East Tennessee Historical Society and Knox County Public Library present Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children's Literature, June 16- Sept 14

This bibliography demonstrates the diversity of voices that comprise the genre of Appalachian children's literature.

Caldecott Award Winners

Appalachian children's literature exists because of the many talented authors and illustrators who tell its stories. The illustrators of these award-winning books received the well-deserved recognition of the Caldecott Award or Honor, awarded to the most distinguished American picture books for children published during the preceding year.

Newbery Award Winners

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Beginning as early as 1940 and continuing to the present day, Appalachian children's literature has been included in this distinguished group.

Early Voices

Examining literature about Appalachia, by Appalachians, reveals that few children’s books were published in the late 1800s. Fewer still remain available today. The stories that do survive often center on frontier life, recounting experiences of native peoples and early pioneers.

At times grounded in history, at times romanticized, these early Appalachian children’s books fueled future retellings of heroic pioneers and their battles against the land, wildlife, and native populations. Many iconic images and characters rooted in the 1800s endure today.

Early Mountain Voices

The authors who first contributed their mountain voices to Appalachian children's literature were largely responsible for the establishment of the genre. Their stories often depict traditional mountain life. Rebecca Caudill, May Justus and others laid the groundwork for Appalachian authors who followed decades later.

African American Voices

In the 1970s, authors and titles began to appear that represent African American voices in Appalachian children’s literature. Virginia Hamilton and William Armstrong were early catalysts for this genre.

Asian American Voices

New voices have added to the genre of Appalachian children's literature from around the world. These authors provide a unique perspective from which they can look in on Appalachia and comment on issues common to a global society. Laurence Yep is a prolific Asian American author from California who has family ties to Appalachia: his mother was born in West Virginia and raised in Ohio.

Books in Popular Series

Some of the most popular book series in the country have taken their show on the road and explored Southern Appalachia.