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Book reviews

Scott Hastings and Geraldine Ames, The Vermont Farm Year in 1890

(Woodstock, VT: Billings Farm & Museum, 1983). The author explains the hows and whys of farming in 1890. The ingenuity of the farmer during this time is apparent throughout the book, as it explains how certain items evolved and the improvements that were made to them.

Reading level: high school - adult
Number of copies available: 1

Zachary Kent, Calvin Coolidge

(Chicago: Children's Press, 1988). A very stoic, shy, and quiet Vermonter, Calvin Coolidge became president of the United States. This alone should spark great interest. The book includes descriptions of how Coolidge grew up, the challenges of losing family members, and his climb up the political ladder.

Reading level: fifth - eighth grade
Number of copies available: 29

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, Lumber Camp Library

(New York: HarperCollins, 2002). Ruby wants to be a teacher, but after her father's death in a logging accident she must quit school to care for her ten brothers and sisters, until a chance meeting with a lonely blind women transforms her life. A good story about overcoming adversity as Ruby grows up in a lumber camp during the 1920s. The story offers good examples of what early schooling and logging camp life were like but the narrative is the focus rather than historical aspects.

Reading level: second - fourth grade
Number of copies available: 16

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, The Night the Bells Rang

(New York: Puffin Books, 1991). The last year of World War I is an eventful one for Vermont farm boy Mason as he helps with chores, tries to get along with his little brother, and sees an older bully go off to war. A good story about overcoming adversity as Mason grows up on a Vermont farm during the 1910s. The story offers good examples of what Vermont farm life was like from sugaring to apple picking, but the narrative is the focus rather then the historical aspects.

Reading level: second - fourth grade
Number of copies available: 16

Maudean Neill, Fiery Crosses in the Green Mountains: The Story of the Ku Klux Klan in Vermont

(Randolph Center,VT: Greenhill Books, 1989). This book discusses how the Klan got started in Vermont and what caused its downfall. The vulnerability and naïve attitudes of some Vermonters with respect to the Klan stand out in this book. It is startlingly pointed out that so many actually believed the KKK to be a group of people with high moral standards who promoted their patriotic duties to the fullest and had no ulterior motives.

Reading level: high school - adult
Number of copies available: 29

Sarah Rooker and Kim King Zea, Eds., A Little Girl's Diary: Life on a Farm in Rural Vermont

(Strafford Historical Society, 1998). In 1911, seven year-old Alice Bushnell began keeping a diary of her life as a young girl on a family farm in Strafford, Vermont. This book is a reproduction of her diary with transcribed text and is part of a kit which includes a teacher's guide that recommends how to access information in the diary, and a video that provides historical context of the area in which Alice lived.

Reading level: elementary - middle school
Number of copies available: 16 diaries, 1 teacher's guide

Gene Sessions, ed., Celebrating a Century of Granite Art

(Barre, VT: Aldrich Public Library). These articles contain fascinating information about the evolution of stone sculpting and the granite industry. It includes the compelling stories of artist immigrants and their families.

Reading level: high school - adult
Number of copies available: 1

Michael Sherman and Jennie Versteeg, eds., We Vermonters: Perspectives on the Past

(Montpelier, VT: Vermont Historical Society, 1992). The articles in this book discuss Vermont's contributions to the nation from the first marble quarry in America, established in Dorset in 1785, to the agricultural industry. Written in college textbook fashion, these articles provide valuable information about different eras in Vermont history.

Reading level: adult
Number of copies available: 1