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That Book Woman



by
Heather Henson
pictures by
David Small

Edition
-
Publisher
Atheneum
Imprint
Atheneum
ISBN
9781416908128

Awards and Honors
NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2009, History/Life and Culture in the Americas
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
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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.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

40

Trim Size

10" x 8"

Dewey

E

AR

4.3: points 0.5

Lexile

AD920L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

1

JLG Release

Nov 2008

Book Genres


Topics

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

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

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

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 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.

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 reading.

Praise & Reviews

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 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.

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 reading.

Grades 2-4
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