My Louisiana Sky
"Folks around Saiter don't understand why parents would name their daughter Tiger."
After Granny dies, Tiger Ann Parker wants nothing more than to get out of the rural town of Saitter, Louisiana - far away from her mentally disabled mother, her "slow" father who can't read an electric bill, and the classmates who taunt her. So when Aunt Dorie Kay asks Tiger to live with her in Baton Rouge, Tiger can't wait to go. But before she is able to leave, the sudden revelation of a dark family secret prompts Tiger to make a decision that will ultimately change her life.
Set in the South in the late 1950s, this tender coming-of-age novel explores a twelve-year-old girl's struggle to accept her grandmother's death, her mentally deficient parents, and the changing world around her. It is a novel filled with beautiful language, unforgettable characters, and the importance of family and home.
One day when I was nine years old, my mother and I were riding on a country road in the Louisiana piney woods where she grew up. We passed a lady walking along the side of the road. My mother told me the lady was mentally challenged and that her husband was too.
She said they had a lot of children. That moment haunted me all my life. Soon after I started to write, the voice of Tiger Ann came to me.
So honest is Holt's portrayal of Tiger...and the rest that one wonders if she wrote their story while sitting in a rocker on a Saitter front porch, under the vast promises of a Louisiana sky."
-The Horn Book, starred review
"Lyrical....All the characters, including Tiger's parents, are drawn with warmth but no patronizing reverence....Tiger must give up being a child, but she finds courage in her Louisiana home."
-Booklist, starred review
"Unique....Readers...will admire (Tiger's) courage, loyalty and love for her parents....The author presents and handles a sticky dilemma with remarkable grace."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review