That Book Woman

By: Heather Henson

Illustrator: David Small

Cal's sister "would keep her nose a-twixt the pages of a book daybreak to dusky dark if Mama would allow." Not Cal, though. He can't read; he doesn't see any use for the "chicken scratch" that appears in books, and he has no interest in sitting "stoney-still." But then the Book Woman starts coming 'round, riding up the steep Appalachian mountain on horseback. Every two weeks she brings books for Cal's family-traveling through rain, fog, cold, and snow. Author's note. Full-color ink, watercolor, and pastel chalk illustrations.

ISBN: 9781416908128

JLG Release: Nov 2008


Sensitive Areas: None,
Topics: Appalachia , Chores , Reading , Strangers , Books , Trades , Horses , Bravery , Dedication , Winter , Curiosity , Gratitude , Pride , Happiness

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Awards & Honors

NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2009, History/Life and Culture in the Americas

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

Horn Book

Cal sees no cause to sit "stoney-still / a-staring at some chicken scratch." His sister Lark, however, is an avid reader, and their parents warmly welcome a librarian from the WPA's Pack Horse Library Project into their remote Appalachian home. Small's deft lines and masterful watercolors convey the family's affection and Cal's mixed emotions about Cal sees no cause to sit "stoney-still / a-staring at some chicken scratch." His sister Lark, however, is an avid reader, and their parents warmly welcome a librarian from the WPA's Pack Horse Library Project into their remote Appalachian home. Small's deft lines and masterful watercolors convey the family's affection and Cal's mixed emotions about reading.

Junior Library Guild

As the author’s note explains, the story was inspired by the “true and courageous” work of the Pack Horse Librarians, or “Book Women,” a program founded in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration. Heather Henson and David Small have vividly and memorably brought this piece of rural American history to life through a moving story As the author’s note explains, the story was inspired by the “true and courageous” work of the Pack Horse Librarians, or “Book Women,” a program founded in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration. Heather Henson and David Small have vividly and memorably brought this piece of rural American history to life through a moving story and beautiful, atmospheric illustrations.

Though the Book Woman is central to the story line, for much of the book she appears with her back to the reader or as a small figure traveling in the background. This allows Cal, who narrates the story, to stay in the forefront as he undergoes the transformation from nonreader to reader. Cal is adamant in claiming his lack of interest in books, but Small’s depictions suggest otherwise. Whether observing that his sister is once again lost in the pages of a book or watching the Book Woman from across the room, Cal clearly knows he is missing something, as his furrowed brow and turned-down mouth illustrate. When the Book Woman stops for a visit after a long winter during which Cal’s sister has taught him to read, for the first time Cal is pictured smiling. He has discovered another world.

Book Details

ISBN

9781416908128

First Release

November 2008

Genre

Fiction.

Dewey Classification

E

Trim Size

10" x 8"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.3; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.5; Points: 1;

Lexile

Level AD920L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Atheneum

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None,

Topics

Appalachia, Chores, Reading, Strangers, Books, Trades, Horses, Bravery, Dedication, Winter, Curiosity, Gratitude, Pride, Happiness,

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Cover Art

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