Part of Me
“Papa left the summer the windmill broke.”
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.
The idea for this book started with a picture I saw in Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer. The photo revealed some bookmobile librarians working in a Louisiana bayou community. When I decided to write a generational book, I knew the story would begin there. Each story in this book has its own inspiration, including my own experience of my grandmother taking me to the Rapides Parish Bookmobile when I was a child.
"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
"Holt is a good storyteller who goes to great pains to get it right when writing about Louisiana." -Baton Rouge Advocate