Holt, Kimberly Willis Dear Hank Williams, 220 pgs. MacMillan (Henry Holt), 2015. $16.99. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.
When 11-year-old Tate’s school teacher assigns the students to write to a pen pal, Tate chooses Hank Williams, a country music singer she hears on the radio every week. A lesson in letter writing, some of the students are writing to Japanese children their teacher has arranged for, but most of her class is writing to family or friends. Set in post WWII Louisiana, Tate’s letters reveal a fiery, stubborn determined girl who is coming to terms with her own war, one she doesn’t even admit she’s fighting.
This is a beautifully written, enjoyable read. Nostalgic without being commercial, Holt weaves historical context (radio shows, post war prejudice) with timeless issues (family dynamics, absent parents) and gives us a realistic character upper elementary girls will readily take to.
EL MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian