cover image Part of Me

Part of Me

Kimberly Willis Holt, , read by Kate Reading. . Listening Library, $30 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-3670-0

A love of words—books, reading and writing—is the theme that runs through Holt's series of vignettes, which illuminates four generations of a Louisiana family. Teenage Rose, an aspiring writer, kicks things off: forced to flee the Dust Bowl–ravaged Texas panhandle in 1939 with her mother and siblings, she lies about her age in order to get a job driving the library's bookmobile to help her struggling family and never looks back. Subsequently, Rose's outdoorsy, dog-loving son, Merle Henry, holds great fondness for Old Yeller . In the early 1970s, Merle Henry's daughter, Annabeth, tries to ease her adolescent growing pains with Hans Christian Andersen. And Annabeth's son, Kyle, who is tortured by the thought of reading, eventually finds a spark of inspiration in a library job and Harry Potter. Actress Reading uses a mellifluous Southern lilt, often suffused with notes of sadness, to capture the broad spectrum of emotion here. Though a recitation of the family tree at the beginning of the program feels more overwhelming than helpful, listeners will likely find satisfaction as Reading confidently brings the characters and inspiring imagery full circle. Ages 12-up. (Dec. 2006)