2013-2014 KSDAR SUGGESTED READING LIST
Certificates for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are awarded during State Conference for the largest number of books read from this list.
All Bones be White by Judith Shearer Kentucky author Judith Shearer relates the riveting, true story of Cassy, a slave living in Christian County, Kentucky, who is hanged in 1833 for killing a white woman. Fascinated by Cassy’s story, Ms. Shearer painstakingly researched the circumstances of the murder that led to Cassy’s arrest, trial, and execution. Setting the stage for the tragic events, the author states relevant laws and pertinent facts about slavery in nineteenth century Kentucky. This thought-provoking and powerful book provides insight into a difficult period in American and Kentucky history and is one you will never forget.
Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick In this detailed, well researched book, author Nathaniel Philbrick narrates events that led to the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill and what followed. He brings to life such patriots as physician Joseph Warren, who led rebel forces and lost his life in the battle; Paul Revere; Warren’s fiancé; and George Washington. He also portrays British generals Thomas Gage and William Howe. His powerful description of events and personalities provides background for the beginning of the American Revolution. Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, and a Revolutionis a must read for anyone interested in how our country was born.
The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory All animal lovers will enjoy Cleveland Amory’s The Cat Who Came for Christmas. Delightfully written, this is a heartwarming story about the author fostering a dirty, orphaned cat that turned out to be white after a thorough scrubbing. As he and Polar Bear, the cat, learn how to live together, Mr. Amory experiences the joys, frustrations, and difficulties involved in taking care of a cat. In the process, Polar Bear wins his heart. Included in the book are interesting facts about the history of cats and the Fund for Animals, which the author founded. Those looking for a Christmas story should be warned that this book is more about cats than it is about Christmas; however, it is well worth reading and will cause non-cat lovers to consider owning a cat.
Creeker: A Woman’s Journey by Linda Scott DeRosier Born in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Linda Scott DeRosier writes an honest and humorous account of her life in rural Appalachia. Growing up in a tight-knit community of family and friends, Ms. DeRosier uses her considerable storytelling skills to reveal the complex culture and traditions of the mountain people. Although she left that comfortable and familiar life to become educated and a college professor, she will forever be a woman of Appalachia.
Songs of Life and Grace by Linda Scott DeRosier In this sequel to Creeker, the author continues her memoir with emphasis on her parents, Life and Grace Preston. As she tells their story, she relates values they instilled in her and how their names (Life and Grace) are a reflection of their lives. Both Creeker and Songs of Life and Graceare rich in Appalachian lore, language, and humor and resonate true to the heart of the region. These two captivating memoirs are must reads for all Kentucky Daughters.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard The history-changing assassination attempt of President James Garfield is depicted by author Candice Millard in this compelling book. She relates how men worked to save the president’s life. The misguided physician, Dr. Bliss, took charge of the president’s care, and Alexander Graham Bell created a mechanism to locate the bullet; however, the bullet was not found until after his death, and the autopsy determined that his death was caused by infections. Thrown into the mix is the story of Charles Guiteau, President Garfield’s assassin. A well researched book, the author uses historical documents and discussions with historians to create an interesting text.
Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne Author S.C. Gwynne presents a brilliant account of the 40-year conflict between Comanche Indians and white pioneers fighting for power in the American West. The historical background covers the expansion of America including “Spanish Colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads,” along with the terrifying rein of the Comanche. Interwoven into the narrative is the bittersweet story of Cynthia Ann Parker who was kidnapped by the Comanche Indians in 1836 and lived with them for 24 years. Her legendary son, Quanah Parker, was the last chief of the Comanche. This well-researched and compelling book is powerfully written and relates the struggles of fascinating people.
Growing Up by Russell Baker Delightfully written, this memoir is about the author’s life growing up during the Great Depression with his destitute, widowed mother who wants him to have “gumption,” through his time in the military during World War II, to the meeting and marriage of his wife, and finally, to his ultimate career path of journalism. This two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author writes a touching and heart-warming story that brings a smile to your face as he relates his struggles of growing up and trying to make his way in the world. It covers the time period of his birth in 1925 until his marriage in 1950, when working as a struggling newspaper reporter.
The Good Times by Russell Baker This is a sequel to Growing Up. With his mother’s admonition to have “gumption” always in his mind, Russell Baker continues the entertaining tale of his life. It covers his career in journalism from police reporting to his time in England reporting on the Queen, and later to being a White House correspondent covering Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and other Washington notables.
Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss The Westward Movement and the prospect of becoming rich during the Gold Rush enticed thousands of men to travel west and begin new lives. After arriving on the frontier, single men were lonely for female companionship. So, they began placing personal advertisements for mates in the East. This compelling book relates true stories about mail-order brides. Some matches were successful while others met extreme personal conflict and hardship. The author provides a fascinating account of the men who were anxious to find suitable companions and the women who left behind their current situations for the dream of creating new and better lives
The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott This first book in the Ladies of Covington fictional series by Joan Medlicott finds three unique ladies, Grace, Hannah, and Amelia, of “a certain age” living in a boardinghouse. Their adventurous spirit takes them on a life-changing journey. As the three friends create a new life in an old farmhouse in another state, they share the problems, joys, sorrows, and comforts that many aging women experience. This is truly an inspirational book for women of all ages.
Lee: The Last Years by Charles Bracelen Flood Richmond, Kentucky resident and Harvard graduate, Charles Bracelen Flood masterfully writes about the last five years of Robert E. Lee’s life and how he lived it with grace and dignity. After losing the Civil War and his family’s property, he had a distinguished career as president of Washington University in Lexington, Virginia. To honor his service, the university was later renamed Washington and Lee University. This moving account of an incredible man is a must read to learn of Lee’s love for “God, Home and Country.”
A Memory of Firelight: Selected Columns from the Lexington Herald-Leader by Paul Prather Delightfully written, this collection of columns on faith and values is relevant in today’s world. Many of the essays are about the author’s personal struggles and heart-break during his first wife’s battle with cancer, his role as caregiver, his gradual recovery from her death, and his decision to move forward with his life. These and other essays are thought-provoking, filled with insight and wisdom, and offer practical solutions in a complex world. This is the kind of book from which a person can read short passages each day and be filled with hope for the future.
Reflections on Pearl Harbor by Admiral Chester Nimitz On Sunday, December 7, 1941, “a date that will live in infamy,” the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor destroying or damaging the whole U.S. Pacific Fleet and many airplanes. The following day Congress declared war against Japan. Then on December 11 Germany and Italy entered into an agreement with Japan to join forces against the United States. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Admiral Chester Nimitz Commander of the Pacific Fleet. When he arrived at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Nimitz analyzed the situation and brought a sense of optimism to the beleaguered and demoralized American forces. Under his leadership, morale and the Pacific Fleet were rebuilt. In Reflections on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Nimitz explains why the Japanese made the “three biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make.” This inspirational book is a must read for those interested in American naval history.
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler Author Bruce Feiler interviewed professionals in science, business, sports, and the military to develop guidelines for today’s families. It provides practical advice that every family can use successfully.
That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in The World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman and foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum joined forces to write this thought-provoking nonfiction book about what they consider to be the four major problems confronting America. They identify these problems as globalization, explosion of information technology, America’s deficits, and the nation’s energy consumption. To prove their premise, they use interesting examples and compelling statistics. When presenting possible solutions, they suggest, “Americans will have to save more, consume less, study longer, and work harder.”
In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone by Randell Jones Published in 2005, Randell Jones pays tribute to Daniel Boone, the legendary American frontiersman. This accurate portrayal of the historic figure includes maps and directions, so that the reader can actually follow where Daniel Boone explored. It won the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award in 2006.
Trailing Daniel Boone: Daughters of the American Revolution Marking Daniel Boone’s Trail, 1912-1915 by Randell Jones Historian Randell Jones writes an excellent account of a magnificent project undertaken by Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky placed 45 metal markers on locations where Daniel Boone had traveled. While describing where the markers were erected, Mr. Jones relates historical details and fascinating stories about the area and the people involved during Daniel Boone’s life and the time of the markings. Reading the section about the Daniel Boone trail-marking project in Kentucky is especially interesting. The author notes that DAR chapters from throughout the commonwealth erected markers along Daniel Boone’s Trail, not just chapters located near the trail. This is a must read for all Kentucky daughters.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay A fictionalized account of a real event is the setting of Sarah’s Key. Living in Paris, France, in 1942, ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski, a Jewish girl, is arrested with her parents during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. Thinking they would return soon, Sarah locks her four-year-old brother in a cupboard for safety. Sixty years later Julia Jarmond, an American journalist working in Paris, is asked to write an article about the roundup. As the story unfolds, these two characters are interwoven in a powerful way. This poignant and heart-wrenching book is masterfully written and one you will long remember.
Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and Their Basketry by Sarah H. Hill Creatively weaving the old with the new, the author presents the history of Southeastern Cherokee women by showing how changes in their baskets reveal changes in their culture. This meticulously written book provides an understanding of Cherokee baskets and the women who make them.
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