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Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky

Kathi Appelt (2001), 64 pages
Audience: 4th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Nonfiction
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Imagine you live in the hills in Southern Kentucky during the Depression. Your parents probably didn't have jobs. You live in a one-room cabin if you are lucky. You certainly don't have any books or magazines to read. Enter the Pack Horse Library Project of Eastern Kentucky, in which librarians were paid to take donated books and other reading materials to the people living in the hills of Kentucky, which were so rugged and remote, the only way to get around was on a pack horse. The women and men who took on this job were usually residents of the area, themselves. Not only did they deliver materials, they stayed and visited with people along the way, and some repaired books and magazines that were falling apart. This book is the story of those librarians and the people they served. It is full of photographs of the librarians at work.
Reviewed by: vverscaj
Date read: 10/25/2010
ISBN-10: 0060291354
ISBN-13: 9780060291358
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Drawing from the City

Teju Behan (2012), 28 pages
Illustrated by Teju Behan
Audience: 3rd Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Biography, Multicultural, Nonfiction
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Teju Behan is a singer and self-taught artist from Western India. Her book is about her life growing up in poverty and becoming an artist as an adult. She tells the story of her rural home where there was often not enough money or food to go around. Her parents worked in the forests and fields, and much of everyone's free time was spent cooking, cleaning, and washing. Her father also sings for a living, going from house to house, singing songs about god, love, pain and happiness. In return people give him money or grain. Teju isn't sure she believes in the village goddess, armed and riding a tiger that supposedly takes care of the poor. Teju doesn't understand why the children are sick and there is no food if the goddess is there to protect them. Eventually her family must move to the city in order to survive. As a young woman, Teju is married off to a man 'with kind eyes.' He sings for a living like her father did back in their village. Teju has never even seen a book before she is married, and it is then she begins to read and write. When her husband encourages her to sing with him in public, she is hesitant because women were not normally allowed to sing in public, but they become traveling singers and this is how they support their family for a while. When life becomes too hard, they return home where her husband gets a job as a singer in a restaurant. Her husband then asks her to try her hand at drawing. 'It is like magic.' she writes, 'I have been moving all my life, looking for ways to survive, but this is a new direction. My heart is full.'
Similar authors: Judith Clay ; Shaun Tan
Similar books: Waterlife ; Thea's Tree ; The Arrival
Reviewed by: lz
Date read: 11/3/2016
ISBN-10: 9380340176
ISBN-13: 9789380340173
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Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall

Michelle Markel (2005), 40 pages
Illustrated by Emily Lisker
Audience: Preschool - 2nd Grade
Category: Biography, Easy Reader, Nonfiction, Picture Books
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'Dreamer From the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall' by Michelle Markel is a young reader's biography of the artist Marc Chagall. Young Mose Segal, (Marc Chagall) grew up in a small village in Russia developing his own artistic style based on the people, places, and images of his homeland. His dream-like images and his use of vibrant colors made him one of the most famous and influencial artists of the 20th century. This beautifully illustrated book gives the young reader a brief glimps of the brilliance of Marc Chagall.
Similar authors: Laurence Anholt; Mary Arrigan
Similar books: Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels by Ann Stalcup; The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt; Mario's Angels: A Story about the Artist Giotto by Mary Arrigan; Matisse the King of Color by Laurence Anholt; Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent Van Gogh by Laurence Anholt
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 7/30/2010
ISBN-10: 0805063730
ISBN-13: 9780805063738
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Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

Don Brown (2015), 96 pages
Illustrated by Don Brown
Audience: 7th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction
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It is not easy to adequately describe a catastrophic tragedy. There are so many different angles from which a disaster can take place that it is hard to know where to begin. Don Brown begins his graphic novel as gently as the hurricane's own beginnings, with a 'swirl of unremarkable wind.' From that seemingly innocuous starting point, in which the wind twirls around a smiling mother and child in Africa in front of a backdrop of blue, the story grows and changes like the storm itself. The pen and ink drawings are colored in digital paint in shades of gray and brown, the peaceful blue never again seen after the first page. The author lays out the events of Hurricane Katrina's wrath and presents the facts in a deceptively neutral style. The failures of the Bush Administration, FEMA, and New Orleans' then-mayor Ray Nagin are precisely identified, as is the heroism of everyday citizens. Brown does not shy away from the death and suffering of so many American citizens but he manages to convey the devastating events in a way that is not too heavy-handed. Drowned City has a broad appeal from middle grades who are learning about it for the first time to adults who watched the ordeal play out on CNN.
Awards nominated: Rebecca Caudill Award
Reviewed by: leigh anne
Date read: 6/29/2017
ISBN-10: 054415777X
ISBN-13: 9780544157774
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Early Farm Life

Lise Gunby (1983), 80 pages
Audience: 3rd Grade - 6th Grade
Category: Historical, Nonfiction
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Most of us think we know something about farm life today, including modern machines, herds of cows, or growing food for families. Farm life in this book is very different. Early Farm Life shows us in pictures and words how families lived on farms as our country expanded west. Old farms were situated by water, the houses built of logs, and the whole family worked together for survival. As you are reading this book it might be fun to, answer in your mind or discuss with someone how you do tasks today that accomplish the same things as they did in early farm days.
Book Series: Early Settler Life
Reviewed by: cjones
Date read: 10/18/2010
ISBN-10: 0865050279
ISBN-13: 9780865050273
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