Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky

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9780060291358: Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky

It's 4:30 in the morning, and the "book woman" and her horse are already on their way. Hers is an important job, for the folks along her treacherous route are eager for the tattered books and magazines she carries in her saddlebags.

During the Great Depression, thousands lived on the brink of starvation. Many perished. In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progess Administration under his 1933 New Deal initiative. The WPA was designed to get people back on their feet. One of its most innovative programs was the Pack Horse Library Project of Eastern Kentucky.

Thoroughly researched and illustrated with period photographs, this is the story of one of the WPA's greatest successes. People all over the country supported the project's goals. But it was the librarians themselves -- young, determined, and earning just $28 a month -- who brought the hope of a wider world to people in the crooks and hollows of Kentucky's Cumberland Mountains.

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About the Author:

Kathi Appelt is the award-winning author of many children's books, including Bat Jamboree, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, and Incredible Me!, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Ms. Appelt teaches creative writing to both children and adults and lives in College Station, Texas.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 4-6-Imagine a cold, steep trip up a mountain path; it is icy and a light rain falls. A woman is riding an old horse and has a bag full of books to deliver. The families she stops to see are waiting for her, a one-room schoolhouse full of children greet her at the door. One woman walks nine miles to meet her and exchange her books and magazines. This is a day in the life of a pack-horse librarian. From 1935 to 1943, local Kentucky women were paid a meager salary as part of the WPA to do just this. Appelt and Schmitzer present an in-depth look at this unusual book-delivery system. With clear, thorough information, they take readers back to Depression-era Appalachia. Details of the project, such as why local women were the best choice to deliver the books, how materials were obtained, and how the delivery circuit worked, are offered in a readable format. The authors capably describe the isolated and poverty-ridden lives of the Kentucky mountain folk. Generously illustrated with black-and-white photographs, this book paints a complete picture of one WPA project. Extensive source notes are included. Pair this fascinating title with Rosemary Wells's Mary on Horseback (Viking, 1999) for an intimate look at the Appalachian region during the Great Depression.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Aloha, OR

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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