Part of Me
Stories of a Louisiana Family
By Kimberly Willis Holt
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 9780805063608, 224pp.)
Publication Date: August 22, 2006
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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.
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.
"Economical, evocative prose reflects the leisurely pace of Southern living and movingly conveys family tensions, family love, and the power of stories to bring generations together."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Holt once again excels at creating character and an evocative sense of place."
--School Library Journal "There is drama, humor, rebellion, despair--but understated for the most part, quietly moving the reader."
--KLIATT "Lyrical, touching saga."