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That Book Woman by Heather Henson/ Illustrated by David Small

High up in the tops of the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky, where there are no schools and strangers are not to be trusted, lives a boy named Cal and his family.Cal has no use for staring at the chicken scratch found in the books that his sister, Lark spends hours reading. He believes in working hard to help the family get by during in the tough times of the Great Depression. That is until he slowly begins to change his mind when a book toting, britches wearing librarian braves craggy creek beds and dangerous mountain paths and deep snow to bring his family books.


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Pack horse librarians

Have you ever heard of a Pack Horse Librarian?
Well, they really existed. In 1935 during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a program called the Works Progress Administration, out of which came the Pack Horse Library Project. Women and a few men were hired at very low wages to deliver used books to people in the rural and mountain areas. These Appalachian families did not have access to schools or libraries. A "Pack horse librarian" or the more often called "Book Woman" braved rugged terrain, stony creek beds, and dangerous cliff top areas traveling as much as 50 to 80 miles a week to deliver reading materials-mostly books that were no longer circulated in public libraries. Why did they risk their lives just to deliver some raggedy discarded books? These dedicated librarians knew the power of books-to connect, to provide valuable life saving information, and to open doors to unfamiliar worlds.

Visit author web site: Heather Henson



Visit Illustrator web site: David Small


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Texas Bluebonnet Book Literature Activities:

Explore the story behind the story-Learn more about "book women, Appalachia history, and why the
Pack horse librarian project was created.

Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Photos of real Pack Horse Librarians or "Those book women"

New Deal Networkenter the words "Pack horse librarian" in the search window. Includes documents and photos.

Appalachian History-Learn more about Pack Horse Librarians and their importance to remote rural families.

Teaching Resources:

That Book Woman printable Reading Guide source: Publisher Simon & Shuster

That Book Woman Discussion Questions and suggested activities provided by the publisher-SImon & Schuster.



bluebonnet_clipart.gifTexas Bluebonnet Book Literature Connections:

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Click to "peek inside"

Clara and the Bookwagon: (I Can Read Book Series: Level 3) by Nancy Smiler Levinson. Illlustrated by Carolyn Croll.
ISBN: 9780064441346; ISBN10: 0064441342; Imprint: HarperCollins Ages: 5 to 8 (2.7 book level) 64 page, historical fiction chapter book based on the true acount of Mary Lemist Titcomb, a Maryland public librarian, who created the first traveling bookwagon in the United States.


Sources:
Article: The book women of Kentucky: the WPA Pack Horse Library Project, 1936-1943.(Works Progress Administration) Article by Boyd, Donald C. Libraries and the Cultural Record March 22, 200. Copyright 2008 University of Texas at Austin (University of Texas Press).