storytelling tradition. The author's web site contains additional background, reviews, and awards.

Graf, Mike. Ridge Runner Rescue: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Illus. Marjorie C. Leggitt. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2009. Book 6 in the Adventures with the Parkers series. "Twin brother and sister, James and Morgan, embark on another adventure with their parents to explore the history, unusual geology, famous sites, plants, and animals of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sidebar notes contain additional facts about the area and describe the park's regulations and tourist facilities."

Hamilton, Virginia. M. C. Higgins, the Great. New York: Aladdin, 1974. Set in the hill country in eastern Ohio. Hamilton depicts a young boy’s fears of living under the shadow of the refuse of the coal mining industry with its slag heaps, sludge, acidic run-off, and mountaintop removal (notes by Susan V. Mead). See more on this book in study guide Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature.

Hedrick, Helen G. Flying Moments. Parsons, WV: McClain Printing, 2004. Poems about birds such as "Maude of the Mockingbird" and "Buzzards in the Bone Tree." "The countryside of West Virginia is called home to many splendid singers and game birds. This beautifully-illustrated children’s book captures colorful capers of these flying creatures. Flying Moments, the author’s fourth children’s book, is both entertaining and educational" (publisher's description).

Hite, Sid. It's Nothing to a Mountain. In 1969, a brother and sister, 12 and 14, live with their grandparents on a homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (where Hite grew up). Among their adventures is an encounter with a 15-year-old runaway living in the wilderness. Hite stresses the "geographic isolation" and "inherently nostalgic mind-set of mountain people in general" (p. 44), as well as the beautiful landscapes and "the ancient mountains'" sympathy with the troubled young characters in the story.

Justus, May. Many twentieth-century stories by Justus depict ways of living off the land, hardships and joys of farming and mountain life in the Smoky Mountains. Justus also wrote poems about nature for children. See complete bibliography of Justus books at this link in AppLit.

Key, Alexander. Key's science fiction novels set in Appalachia and other regions, such as The Forgotten Door and Escape to Witch Mountain, have themes about close relationships between people and nature, and escaping from corruptions of human society in rural settings. See details in AppLit bibliography Appalachian Fiction for Children and Young Adults.

Markle, Sandra. The Fledglings. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press, 1992. After she runs away from Atlanta to find the grandfather she didn't know she had on Snowbird Mountain (near Cherokee, NC), Kate (age 14) learns the language and customs of the Tsa la ki (Cherokee) from him. See more on this book in study guides Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature and Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Clara and the Hoodoo Man. New York: Puffin Books, 1996. Set in Red Owl Mountain, Tennessee, Partridge’s novel tells of everyday experiences of a young girl growing up in mountain traditions of ginseng gathering, home births with midwives, and healing illnesses with herbs (notes by Susan Mead). See more on this book in study guide Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia! Exploring Social Issues Through Appalachian Children's Literature.

Reeder, Carolyn. Grandpa's Mountain. New York: Avon/Camelot, 1991. Eleven-year-old Carrie (who lives in D. C. with her parents) loves spending summers on her grandparents' farm, helping in their rural store and lunchroom in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Depression, until she and Grandpa become involved in conflicts over the government's decision to displace the farmers in order to build the Shenandoah National Park. A variety of characters represent different attitudes toward the advantages and disadvantages of relocating to the valley with funds and services provided by the government.

Rylant, Cynthia. Every Living Thing. Illus. S D. Schindler. New York: Aladdin Books, 1988. Available as audiobook with Rylant's Children of Christmas stories. A dozen short stories (some very short) by a WV native, set in different parts of the country but some stories have no place specified and mention mountains. Each one is a moving story about how humans of various ages are transformed by experiences with pets or wild animals. Sometimes the animals comfort a lonely human and sometimes they improve human relationships: for example, a father's parrot makes the son realize when his father is ill that he has neglected his father; friendly cows in Maine comfort a frightened boy who talks to his mother and uncle about how their work opposing nuclear weapons makes him feel; a widow takes pity on the boy who tries to sell her lost cat because the boy does not look well himself.

Seton, Ernest Thompson wrote an animal story set, apparently, in Patrick County, VA. It mentions the Mayo River of southwestern Virginia, as well as some local family names. The story is "Foam—A Razor-Backed Hog," in Seton's Wild Animal Ways. New York: Doubleday, 1916. pp. 19-86. (notes by Ralph Lutts). Born in England and raised in Canada, Seton wrote many realistic animal stories for children.

Taylor, Theodore. The Weirdo. New York: Avon, 1991. Although not set in the Appalachian mountains, this young adult novel, based on Taylor's experiences growing up near the Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina, tells an intriguing story about conflicts and divided loyalties over protecting bears in the swamps and woodlands around the VA-NC border.

Literature for Adults

explicit treatment of environmental issue Adams, Danny. "Chestnuts, Sleep." Appalachian Heritage Winter 2007. Poem reprinted in this web site, about finding an American chestnut tree that was not likely to live much longer.

Awiakta, Marilou. Selu: Seeking the Corn-Mother’s Wisdom. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1993. A blend of story, essay, and poetry by a Cherokee/Appalachian and storyteller writer concerned about preserving a nurturing relationship between humanity and Mother Earth, by instilling appreciation for the earth and applying Native American philosophies to modern problems.

explicit environmental content Baldacci, David. Wish You Well. 2000. New York: Grand Central, 2007. The trade paperback contains guides for reading groups and advice from the author about researching family history. In this story based on his family history, two children leave their New York life after a family catastrophe to live with their great-grandmother on a mountain in southwestern VA. Their father wrote critically acclaimed books about the place where he grew up with his beloved grandmother but had never returned. Lousia Mae Cardinal, age 12, is a writer like her father and shares many strong qualities of the great-grandmother for whom she was named. Lou takes care of her 7-year-old brother Oz (Oscar) while their mother is incapacitated. Lou and Oz learn how to cope with the back-breaking, relentless farm work needed to feed the family, studying in a one-room schoolhouse, and prejudice against outsiders and African Americans. Eugene is a young black man who has worked with Lousia since she gave him a home. They learn about domestic violence and Louisa's midwifery skills through contact with neighbors who have many children and brutal father. A lawyer, Cotton Longfellow, helps the family in many ways. The children witness detrimental effects of industries that move in and out of the region, lumbering and coal mining, while exploration for natural gas on the Cardinal land leads to more painful personal losses and a court case over guardianship of the land and children at the novel's climax. A mysterious barn fire is connected with conflict over land use. On Baldacci's web site is an excerpt from chap. 1. Photography for a film adaptation started in Giles County in 2012. This novel is featured in the Roanoke Valley Reads program in Fall 2013, along with children's books Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White and Jack Outwits the Giants by Paul Brett Johnson.

Carson, Jo. Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 1991. Poems in which Appalachian characters discuss their lives and attitudes. Poems numbered 11, 17, 19, 20, 22, and 45 deal most explicitly with environmental issues such as trading home-grown food, development of mountain landscape, building of roads, loss of trees, and changing attitudes toward hunting.  Page on Jo Carson by Amanda McCullough at Virginia Tech.

Giardina, Denise. Storming Heaven. New York: Ivy Books, 1988. Sequel The Unquiet Earth. New York: Ivy Books, 1994. Two gripping novels take the characters in West Virginia coal communities through childhood and adult life in the midst of conflicts over coal mining and the land.

Kingsolver, Barbara. Prodigal Summer. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. The cover calls the novel "a hymn to wilderness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature." In three intertwined stories of love, a young naturalist completes her solitary stay in the woods looking for coyotes; a new widow settles into her husband's mountain community, deciding to raise goats to support herself and two children who lose their mother; and two elderly neighbors clash over old and new ways of managing their land.

McCrumb, Sharyn. The Ballad series of novels. See notes in Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction, especially on The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1992), in which one character is affected by carcinogenic pollution caused by a paper company. In The Rosewood Casket (1996), Clayt Stargill is a naturalist and Daniel Boone re-enactor who cares more about the land and its history than about pursuing a lucrative career. The youngest of four brothers who gather when their father is dying, Clayt is the only one who still lives in the mountains, still knows the land well, and wants to stay on the farm their family has owned for generations. Clayt's growing friendship with a lonely small girl who learns about birds and plants from him is the most positive plot line in the novel. A greedy real estate developer uses every trick he can to get land away from poor and aging farmers, buy it for a few hundred dollars an acre, sell the most valuable timber, and build expensive homes for affluent city folks who want a good view. When he has the Stargills' neighbors evicted for not paying taxes, an old man and his unmarried daughter, the daughter's reaction causes the violent denouement of the novel. Many details are included about how the land has changed since Boone's time and how struggles over ownership ranged from early battles between Indian tribes to political conflicts and injustices among white people that continue into the present. Comparisons among different species and human races are revealed in relation to inhabitants of the mountains and invaders that destroy earlier populations.

McNeill, Douglas. The Last Forest: Tales of the Allegheny Woods. New York: Fortuny's, 1940. Parsons, WV: McClain Printing, 2006. 166 pp. "Go back in time to the 1880s with the unspoiled West Virginia wilderness. The author's collection of stories begins with the forest primeval, before the railroads and loggers disturbed the tranquility of centuries. It ends fifty years later, with the last virgin forest cut over and despoiled. Much of the book's action takes place along the Cranberry and Williams rivers, an area now protected as a federally-designated wilderness area" (publisher's description). Also produced as audio recordings for radio. CD. Dunmore, WV: Pocahontas Communications Cooperative, 2004.

Norman, Gurney. Ancient Creek: A Folktale. Lexington, Ky: Old Cove Press, 2012. 136 pp. Summary: "Norman's novella-length folktale tells the story of resistance among the folks against an evil King. Using the Appalachian region as a model, the tale describes a mythic hill domain that has been exploited by the forces of a colonizing empire. The hero Jack, familiar from the Jack tale tradition, is the fugitive leader of the people's revolt and the nemesis of the King. Wounded survivors of the revolution find solace and healing on Ancient Creek where old Aunt Haze is the guiding spirit.... Told in mock-heroic language, Ancient Creek employs satire, comic irony, regional speech and the voice of a storyteller as it moves toward its hopeful conclusion. 'Ancient Creek is an idea as well as a physical place in the Hill Domain that has not been spoiled by humans,' says Norman. 'It is so pure, so far back in the mountains, it does not appear on the King's maps. Ancient Creek refers to the old stream. It's an actual stream but also a river of words, a stream of consciousness that bears the old legends and lore and the old wisdom. There are forces in the world that want to destroy that river, to destroy all native and natural life, bring it under control for whatever profit that may be in it. That is what the resistance is about.' First recorded as a spoken-word album by Appalshop in 1975, Ancient Creek appears in book form for the first time in this Old Cove Press edition. In addition to Norman's original tale, the book includes essays about the story. A digitally remastered CD of the 1975 reading is being published concurrently with the book by June Appal Recordings, a division of Appalshop. The book and CD feature cover art by noted Kentucky artist Pam Oldfield Meade, who painted her vision of Ancient Creek." Additional contents: "Living into the Land" by Jim Wayne Miller, "I'm Jack!" by Kevin I. Eeyster, "Reading Ancient Creek" by Annalucia Accardo, "October 30, 1975" by Dee Davis, and "The story of Ancient Creek" by Gurney Norman.

Still, James. See bibliography and study guide at this link for details on poems about nature and farming, contents of Still's novels about Kentucky families during the Great Depression who struggle to live off the land and suffer from the unreliability of employment in coal camps.

Realistic Picture Books and Concept Books

Anderson, Joan.  Pioneer Children of Appalachia. Photo. George Ancona. New York: Clarion Books, 1986. Tells the story of a fictional family representing the hundreds who "moved into the rugged hills and narrow hollers of what became West Virginia" between 1790 and 1830. Photographs recreating the family's lifestyle were made at the Appalachian living history museum at Fort New Salem, WV.

Berry, Wendell. Whitefoot: A Story from the Center of the World. Illus. Selle D. Te. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009. Detailed description of the life of a white-footed mouse, peromyscus leucopus, asking the reader to consider her point of view and feeling that she lives at the center of the world. She floats along for days in a flood and has to wait until it is safe to build a new home in the woods. Originally published as an article in Orion Magazine Jan.-Feb. 2007 (available online).

Borton, Lady. Junk Pile. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. New York: Philomel, 1997. A young girl resists the teasing and prejudice of other kids, finding magic in her father's junkyard where he serves the neighbors in practical ways and she uses junk to make imaginative creations. A good book to discuss in relation to recycling. Borton has lived on an Appalachian farm in Millfield, Ohio, basing parts of this story on her neighbor's family, her own dog, and her experience driving a school bus for handicapped children.

George, Jean Craighead. The Moon of the Bears. Illus. Ron Parker. The Thirteen Moons Series. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. 48 pp. "Chronicles a year in a black bear's life, beginning with her emerging from hibernation in Tennessee's Smoky Mountains during the spring thaw in February" (Worldcat). Reprinted in Winter Moon compilation, HarperTrophy, 2001.

George, Jean Craighead. Winter Moon. New York: HarperTrophy, 2001. Combined volume of Thirteen Moons series, with winter lives of a black bear (see above), a song sparrow, mole and owls.

Gove, Doris. My Mother Talks to Trees. Illus. Marilynn H. Mallory. Atlanta: Peachtree Pub, 1999. "Although embarrassed when her mother stops and talks to all the trees on their walk, a girl joins her in admiring their leaves, flowers, needles, and seeds and recognizes them as a source of beauty" (Worldcat). A Tennessee author who has taught environmental studies includes facts about 11 Southern trees.

Gove, Doris. One Rainy Night. Illus. Walter Krudop. New York: Atheneum, 1994. "A boy and his mother go out on a rainy night to collect animals for a nature center that releases its specimens to the wild after two weeks" (Worldcat).

Gove, Doris. Red-Spotted Newt. Illus. Beverly Duncan. New York: Atheneum, 1994. By a Tennessee author who has taught environmental studies.

Gove, Doris. The Smokies Yukky Book: Horrifyingly True Tales of Our Local Flora and Fauna. Illus. Lisa Horstman. Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Assoc., 2006. "Kids will go wild over the weird, creepy, yukky stuff in this book. Where else can your kids learn about carnivorous plants, vomiting vultures, snot otters, ant lions, and other magnificent things that really, really live in the Great Smoky Mountains? ... Recommended for kids ages 8-12. 64 pages." This series includes yukky books about other national parks.

Gove, Doris. A Water Snake's Year. Illus. Beverly Duncan. New York: Atheneum, 1991. "Presents a year in the life of a female water snake, resident of Great Smoky Mountains National Park" (Worldcat).

Griggs, Leland. Posted: No Trespassing. Illus. Russell Jewell. Pickens, SC: Meadow Spring Publishing, 2001 The author and illustrator are both Appalachian naturalists. Inspired by Thoreau, the book portrays the author's attempt to claim an abandoned farm that had been taken over by many kinds of wildlife. "Griggs . . . provides a clear message that humans, animals and nature can live in harmony if external forces do not disrupt its delicate and intricate balance. . . . As the illustration and text reveal, a hasty governmental act could cause this ecosystem to die." Quotation from Review by Bea Bailey in ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia, vol. IX (2001): 16-17.

Hall, Francie. Appalachian ABCs. Illus. Kent Oehm. Johnson City, TN: The Overmountain Press, 1998. The text is shorter than Pack's in A is for Appalachia! But unlike Pack, Hall uses mainly present tense and does not focus as heavily on Appalachian culture of the past. Modern pursuits such as kayaking and snow skiing are included. Most pages contain images related to landscape or gardening and farming. Brightly colored illustrations are surrounded by frames with plants representing each letter of the alphabet. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.

Harshman, Marc and Cheryl RyanRed Are the Apples.  Illus. Wade Zahares.  San Diego:  Gulliver Books, 2001.

Hendershot, Judith. In Coal Country. Illus. Thomas B. Allen.  New York:  Dragon Fly Books, 1987.

Horstman, Lisa. The Great Smoky Mountain Salamander Ball. Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, 1997. Sara becomes a junior ranger at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and later grows up to be a ranger. The story in rhymed verse leaves open the question of whether her fantasy adventure during a night of camping is a dream or not. At a colorful ball other humans have not witnessed, Sara learns about the diversity of salamanders and their desire to be treated with respect by humans. The last page depicts fifteen of the many species of salamanders living in the park, with rules to avoid harming them.

Horstman, Lisa. The Troublesome Cub in the Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, 2001. The story in rhymed verse tells of a black bear cub that has to be rescued by a park ranger after being attracted to human garbage in town and ending up in a trash truck. The rangers' methods of checking the cub's health and tracking him with a radio collar are described. "He'd rather hang out with his mom in the woods/With humans he tends to be misunderstood." The text becomes didactic at the end, cautioning humans about the dangers of their food to bears. The last page contains a four-point promise for people to keep food away from wildlife.

Houston, Gloria. My Great Aunt Arizona. Illus. Susan Condie Lamb. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. A touching true story about a girl who returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains to live out a long life as a beloved rural teacher. Beautiful full-page landscapes illustrate many scenes.

Houston, Gloria. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Illus. Barbara Cooney. New York: Dial Books, 1988. In 1918, a child prepares for Christmas and hopes for her father's return from war. Each Christmas a family is chosen to pick a special tree for the village church—a rhododendron, a cedar, and this year, a balsam. Ruthie and her father had ridden to the top of Grandfather Mountain to find the perfect tree the previous spring. A heartwarming story, full of description of the Appalachian mountains and Cooney's beautiful paintings of the landscape in different seasons, especially winter. See more on this book at Appalachian Christmas Picture Books.

Johnson, Paul BrettFarmers' Market. New York: Orchard Books, 1997.

Kearns, Thelma. You Don't Pat a Bee! Illus. Bryant and Karen Owens. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press. "Inspired by the sayings of her grandchildren and other young friends, [Appalachian writer] Thelma Kerns has written a catchy book filled with phrases of advice for active young children." Research on different animals was conducted for the colorful illustrations. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.

Kemp, Steve. Who Pooped in the Park?: The Great Smoky Mountains! Illus. Robert Rath. Helena, MT: Farcountry Press, 2005. "The latest in this unconventional series of storybooks makes learning about wildlife tracks and scat (poop) fun. Perfect for youths ages 7-11, this book follows a family of visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains as they join a park ranger for a wildlife walk. Learn the clues for 'seeing' deer, bear, rabbit, wild hog, wild turkey, coyote, skunk, and more. 48 pages. Full color."

Lyon, George Ella. A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees. Illus. Tom Parker. New York: Orchard, 1996. Colored india ink drawings of hands hold leaves, blossoms and berries, juxtaposed with silhouettes of a whole tree for each letter of the alphabet. Short poetic lines before and after the alphabet stress seasons and the things trees give us.

Lyon, George Ella. All the Water in the World. Illus. Katherine Tillotson. New York: Atheneum/Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2011. "A lively and inspiring poem weaves together facts about water and the need for water conservation."

Lyon, George EllaCounting on the Woods. Illus. Ann Olson. DK Ink, 1998. A counting book illustrated with woodland photographs.

Lyon, George Ella. Come a Tide. Illus. Stephen Gammell. New York: Orchard, 1990. Appalachian neighbors clean up after a flood.

quilt square Lyon, George Ella. Who Came Down That Road? Illus. Peter Catalanotto. New York: Orchard, 1992. Rpt. San Diego: Kane Miller, 2011. A mother answers her son's question by explaining the history of the road and landscape, from the travels of ancestor settlers back to Indians, mammoths and the making of the universe.

Mills, Patricia. Until the Cows Come Home. North-South, 1993.Very brief text about a farm in WV accompanies Mills' hand-colored photographs.

Owens, Martha Galyon. A Tennessee Journey: Student Interactive Workbook. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press. Uses a coloring book format for a tour flying across the state with Lady Bug and Firefly. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.

Pack, Linda Hager. A is for Appalachia! The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage. Illus. Pat Banks. Prospect, KY: Harmony House Publishers, 2002. Entries corresponding to letters of the alphabet include baskets, coal, corn, farmstead, iron, raisin' (a house or barn), vegetable garden, yarb doctor, zodiac (used for planning on farms). Pack (from Hamlin, WV) also reprints two folktales by Leonard Roberts, "The Devil's Big Toe" and "Jack and the Bean Stalk." Watercolor illustrations are by an artist from Madison County, KY. This book is unfortunate in its treatment of Appalachian culture as a phenomenon of the past.

Ransom, Candice. F. The Promise Quilt. Illus. Ellen Beier. New York: Walker, 1999. A good book to compare with the children's novel Where the Lilies Bloom (by the Cleavers),  because the widowed mother and children have to make do with what they have on their farm in Virginia after the Civil War. The same theme (during WW I) appears in Houston's picture book The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.

Ransom, Candice F. When the Whippoorwill Calls. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. New York: Tambourine, 1995. About a displaced family in the Shenandoah Valley in 1920s.

Rockwell, Anne F. Backyard Bear. Illus. Megan Halsey. New York: Walker, 2006. "Presents the habitats and behavior of a typical young black bear and explains how black bears can be kept from wandering into populated areas, ensuring their protection. Bears belong in the woods - they can find everything they need to survive there. But what happens when people start knocking down trees and building houses where the woods used to be? This young black bear is about to find out. He wakes one spring to find his territory completely changed. When the curious bear dares to come closer and closer to the houses, he discovers backyards and trashcans are an easy place to find food. But it's dangerous for people and bears to live so close together. What will happen when the bear is discovered right in someone's backyard?" (Worldcat). Not set specifically in Appalachia but this problem for black bears is common in Appalachia.

Rylant, Cynthia. Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds. Illus. Barry Moser. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1991. A nonfiction picture book describing Appalachia, with realistic paintings by Moser.

Rylant, Cynthia. When I Was Young in the Mountains. Illus. Diane Goode.  New York: Dutton, 1982. A nostalgic book about growing up in a mountain community. The children enjoy the old swimming hole, home-grown food, and a big black snake they catch. The illustrations, set in the early twentieth century, are softer and more sentimental than Moser's in Appalachia.

Smucker, Anna Egan. Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Apple Story. Illus. Kathleen Kemly. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2008. This picture book recounts the discovery of the Golden Delicious apple with allusions to Cinderella. Every Golden Delicious apple tree in the world is descended from one tree "that just grew" on Anderson Mullins's farm in Clay County, WV in the early 1900s! A nursery in Missouri purchased the tree and took twigs for growing new trees. The Author's Note gives further background on the apple's history and the grafting process.

Smucker, Anna Egan. No Star Nights. Illus. Steve Johnson. New York: Knopf/Dragonfly, 1989. Memories of childhood in WV during and after the heyday of steel mills. Nostalgia for childhood pleasures overshadows the reality that the mill furnaces polluted the air, blocked out the stars, and left big slag heaps.

Smucker, Anna Egan. Outside the Window. Illus. Stacey Schuett. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. See also AppLit's Student activities for this book on a family of birds.

See also AppLit's Realistic Appalachian Picture Books Bibliography and other books sold by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Notes on connecting folktales with study of the environment:

Folktales and Legends: Native American

See AppLit's Picture Books with Cherokee Themes and Native American Tales in Appalachia. Most of the tales listed contain pourquoi elements, explaining the origins of features of animals or other natural phenomena. Cherokee tales such as Selu (the origin of corn) and The First Strawberries are reprinted in many books. See also AppLit's Index of Appalachian Animal Tales.

Bruchac, Joseph and James. How Chipmunk Got His Stripes: A Tale of Bragging and Teasing. Illus. Jose Aruego and Arianne Dewey. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2001. Brown Squirrel challenges Bear to prove his bragging, but Bear can't keep the sun from coming up. Against his grandmother's teachings, Brown Squirrel teases Bear, who threatens to eat him. Brown Squirrel tricks Bear into letting him go, but while escaping he gets long scratches on his back from Bear's paws. In spring the little animal with white stripes becomes known as the Chipmunk, who gets up early every morning to sing about the sunrise, while Bear gets up late to avoid reminders of his limitations. Joseph Bruchac has heard this tale all over the East Coast, including as a Cherokee tale told by Robert White Eagle. He and his storyteller son James note that, as they have expanded the tale in repeated retellings, the dialogue between bear and squirrel has been especially popular with children. Pen-and-ink watercolors fill each page with vivid images of animals, sky and earth.

Bruchac, Joseph and Jonathan London. Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons. Illus. Thomas Locker. Paperstar/Grosset and Dunlop, 1992. "In Native American legends, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons." A poem for each month incorporates a Native American legend about the moon from a different region. The tenth poem, "Moon of Falling Leaves," is a Cherokee story about trees that fall asleep losing their leaves each year, while trees that stay awake keep theirs (the same tale is used in Keepers of Life, below). A note at the end explains different Native American conceptions of time and seasons. Locker's beautiful realistic paintings of natural scenes cover 3/4 of each double-page spread.

Caduto, Michael J. and Joseph Bruchac. Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children. Illus. John Kahionhes Fadden and Carol Wood. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1988. A collection of Native American stories, each accompanied by discussion, questions, and ecological activities for children ages 5 to 8 or 9 to 12. "Native Americans emphasize a close relationship with nature versus control over the natural world. In many stories the lessons are taught both directly and through metaphors" (xxiii). The activities focus on sensory awareness of Earth, understanding of Earth, caring for Earth, or caring for people. Ample background and guidelines for teachers are included. A wall map is available to accompany the book." The Coming of Corn” and “Awi Usdi, The Little Deer” are Cherokee tales from North Carolina. Others in this series include Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children (1994); Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children (1991, contains Cherokee tale ""Why Possum Has a Naked Tail") and Keepers of Life: Discovering Plants through Native American Stories and Earth Activities for Children (1994, Foreword by Appalachian writer Marilou Awiakta; contains Cherokee story "Why Some Trees Are Always Green").

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit and the Well and Rabbit Goes to Kansas. Illus. Murv Jacob. 2006. Cyber Storybooks with audio by Duvall and beautiful color paintings by Jacob (by the author and illustrator of the Grandmother Stories Series and Cherokee World Series of picture books). In Rabbit and the Well, a drought is drying up the Long Man, or river by Ji-Stu's home. The other animals try to make pots to save water and hold councils led by Terrapin to find better solutions. Ji-Stu (Rabbit) knows of water underground. Terrapin calls on the forces of nature and digging animals to help dig a well, but Ji-Stu angers everyone by not helping to dig, just taking credit for the idea. He finds it easy to steal water from the well but the other animals trick him with a tar wolf when they catch him. It begins to rain after Otter uses his oil to help Ji-Stu get free of the tar wolf and he promises not to steal again. In Rabbit Goes to Kansas, Ji-Stu goes on a quest to find birds with red and blue feathers in the north. Landscape and animals of Kansas become part of this adaptation of The Animal Ball Game (in connection with an exhibit of Jacob's art in Kansas).

Tall Tales

Many Tall Tales also contain pourquoi elements with fantastical explanations for natural phenomena or features of landscape. For example, Tony Beaver is a legendary West Virginia woodsman, a cousin of Paul Bunyan, who was said to have discovered the Eel River and invented many things. Another type of tall tale, such as The Walking Catfish, an example of the tale type 1970, Unnatural Natural History, shows ordinary people having extraordinary experiences connected with hunting or fishing.

Hillchild: A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children. Edited by Dr. Judy Byers and Noel W. Tenney, West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State College. Vol. 1, 2002, contains stories, background, and related activities on tall tales. "Man of West Virginia" and "A Problem Solved" are short Tony Beaver tales collected by Ruth Ann Musick, from the WV Folklife Center archives. In them, Tony and his giant oxen cut enough firewood to save everyone in WV from freezing, and he grows a potato big enough to feed all the men of his log camp for six months (until the rest of the potato rotted). "Potatocus Cornus Pumpkinus" also comes from the tradition of tall tales about fantastical vegetables. Lazy Jim inadvertently plants a crop that combines corn, pumpkins, and potatoes in the same plant. Vol. 2, 2003, has the theme of nature. See description at AppLit's Appalachian Folktales in General Collections and Journals.

Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. Illus. Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Dutton, 1994. N. pag. Introduces a tall-tale heroine as awesome as Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. Zelinsky’s dramatic paintings (created on wood panels) depict Swamp Angel’s growth into “the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee” and her impact on the landscape when her long struggle with a bear stirs up enough dust to create the atmosphere of the Smoky Mountains.

Kellogg, Steven. Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind CrockettNew York: Mulberry, 1995. One of Kellogg's many humorous, colorful tall tale retellings. In this version of her life, Sally Ann is born in the mountains of Kentucky, able to beat her brothers and others in various contests of strength and speed. She has many adventures (based on 8 tales in Davy Crockett's almanacs, 1834-56): she scares a bear out of its skin, "invents" bald eagles, marries Davy Crockett, and causes a tornado of flying alligators. Teacher Resource File on Steven Kellogg at JMU.

Shelby, Anne. The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree. Illus. Cor Hazelaar. New York: Atheneum, 2009. Shelby retells and embellishes a southeastern Kentucky legend she heard from her uncle, about a man in Harlan County who went to live in a sycamore tree, growing new hair and teeth when he was old. Shelby's Harlan Burch, a carpenter, becomes young again while living in his tree and lives on to age 142, planting many trees and leaving descendants living in the woods as he did. Hazelaar's acrylic illustrations are double-page scenes with several little squares along one edge, containing images connected with the story. Her notes and diagrams at the end explain her desire to pay tribute to quilting traditions and identify each image in the inserts, some of which are regional animals or plants or traditional objects such as corn husk and limberjack dolls.

Jack Tales

Stephenson, Rex. "Jack and the Giants." Retold in 2010, Ferrum Virginia. Full text in this web site. As in Stephenson's earlier story theatre script for his Jack Tale Players ("Jack Fear-No-Man"), the plot revolves around the King of Virginia's desire to stop giants from destroying his trees. Jack accepts the challenge and defeats the giants by tricking them, as in other "Jack and the Giants" tales. Some older tales of Jack and the Giants also say that giants are taking trees and tearing up the country.

Other Jack Tales in which elements of nature play a big role include Jack and the North-West Wind, Jack and the Bean Tree, and Wicked Jack or Wicked John and the Devil.

Other Folklore and Legends

Cohn, Amy L., ed. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993. See especially the sections “Bridging the Gap” and “Tricksters.” Wonderful art by awarding-winning illustrators of children’s books.

Haley, Gail. Noah's Ark. New York: Atheneum, 1971. N. pag. Not set in Appalachia, but Haley is an Appalachian artist/writer who created an ecological picture book as forceful as Dr. Seuss's The Lorax, published in the same year. Noah protects the animals until humans clean up the earth and they can return to a utopian world of harmony among species.

Hicks, Orville, and Julia Taylor Ebel. Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns, As Told By Orville Hicks. Illus. Sherry Jenkins Jensen. Boone, NC: Parkway Publishers, 2009. Afterword by Thomas McGowan. 189 pp. More than twenty tales transcribed by Ebel during her extensive association with Hicks, as well as tributes and biographical material on the popular Beech Mountain storyteller. Includes photographs and many pencil drawings by Jensen. Texts of folk songs and riddles also appear, as well as stories written by Hicks that had not been told publicly, including one in his own handwriting. Some of the tales are about people, natural environment, farming and folkways in his own family history, including animals and food. Contains a glossary with notes on Orville's words and grammar, a study guide section with discussion questions and activities, and bibliographic material.

Kidd, Ronald (comp.). On Top of Old Smoky: A Collection of Songs and Stories from Appalachia. Illus. Linda Anderson.  Nashville, TN:  Ideals Children's Books, 1992. The traditional song "The Green Grass Grew All Around" (also sung in other regions) focuses on links among the parts of a tree, as well as illustrating the rhythmic repetition of words and images in poetry and folklore.  The folk tales are "Jack and the Bean Tree," "Jack and the Varmints," "Jack and the Cat."  Each selection is accompanied by one colorful folk painting by an artist from the tiny Appalachian town of Clarksville, Georgia.

Milnes, Gerald. Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. New York: Knopf, 1990. Rhymes, song, and riddles collected by the author in WV since 1975. Many of the old rhymes contain images from nature or farm life.

Moser, Barry. Polly Vaughn: A Traditional British Ballad Designed, Illustrated, and Retold in an American Setting. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. N. pag. In a prose retelling of an old ballad that has many variants in America as well as Europe, Moser blends realistic, melodramatic, and supernatural details, using the context of a family feud in Cold Iron Mountain. Jimmy, a young miner who never liked being forced to hunt by his family, is hanged for accidentally shooting Polly, a humble mountain tomboy, before their wedding. The tragic love story and strong anti-hunting theme are of interest to older readers. Moser’s paintings in all three of his Appalachian fairy tale books contain striking portraits of the characters.

Moser, Barry. Tucker Pfeffercorn: An Old Story Retold. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994. Moser’s brilliant feminist retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin” places the tale of patriarchal tyranny and a victimized female laborer in a coal town. Bessie, a “fearless and strong willed” young miner’s widow, defends her baby against the threats of Hezakiah Sweatt, the ruthless coal boss who makes her try to spin cotton into gold, and the mysterious little man who spins the gold. Bessie Grace does not marry her oppressor, but migrates to Cincinnati in the end.

Mushko, Becky. "Ferradiddledumday" (A Blue Ridge version of "Rumpelstiltskin"). Full text in AppLit. Many details from the flora and fauna of the Blue Ridge mountains in southwestern Virginia are woven through this folktale adaptation. Study Guide in AppLit.

"Nine Cat Tails." In Roberts, Leonard (collector). Old Greasybeard: Tales From the Cumberland GapIllus. Leonard Epstein. Detroit: Folklore Associates, 1969. Rpt. Pikeville, KY: Pikeville College Press, 1980. pp. 138-40. A widow with three children moves around their valley because of harsh weather conditions. The moon appears before her and tells her how to get a place that is not too hot or cold, not dark, with not too much wind, and not too much or too little overgrowth. The woman uses moondust the moon gives her to catch nine cats who need their tails back. They attack a witch who had stolen them and the widow recovers their tails from the seam of the witch's petticoat, as the moon had instructed. They leave the witch for dead and break the spell she had put on the elements. The widow finds her children "playing in the flowers. The darkness had disappeared and the spell over the valley was broken. The widder woman lived there with her chillern ever after." Roberts could trace this tale to no known tale type or motif, but his Knox County informant in 1957 had heard it from her grandmother, who was born about 1835.

See AppLit's Bibliography of Folktales in Children's Literature and Collections.

Ferrum College Greenhouse
Garber Hall
  Blue Ridge Farm Museum, Ferrum College
Photo by Elise Kirchoff, May 2000


Ballard, Sandra L., and Patricia L. Hudson, eds. Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Lexington: Univ. Press of KY, 2003. The first comprehensive Appalachian anthology of writing by women. Contains short selections of poetry and prose by 105 writers, including "When Earth Becomes an 'It'" by Marilou Awiakta, an excerpt from Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, an excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, excerpt from Our Mountain by Ellen Harvey Showell, and many others that deal with nature and environment. Biography and references are given for each author. See section Living in this World: Nature/Environment in Thematic Table of Contents for Listen Here in AppLit.

Branch, Michael P. and Daniel J. Philippon, ed. The Height of Our Mountains: Nature Writing from Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Foreword by John Elder. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. "It covers everything from the first European account of seeing the Blue Ridge up to a piece published in 1996" (note by Ralph Lutts). See details, cover, reviews at

Appalachian selections in Finch, Robert and John Elder, eds. The Norton Book of Nature Writing. New York: Norton, 1990.

Ellis, Ron, ed. Of Woods and Waters: A Kentucky Outdoors Reader. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005. Essays, poems, and fiction from 1889-2005, including an excerpt from "The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon," an excerpt from Gina. Jamie. Father. Bear.  by George Ella Lyon, "Our Wiff and Daniel Boone" by Jesse Stuart," poems "Hunter" and "Mountain Fox Hunt" by James Still, selections by Wendell Barry, Harry Caudill, Jim Wayne Miller, and many others..

Higgs, Robert J., Ambrose N. Manning, and Jim Wayne Miller, eds. Appalachia Inside Out: A Sequel to Voices from the Hills. 2 vols. Knoxville: U of TN Pr, 1995. Essays, stories, and poems on all aspects of Appalachian studies, including folklore, humor, and education. Vol. 2, chap. 3 is on "Folklore, Mythology, and Superstition."

Appalachia Inside Out, Vol. 1: Conflict and Change
Has sections on Nature and Progress; Labor, Wealth and Commonwealth, Minorities, etc.
See poems by:
John Beecher on union marchers
Don West, “Kentucky Miners” and “Harlan Portraits”
James Still on coal camps, etc.
Mike Yarrow, “Miners’ Wisdom”
Jeff Daniel Marion on farm people
Nan Arbuckle, “Grandfather’s Song”
Ambrose Manning recording chants of workers
George Scarbrough, “Tenantry”
Bettie Sellers on woman’s work
Robert Morgan, “Passenger Pigeons”
Barbara Smith, “Appalachian April”
Bob Henry Baber, “The Stripping of Cold Knob”
Muriel Miller Dressler, “Go Tell the Children” about mountains dying
George Ella Lyon, “Progress” on woman getting electricity—wants hi fi
Bernard Stallard, “Transition”
Marilou Awiakta, “When Earth Becomes an ‘It’”
D. Chiltoskie, “The New Indians”
Pam Taylor, “I Am Indian, I”
Effie Waller Smith, “My Native Mountains” (African Amer.)
Rita Bradley, “I Y’Am What I Y’Am” on being black and Scotch-Irish in mountains
Jo Carson, “Crows” on shooting crows in corn
R. T. Smith, “Yonosa House” on Tuscarora grandma

Essays on Nature and Progress (chap. 5) are by John Muir, David Whisnant, Durwood Dunn, Michael Joslin, Ricky Cox, and Charlotte Ross.

Appalachian selections in Lane, John and Gerald Thurmond, eds. The Woods Stretched for Miles: New Nature Writing from the South. Athens: Univ. of GA Press, 1999.

McNeil, Nellie, and Joyce Squibb, ed. A Southern Appalachian Reader. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1989. This textbook with teaching aids has chapters on Oral Traditions, Local Color and Realistic Tradition, Contemporary Authors Search for a Usable Past, How America Came to the Mountains, Moving Mountains: The Struggles of the Coal Industry, The Change Hits Home, Appalachian Emigration, and The Sense of Place in Appalachian Writing.

Appalachian selections in Ross, Carolyn, ed. Writing Nature: An Ecological Reader for Writers. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995. "The first ecologically themed reader to feature an extensive exploration of rhetorical issues. Thematically, the text presents diverse readings about human experiences of nature and relationships between people and the natural world" (Preface).

Appalachian selections in Walker, Melissa, ed. Reading the Environment. New York: Norton, 1994. Anthology for college teaching:


Abbey, Edward. Appalachian Wilderness: The Great Smoky Mountains. Illus. Eliot Porter. Dutton, 1970. Reprint ed. Gallery Books, 1988. Also Arrowood Press, 1994. Epilogue by Harry Caudill. Abbey was from Indiana, PA (which he wrote about disparagingly) and was most famous for writing about the southwestern American region that he loved. He also lived in western NC for a short time and researched Appalachian history for this book. Because it is a "coffee table book" with 45 photographs by Porter, it received less attention than Abbey's other books. Abbey favored preserving wilderness, keeping roads out of national parks, and having direct contact with nature through wilderness adventures. The text with harsh criticism of industrial tourism, treatment of the Cherokees, and degradation of the environment contrasts with the beautiful photographs of the mountains. See also Edward Abbey: A Life by James M. Cahalan. Tuscan: Univ. of Arizona Press, 2001.

Andryszewski, Tricia. Step by Step Along the Appalachian Trail. Brookfield, Conn: Twenty-First Century Books, 1998. "An overview of the natural history of the Appalachian Trail and of historical events related to the route, an imaginary hike up the trail, and a description of what can be seen and experienced along the way." Listed for elementary and junior high readers.

Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People. DVD. Shown on PBS in April 2009. A four-part series by Jamie Ross and Ross Spears. Narrated by Sissy Spacek. Cultural developments are connected with the natural history of the region, as the series "explores the intersection of natural history and human history in one of America’s grandest treasures," beginning with the geologic history of the mountains. In Part One: Time and Terrain, a Cherokee teacher tells a story about the creation of the earth, speaking in Cherokee with a voice-over in English. Later speakers tell the Cherokee account of animals trying to get revenge on humans for killing them by spreading disease, but the plants liked humans and provided cures. Author Wilma Dykeman helps tell about Cherokee history and myths. Clips by Dykeman and other participating authors can be seen on the web site.

Awiakta, Marilou. Selu. See above under Literature for Adults.

Bauer, Jennifer. Exploring Nature in the Southern Appalachians. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 2006. See details at publisher web site.

Berry, Wendell. A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972.

Berry, Wendell. Home Economics. San Francisco: North Point, 1987.

Berry, Wendell. What Are People For. San Francisco: North Point, 1990. Topics covered by this important Kentucky writer include consumerism, wilderness, coal mining, nature, the environmental movement, how to be at home on the planet.

Bonta, Marcia. Appalachian Spring, 1991. Appalachian Autumn, 1994. Appalachian Summer, 1999. Appalachian Winter, 2005. All by University of Pittsburgh Press. Bonta chronicles her observations through the seasons on her mountain land in SE Pennsylvania.

Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Broadway, 1997. Humorous memoir about middle-aged Bryson (a popular travel writer) and his college friend Stephen Katz setting out in Georgia to walk the Appalachian Trail.

Campbell, Carlos C. Birth of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains. 1978. Rev. ed. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2005. Publisher description: "Tracing the events that led to the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Campbell shows how the story behind the creation of the park is one of frustration, despair, political bias, and even physical violence."

Catlin, David T. A Naturalist's Blue Ridge Parkway. Knoxville: Univ. of TN Press, 1984.

Deeds, Jean M. There are Mountains to Climb. Silverwood Press, 1997. A woman hikes 2000 miles on the Appalachian trail at age 51.

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. New York: Harper and Row, 1974. A Pulitzer-Prize winning book of reflections on details of the landscape that influenced Dillard. Tinker Creek is near Hollins College (now University) in Roanoke VA, where Dillard studied and lived.

Dyer, Joyce, ed. Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers. Lexington, KY: University Press of KY, 1998. Essays from various women authors, including George Ella Lyon, author of many books for children and adults.

Dykeman, Wilma and Jim Stokely. Highland Homeland: The People of the Great Smokies. D.C.: National Park Service, 1978. 191 pp. "Abstract: More than 6,600 separate tracts of land, purchased by the citizens of Tennessee and North Carolina and given to the people of the United States in 1934, comprise the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The history of the Great Smokies is, therefore, a story of people and their home. This volume presents historical vignettes of the groups who founded the region: the Cherokees who built a way of life in harmony with nature; the pioneers who cleared the land of trees and stones to cultivate crops; the trailblazers who constructed roads that challenged rough terrain and mountain ranges; the mountaineers who developed proud individualism and fierce clan loyalties; the loggers who brought manpower, sophisticated equipment, railroads, and fires. Among the many individuals featured are: Sequoyah..., developer of the Cherokee alphabet; Yonahguskah, counselor chief of the Cherokees; Arnold Gryot, Swiss geographer and mapper of the Smokies; Edward Clarence Conner, settler and diarist; Horace Kephart, initiator of the movement for a national park; and Major J. Ross Eakin, first park superintendent. Detailed are distinctive regional features: rail fences, sourwood, ginseng, rifle making, spinning and weaving, mountain music, folk beliefs, handicrafts, and cemeteries. Included are historic photographs, many taken in the 1930's, from the files of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park" (ERIC item ED173014).

Fisher, Stephen L., ed. Fighting Back in Appalachia: Traditions of Resistance and Change. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1993. Details from publisher at this link. Sixteen essays on problems and activism in Appalachia since 1960, including environmental issues, by a professor at Emory and Henry College in southwestern VA.

Graf, Mike. Mammoth Cave National Park. Mankato, Minn: Bridgestone Books, 2004. "Describes Mammoth Cave National Park in KY, including its location, history, plants and animals, weather, and activities for visitors."

Greer, Jerry D. (photographer). Appalachia: The Southern Highlands. Mountain Trail Press, 2006. 66 pp.

Haskell, David George. The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Viking, 2012. "A fascinating book that, for a year, closely follows the natural wonders occurring within a tiny patch of old-growth Tennessee forest" (according to Pulitzer Prize web site). Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. From publisher's description: "David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth [eastern] Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each short chapter begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands--sometimes millions--of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home. Written with grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity."

Horan, Jack. Where Nature Reigns: The Wilderness Areas of the Southern Appalachians. Down Home Press, 1997.

Houk, Rose. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Johnson, Skip. River on the Rocks: The Birch River Story. Parsons, WV: McClain Printing, 2001. 406 pp. "The title of the book reflects the geologic gifts that make West Virginia’s Birch River unique. Color photos" (publisher's description).

Joslin, Michael. Appalachian Bounty: Nature's Gifts From The Mountains. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press. "A collection of essays and photographs" giving a tour of the region. See cover and description at Overmountain Press web site, which lists a number of other books on the land and history of Appalachia.

Kalantzis, Mary, Bill Cope, Maurice Leonhardt, Sava Pinney, and Lenore Filson. 3rd ed. Ecosystems: The Cherokee and Their Environment. Sydney: Common Ground, 1986. 131 pp.

Linzey, Donald W. Mammals of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Blacksburg, VA: McDonald and Woodward, 1995.

Lovelace, Jeff. Mount Mitchell, Its Railroad, and Toll Road. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1994.

Mass, Leslie. In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60. Rock Spring Press, 2005.

Missing Mountains: We went to the mountaintop but it wasn't there. Ed. Kristin Johannsen, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall. Introduction by Silas House. Afterword by Wendell Berry. Nicholasville, KY: Wind Pub., 2005. Contributions by 35 writers and several photographers. Excerpts and reviews available at web site.

Nash, Steve. Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner's Manual. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 1999. A guide to environmental problems and controversies in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Nolt, Jon. A Land Imperiled: The Declining Health of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion. Outdoor Tennessee Series. Knoxville: Univ. of Tenn. Press, 2005.

Pierce, Daniel S. The Great Smokies From Natural Habitat to National Park. Knoxville: Univ. of Tenn. Press, 2000. Examination of land use in the Smoky Mountains over 8000 years of human habitation.

Reece, Erik. Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness. Photo. John C. Cox. New York: Penguin, 2006. Foreword by Wendell Berry. The publisher describes it as "A groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction that exposes how radical strip mining is destroying one of America's most precious natural resources and the communities that depend on it."

Rubin, Robert. On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage. Globe Pequot Press, 2001. Rubin's account of hiking the Appalachian Trail in his 30s has been praised by many readers and reviewers.

Salsi, Lynn. The Life and Times of Ray Hicks: Keeper of the Jack Tales. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2008. This biography is based on Salsi's extensive interviews and visits with Ray Hicks and his family late in his life. Includes photographs by Salsi and some older family photos. The introduction explains why Salsi chose to compile her interviews with Ray into a first-person narrative that retains many features of his dialect. One of many topics discussed involves tensions between the church's disapproval of secular storytelling at different phases of family history and the earthy tales the Hicks men loved to tell. Ray describes songs, hymns, riddles and stories that were always part of his everyday life, as well as the family's struggles with subsistence farming and other jobs. He tells abut his affinity for his grandfather's tales from the age of four and his identification with the folk hero Jack.

Scarpaci, Joseph L. and Kevin J. Patrick, ed. Pittsburgh and the Appalachians: Cultural and Natural Resources in a Postindustrial Age. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006. Eighteen essays.

Simpson, Ann and Rob. Born Wild in the Smokies. Farcountry Pr, 2007. 80 pp. "This collection of candid images by wildlife photographers is devoted entirely to the area's junior residents, ranging from spotted fawns to red-spotted newts, from furry bobcat kittens to downy owlets. Come along and witness these creatures at play, exploring the new world that surrounds them" (from web site of the Great Smoky Mountains Association).

Simpson, Marcus B., Jr. Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 1992

Stephenson, Steven L. Upland Forests of West Virginia. Parsons, WV: McClain Printing, 2007. Information from over 20 experts.

Straw, Richard Alan and H. Tyler Blethen, ed. High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Place and Time. Univ. of Illinois Press, 2004. Essays by a variety of scholars on Appalachian land and history.

Tate, J. R. Walkin' with the Ghost Whisperers: Lore and Legends of the Appalachian Trail. Philadelphia: Xlibris (self-publishing service), 2005.

Terwilliger, Karen, ed. Virginia's Endangered Species. Blacksburg, VA: McDonald and Woodward, 1991.

Thornborough, Laura. The Great Smoky Mountains. 1962. Rev. ed. Drawings by Vivian Moir. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2005. Publisher description: "This volume shows why millions of people keep visiting the Great Smoky Mountains every year to discover new vistas, marvel at the variety of plant and animal life, and gain understanding and appreciation of the people who made the mountains their home."

Weidensaul, Scott. Mountains of the Heart. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1994. On the references page in The Rosewood Casket, Sharyn McCrumb calls this book "a truly lyrical guide to the natural history of Appalachia."

"Where We've Been Today" - poem by Ferrum College Appalachian Cluster and Team Estonoa in St. Paul, VA, April 10, 2010, written collaboratively at the award-winning Wetlands Estonoa in southwestern Virginia, where high school students are engaged in restoring a wetland area and revitalizing their town.

Whisnant, Anne Mitchell and David E. Whisnant. When the Parkway Came. Chapel Hill, NC: Primary Source Publishers, 2010. 47 pp. Photographic history of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which was 75 years old in 2010. The text is a first-person fictionalized narrative based on the real family of S. A. Miller; an eight-year-old child tells about drives on the Parkway with her grandfather, who tells her about the period of time when the Parkway was built, taking land that went right through the family farm in western NC when the grandfather was a boy. "The Parkway's Past and Future: A Historical Note" is 2 pages at the end with a map. Sources of the many historic photographs are given.

Williams, John Alexander. Appalachia: A History. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 2002.

Winters, Kelly. Walking Home: A Woman's Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail. Alyson Pub., 2001.

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