Adult: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Teen: Trampoline by Robert Gipe
Dawn Jewell is fifteen. She is restless, curious, and wry. She listens to Black Flag, speaks her mind, and joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining almost in spite of herself. Jagged and honest, Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place struggling with the economic and social forces that threaten and define it.
Elementary Age: Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank
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.
Preschool Age: That Book Woman by Heather Henson
That Book Woman is a rare and moving tale that honors a special part of American history — the Pack Horse Librarians, who helped untold numbers of children see the stories amid the chicken scratch, and thus made them into lifetime readers.