Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt

First, let's just be upfront about something. I'm a huge fan of diary-type books. You know, books written in letters? Ever since I met Mr. Henshaw through Leigh's eyes when I was in fifth grade, I've been hooked. So when I received a copy of Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt and flipped through the book, I was delighted. Letters! I settled down to read.

Tate has been given an assignment from her teacher – the whole class has. They are to select a pen pal to learn about someone from another location and work on the skill of writing letters. Tate’s teacher has some pen pals in mind, students in Japan. It is 1948 and she believes that might help heal some tensions and create understanding after WWII. Tate, however, has someone else in mind – the new singer, Hank Williams.

Through Tate’s letters we learn about her family, friends, and life in a small town. Tate confides secrets to Mr. Williams and, through the reflection her letter writing provides, begins to heal some old wounds. I loved the character of Tate. She is a feisty, imaginative, loyal, and brave eleven year old. Her voice rings out of these letters as clear as a bell. I think many students will find themselves gripping the pages of the book, turning each one faster and faster, as they fall into Tate’s story and the streets of her small town, Rippling Creek, Louisiana.

I first “met” Kimberly Willis Holt (website) through When Zachary Beaver Came to Town and My Louisiana Sky. Both books are still as popular today in my classroom as they were when they were first released. Her writing is beautiful and mesmerizing. I’m thrilled to introduce my students to Tate and a new story from Holt. This is one they will fall in love with as well.

 Blog Tour
Tuesday, April 7
Read, Write, Reflect
Wednesday, April 8
Eat the Book
Thursday, April 9
Librarian in Cute Shoes
Friday, April 10
Let’s Get Busy
Sunday, April 12
Watch. Connect. Read.
Monday, April 13
The Styling Librarian
Tuesday, April 14
Nerdy Book Club