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Dear Hank Williams

by Kimberly Willis Holt

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1008275,488 (4)4
In Rippling Creek, Louisiana, in 1948, eleven-year-old Tate writes letters to her favorite country singer, sharing her dreams of becoming a singer and revealing that her mother is in prison.

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children's historical fiction written through letters to rising country star Hank Williams (post war anti-Japanese sentiment, the south in the 40s-50s, coming to terms with loss, among other topics). You know it's going to be a sad story, but it isn't the way you expect. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Once I started, I couldn't put this book down. This reminds me of why I enjoy the Young Adult genre, which I discovered here in the 75 challenge group.. I first learned of YA books through our lovely Anita (Fameulstee).

The amazing strength manifested though the major character, Tate Elllerbee, carries her story in a wonderfully powerful way. Tate and her brother, Frog, live in rural Louisiana with their Aunt Patty Cake, and Uncle Jolly. Tate and her family listen to radio station KWKH every Saturday night, primarily to hear country star Hank Williams.
Tate is drawn to the voice and music of Hank Williams.

She and her brother are loved by their Aunt and Uncle, but are ostracized by the local town gossip. Believing her mother is away and studying her lines to be a movie star. She and her younger brother also believe their father is a famous photographer who needs to travel for his job. Letters and communications are non existent. Thus, in her loneliness, Tate creates a scenario of their life and their return when they are famous and rich.

During the first day of school, her teacher sets the assignment of finding a pen pal, and discussing their communications from the pen pal is part of the grade. Tate finds her Pen Pal in her hero, Hank Williams. She writes to him almost daily, and it is through these communications we journey through the her life. She shares memories and thoughts with Hank Williams that she would not share with others.

While she is steadfast in this one-way pen pal scenario, she longs for at least one letter from her radio hero. Just as she experiences abandonment and lack of communication from her mother and father, she now knows, Hank, might be capable of singing about love, but he does not know how to care about others who love him.

I didn't expect the ending.

This is a powerful book! ( )
  Whisper1 | Jan 31, 2021 |
It’s the first day of school in September 1948 and Tate Ellerbee from Rippling Creek, Louisiana already has a school assignment—to find a pen pal and practice writing letters to a real person. She picks a relatively unknown country singer who she admires on the Louisiana Hayride radio show—Hank Williams. Through her wonderful letters to him we discover a strong, engaging, hopeful, likable, optimistic young girl who believes in herself enough to find ways to make her dreams come true and thrive in a less than perfect environment. This sweet book by National Book Award-winning author Kimberly Willis Holt is written for tweens and is perfect for a fun, thoughtful, engaging summer read.

Sharyn H. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.
( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
3.5 ( )
  tifhayes | May 22, 2017 |
I want to give this bloom ten stars. I sat on the edge of my bed reading when the bombshell hit and my tees began to flow. My heart felt broken, but Tate was strong. The book is written entirely in letters to Hank Williams from the point of view of a little girl. Tate us growing up in the Kate 40's, rural and Piet war America. Prejudices against Japan are still strong. I could relate my childhood to Tate's in many ways growing up in rural North Carolina in the 50's. What a great book! ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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In Rippling Creek, Louisiana, in 1948, eleven-year-old Tate writes letters to her favorite country singer, sharing her dreams of becoming a singer and revealing that her mother is in prison.

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