Kimberly Willis Holt
Henry Holt & Co, 2015
Audience: Children, Younger Teens
It's 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee's new teacher has just given her class an assignment--learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.
Told entirely through Tate's hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award-winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.
Well, I wasn’t expecting this book to be so bleak.
The cover makes it look like a sunny, fun, historical fiction book. In reality, Tate’s life isn’t so sunny. She has had more to deal with than any little girl should. In spite of that, she’s spunky and ambitious. I loved how she never gave up on writing her letters to Hank Williams. I was hoping the book would end with him answering her, but it didn’t. I was so disappointed by that and the surprise twist that it left me bummed out. I didn’t see the twist coming, but I correctly predicted where Tate’s dog was and why! Even though I thought this book was too sad, I think ages 10-12 will love it.