Thursday, June 20, 2013

West Virginia Statehood

On this day in 1863, West Virginia became a state. Originally, the land had been a part of Virginia, but there had long been a divide between the two halves of the state, and during the Civil War, the western part of the state supported the Union, hence the odd circumstances of becoming a state in the middle of a war when Virginia had already succeeded from the Union. To celebrate, we're looking at books that take place in the Mountain State or books written by people from the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.


Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank. In 1953, Lydia's family falls apart after her brother dies of cystic fibrosis, but her mother is charged with killing him and sent to jail. Lydia is sent to live with her aunt and uncle, where she tries to fit in and tries to find a way to clear her mother's name.

My Double Life by Janette Rallison. Alexia lives in Morgantown and has always been told she looks exactly like Kari Kingsley, the pop star. When Kari's publicist sees an online photo of Alexia, she hires her to come to LA to be Kari's body-double. Complications ensue, especially when the girls discover exactly why they look so much alike.

The End Games by T. Michael Martin. After the zombie apocalypse, Michael and his 5-year-old brother live in West Virginia, following the instructions of the Game Master to stay alive. But not everyone follows the rules, and the Game Master's intentions can be hard to determine. Martin lives in Morgantown.


Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt. When you're from Dwyer, a small town in West Virginia, all you want to do is leave. Lisa certainly does. But her boyfriend, Remy, loves his hometown.

The Miner's Daughter by Gretchen Moran Laskas. Willa has always lived in a small mining town, but when the Depression hits and the mine closes, her father and older brother leave to find work. Willa and the rest of her family move to Arthurdale, one of the new New Deal communities. It offers wonderful opportunities, but Willa can't help but notice all those who aren't allowed to move, too.

The Coffin Quilt: The Feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys by Ann Rinaldi. On the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, the Hatfield and McCoy families are embroiled in a bloody feud that only gets worse when Fanny McCoy's oldest sister runs off with one of the Hatfield boys.


The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. Rex Walls was a dreamer, but a drunk. Jeannette's childhood was spent traveling in the Southwest, but in they end, the family ended up n the same small West Virginia town that Rex had fought so hard to escape.

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers. In this one, we get to hear the voices of many characters. Damien has a house on Sugar Hill and a scholarship to Brown. Junice's mother has just been arrested and she's doing everything she can to keep her family together. We don't just see their relationship through their eyes, but also through the voices of their friends and family, neighbors, and even Junice's social worker. Myers was born in Martinsburg.

Who are your favorite West Virginia authors and West Virginia books?

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