Books by May Justus for Children and Young Adults

Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon
Ferrum College

Illustration by Robert Henneberger
in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains

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 Article "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.

"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).

Links on titles go to other AppLit pages where these books or related folk tales are listed.

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

Books by May Justus

At the Foot of Windy Low. Illus. Carrie Dudley. New York: P. F. Volland,1930. 80 pp., 11 chapters. 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.

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

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.

Big Log Mountain. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, 1958. 184 pp.

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.

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. Poems by Justus are "When It Rains" and "Treasure Hunting."

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. An earlier book, The Peddler's Pack was published in 1957.

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.

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

Eben and the Rattlesnake. Illus. Carol Wilde. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing, 1969. Click on thumbnail at left for larger illustration. This 48-page 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 illustration

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.

Fiddler's Fair. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 1945. 32 pp. 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. Story about a puppy.

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., 80p., spine rubbed on rear cover else VG+. 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.

Here Comes Mary Ellen. Illus. Helen Finger. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1940. 140 pp. See also Mary Ellen and Holidays in No-End Hollow.

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. 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), "Little Lihu's Lucky Day," 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. 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 fox-hound breeder.

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

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. (read at ETSU, 10/08/07)

Lizzie. Illus. Christine Chisholm. Chicago: A. Whitman, 1944. 62 pp. Includes music for folk songs. "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. See also Little Lihu in It happened in No-End Hollow.

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.

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 FoolishJack/Swapping Song link.

My Lord and I. Tracy City, TN: M. Justus, Bireline, 1980?. 40 pp. Poems.

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.

New Boy in School. Illus. Joan Balfour Payne. New York: Hastings House, 1963. 56 pp. Lennie Lane adjusts to his family's move from Newton, Louisiana to Nashville, Tennessee, where he attends an integrated school. Although not set in the mountains, the story was inspired by Justus' own experiences and observations of discrimination. George Brosi recalls that Justus called this one her favorite book (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.

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.

"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.

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 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. Illus. Jean Tamburine. New York: Holt, 1953. 141 pp. Click on thumbnail at right 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, and the Thanksgiving story in Holidays in No-End Hollow.]

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. 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 FoolishJack/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. 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.

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. Illus. Sanford Tousey. Chicago: Albert Whitman,1949. 28 pp. illus.

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 for 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.

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.

Links, Reprints, Recordings, and References on May 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.

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 on p. 188. 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 Campbel, 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.

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.

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.

"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").

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.

NEW: 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).

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

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 availble 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." Lilian 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, 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

"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."

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

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.

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.

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.

MTSU's Biographical Index to Tennessee Women.

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.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 Papers. Special Collections. University of Tennessee, Nashville.

May Justus Memorial Library in Monteagle, TN was named in memory of Justus in 1988.

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).

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.

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.

"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).

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)".

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.

“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.

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 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.

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 are not all listed here because some are in personal web sites that do not give sources or permissions information.

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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Essay on May Justus as Popular Educator
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