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About The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.


Review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

As a librarian, this story of the travelling librarian appealed to me even if it not typical of my usual fare.  This is such a good story and so relevant today with all the issues of racism.  While Cussy’s skin color is blue, the prejudices are the same.

The author’s research resulted in a rich tale of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky, the Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project and of the Appalachian life.  Coal miner mistreatment, very poor hill people and domestic violence are also part of the story.  Luckily along with tales of the bad behavior, there are plenty of good aspects of the book too.

I was especially charmed by the moonshiner who did not like it when his family read books instead of doing their chores.  Cussy managed to find books or magazines that would improve the families ability to hunt, fish, sew and cook.  So dad went along and eventually, encouraged his family to read.  Book Woman is a heroine!

The narrator, Katie Schorr, brought intelligence and emotion to Cussy’s voice.  There were many sad, teary moments.  But they were offset by the very good moments.  And a happy ending!



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