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Books by Horseback

A Librarian’s Brave Journey to Deliver Books to Children

Illustrated by Ilaria Urbinati
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"Capturing one librarian's breathtaking fictional journey is a riveting way to showcase and honor the risky work of these real librarians, and the text communicates a deep reverence for their mission-and their tremendous fortitude. Illustrations depict a pale, red-haired librarian, nearly always smiling despite the obstacles that nature puts in her path. Light and shadow are used effectively to convey Mother Earth's shifting moods... Educational and inspiring." -Kirkus Reviews

Books By Horseback is a breathtaking adventure of a heroic Pack Horse Librarian who braves the harsh terrain of rural Kentucky to bring books to children who need them.

Deep into Appalachia, during the Great Depression food, education, and opportunities were scarce. Kentucky had fallen behind its neighboring states in electricity and highways, and the folks who lived in the craggy, mountainous region were struggling to survive. But courageous librarians were up to the challenge!

Edith, a young Pack Horse Librarian, and her faithful horse Dan, adventure through rough terrain and a pending storm in order to deliver books to kids who desperately need them in this richly illustrated tale. Edith, like all Pack Horse Librarians, heroically risked their own safety to serve the most vulnerable members of their community. Librarians like Edith helped an entire generation learn to read and gain lifesaving knowledge in a critical time in history.

This story of a dedicated Kentucky librarian pays tribute to the Works Progress Administration Pack Horse Library Project of Depression-era Appalachia.
Edith is a packhorse librarian and travels on a daily basis to deliver books to the people who live deep in the hollers of eastern Kentucky. She sets out to deliver a book to 8-year-old William Caudill, who loves tales of derring-do. The trip is a dramatic and challenging one: Edith and her horse brave thunder, lightning, and hard wind and rain, complete with falling trees; slippery mud and steep mountain slopes; rushing creek waters; high mountain ridges a-bristle with thorny branches; and sliding rocks. But Edith's determination is fierce, and she successfully delivers books to the Caudill family, even staying to dry off, warm up, and visit with the family. Capturing one librarian's breathtaking fictional journey is a riveting way to showcase and honor the risky work of these real librarians, and the text communicates a deep reverence for their mission-and their tremendous fortitude. Illustrations depict a pale, red-haired librarian, nearly always smiling despite the obstacles that nature puts in her path. Light and shadow are used effectively to convey Mother Earth's shifting moods. An author's note and bibliography provide further details about the work of these resilient packhorse librarians of the Great Depression: "In the winter...librarians' feet were often frozen to the stirrups." All characters present White.
Educational and inspiring.

– Kirkus Reviews

More books from this illustrator: Ilaria Urbinati