Part of Me: Stories of a Louisiana Family

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9780805063608: Part of Me: Stories of a Louisiana Family
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The lives of four generations of one Louisiana family, woven together by a master storyteller

Tracing a family's roots is like taking a journey through the years. In the case of one Louisiana family, that journey can be charted by the books they read and loved.

The journey begins in 1939 with Rose, who moves with her mother and siblings from rural Texas to live with their estranged grandfather in the Louisiana bayou. Rose connects with this flavorful community through her love of books and by driving a bookmobile. Two decades later, Merle Henry, Rose's son, is more passionate about trapping a mink than about reading, although there is a place in his heart for Old Yeller. In 1973, Merle Henry's daughter, Annabeth, feels torn between reading fairy tales and a crush on a real-life knight in shining armor. And in the present day, Annabeth's son, Kyle, finds himself in a bind: he hates reading, but the only summer job he can get is at the library.

In her people-smart way, Kimberly Willis Holt introduces us to a Louisiana family: touching, lyrical, and always intriguing, their stories reveal the powerful connections between four generations.

Part of Me is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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About the Author:

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the many award-winning novels for young adults and children, including The Water Seeker, My Louisiana Sky, Keeper of the Night, and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, winner of a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She is also the author of the bestselling Piper Reed series of chapter books, and picture books including Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world―from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. She long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. She lives in West Texas with her family.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Time drags when you’re waiting for an alligator to wake up and move. I thought of a song I taught Pie to sing when she jumped rope. And out there in the middle of nowhere, I started to sing, “Mumps, said the doctor. Measles, said the nurse. Vote, said the lady with the alligator purse!”
Marlene stared at me all bug-eyed. I guess I couldn’t blame her. She’d never seen me act silly. By the second time around, though, she was singing with me. We sang louder and louder and darn if that old alligator finally opened his eyes. When he did, we screamed and clung to each other, then burst out laughing. The alligator started slowly moving across the road, dragging his long tail behind him. When he finally had cleared enough road that I could get around him, I held my breath and took off with a chug-chug and pressed down on the accelerator. My heart beat so hard I heard it pounding in my ears. When we’d gone a safe distance, we exhaled together and laughed again.

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