Child of the Mountains

Shank, Marilyn Sue

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Child of the Mountains
In the early 1950s, Lydia Hawkins has grown up poor in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia with her widowed mother, brother BJ, who has cystic fibrosis, and her Gran, but when Gran and BJ die and her mother is jailed unjustly, Lydia must try to remain strong and clear her mother's name, even after she learns a shocking secret from the uncle with whom she is sent to live.

Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0375873317
Branch Call Number: J FICTION
Characteristics: 259 p. : map ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 17, 2014
  • litriocht rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Lydia's life is secluded until the growing severity of her younger brother's illness forces her family to seek outside medical help. The conservative medical community of the big city dismisses the folk remedies that have served her brother BJ well throughout his youth. During his hospital trips, BJ is subjected to prejudiced hospital staff and a forced hospice stay. Lydia's mom is sentenced to jail for taking BJ from the hospital so that he could die at home, near his family.

The entire family values knowledge, both scientific and artistic. Lydia's Gran takes her on nature walks in order to identify plants and their many uses, while BJ's experiment with fermentation is a well-loved family yarn. Music is a part of daily life, as is creating objects of decorative art such as BJ's and Gran's memory quilts.

Initially unschooled at Standard English, Lydia's Appalachian way of speaking is, according to her teacher Mr. Hinkle, a preservation of an earlier way of communicating that should be valued. Mr. Hinkle realizes that her ability to code switch between Standard English and her Appalachian dialect shows a high level of literacy and intelligence. Indeed, Lydia's love of literature allows her to draw comforting parallels between her life and that of Anne Shirley, heroine of the Anne of Green Gables

As Lydia realizes, "[t]hem mountains is always and forever inside of me, making me who I be" (237). This book really shines in its ability to showcase culture in isolation.

Jul 05, 2012
  • lindiwood rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great opening -- poor Lydia has been pulled from her loving family to be placed with an emotionally distant uncle and his needy wife. What happened to Gran, BJ and Momma? Why is Momma in jail? You'll want to keep reading to find out. I loved Lydia's voice, and her development into a strong person is a joy to watch.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at WCLS