Booking Across The USA in West Virginia

Today’s the Day! 
I am Booking Across the USA 

Today I am linking up with Jodie from 
Growing Book by Book and more than 50 bloggers who are sharing books from each state and an activity or project to compliment the book. If you are a regular reader of my then blog you know I live in Ohio. But, I don’t claim Ohio as my home. I claim West Virginia because my roots run very deep there and it will always be home to me. So I’m participating in Booking Across the USA as a true blue hillbilly mountaineer West Virginian.

Little Man and I have been fans of Cynthia Rylant for a long time. Her books from the Henry and Mudge Series have been a favorite of ours and I’m sure boys everywhere for a long time. When I began researching books for this project I was pleased to discover that she was born and raised up in Cool Ridge, West Virginia in the 4-room home of her grandparents and “other relatives.” She has said of her life there, “We children had to make-do with each other and what we found in the mountains, and do you know, I was never bored.”  

Today I want to tell your about her very first book “When I Was Young in the Mountains” which was illustrated beautifully by Diane Goode © 1982. Published by E.P. Hutton. It received the 1983 Caldecott Honor. 

In this book Cynthia Rylant describes the simplistic beauty of life in the mountains. She paints a beautiful word picture of a family who worked and loved well together. 

The book is about a little girl who lives in the  home of her grandparents. Her grandfather, like so many men of the region was a coal miner. In the book the girls says of him, “Grandfather came home in the evening covered with black dust of a coal mine. Only his lips were clean and he used them to kiss the top of my head.” This statement truly rings true in my memory of my own daddy as he came home in the evenings in much the same way. Cynthia weaves the story of the little girl and her way of life in the mountains showing a gentleness and the slow pace of simpler times. From worship in the schoolhouse to swimming in the water hole you can see the ideals of a people who rely God and each other for their every need. 

In the story is a country store. These stores were once common to every small community in the state. They carried a little of everything from dry goods and bologna, to brooms and britches. Locals relied on these stores to keep them stocked up on necessaries until a big trip to the nearest town could be made.

The little girl and boy of the book can be seen doing the chore of carrying water. This chore is something that is still commonly seen in coal mining communities in the state. Mining is both a blessing and a curse to the state. It is the largest industry in the state and provides much needed jobs that pay well. But it’s dangerous for the workers as well as for residents. Mining often causes water contamination which is why you will see folks still carrying fresh drinking water into their homes, whether it be from a local clean spring or the nearest big box grocery.

My favorite part of the story is just before the end. when the author shares about evenings in the mountains. As I read, I felt like I could close my eyes and be transported back to my childhood with mom stringing beans while daddy sang folk songs with the children while sitting on the porch. Each mountaineer family has it’s own version of this ritual but the sounds of the mountains are common and plentiful, like the bobwhites that the little girl of the story listens to on her own porch.

For Dinner Tonight:
In the book the little girl describes what is a staple meal in the state of West Virginia. Pinto Beans and Corn Bread. Every family has their own choice of favorite side item with this meal for the little girl it was fried okra, for my family (not me so much) it was green onions. She also shared in a different part of the story drinking cocoa by the stove. I’m sharing my family recipe for Pinto Beans, Corn Bread. I do hope that if you read the book, you’ll consider giving this much loved staple a try!






I’m sharing my family’s best childhood activity:  Tin Can Alley
This game has been played up hollers (hollows), in school house yards, and church yards for many generations. I’ve tried, to no avail, to find the origins of this game. All I’ve discovered are some written recollections in stories and biographies of childhood memories of the game in play. So here are the rules and my own recollections as well. This game is not to be confused with the Carnival Game of shooting at cans.

This is a group play hide-n-seek type game. It’s ideal for mid to large size groups of cousins, or school groups, or friends who live on the same street. The more children who play the funner the game is.

You’ll need:

3 Tin Cans
(I realize most can’s today are made from aluminum, any three soup or vegetable cans will work)

A person is chosen to be IT. (There are no clear directions on how this position is chosen.)

The IT person stacks the 3 cans one on top of the other. Then, one of the other players knocks them down. (The goal here is to scatter them.) Then everyone runs and hides.

The IT person has to stack the cans before he/she can search for the hiders. Once the cans are stacked then the search can begin. 

When the searcher finds a hider they yell. “1-2-3 on Suzie. (child’s name)” Then Suzie or whomever is out and goes and sits down.

But the IT person has to watch his back. Any hider can sneak up and knock down the cans again. Once they are down then he has to stack them before he can continue searching. 

Play continues until all the hiders are found or seen trying to sneak to knock down the cans. 

 Once all the hiders are found the next IT person is the first person out of the game.

My mom and daddy played this game when they were growing up in the 40’s and 50’s Then daddy played with my cousins and my siblings as we were growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Many hours were spent up the holler (hollow) playing and running and hiding and knocking down cans. Laughter echoed off the mountains and memories were buried deep in the hearts of children. Memories that have spanned multiple generations.



Special thanks

To our host Jodie from Growing Book by Book.

Be Sure to Stop by her page and register

for 2 Great Give Away’s!

2/25/13 A 3-Month Subscription to Little Passports USA Edition 

2/26/13 A USA Bingo Game from e-boo.


Be sure to visit all the other participants in the

Booking Across the USA book tour. 
Especially my co-representative of the 
great state of West Virginia Mama’s Like Me.

It’s sure to be quite the adventure.

Just a note: We are still waiting on 4 posts to be published, as soon as they are I will update the list. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Alabama: Everyday Snapshots 

Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days

Arizona: Simply Kinder and Think, Wonder, & Teach

Arkansas: The Planted Trees

California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom 

Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now

Connecticut: The Teacher Park

Delaware: Mama Miss

Florida: Teaching Stars

Georgia: Fabulously First 

Hawaii: Teaching With Style

Idaho: True Aim Education

Illinois: Growing Book by Book

Indiana: Teach Preschool

Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

Kansas: KCEdventures

Kentucky: Chicken Babies

Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog

Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care

Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes

Massachusetts: Mama Smiles 

Michigan: Play DrMom

Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory

Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!

Montana: The Honey Bunch

Nebraska: The Good Long Road

Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

New Hampshire: Elementary Matters

New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing 

New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom 

New York: What Do We Do All Day

North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog 

North Dakota: ND HealthWorks

Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog 

Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher 

Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time

Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade

South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom

South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory

Tennessee: No Monkey Business

Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen

Utah: Teach Beside Me 

Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog

Virgina: Once Upon a Story, and The Freckled Homeschooler 

Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama 

West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me 

Wisconsin: Reading Confetti 

Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle

USA: The Corner on Character

What is your favorite book for YOUR state? Share it in comments.

Renée at Great Peace Academy




This post is part of the iHN Massive Guide to Homeschool Reading Lists.

Reading Lists


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