(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, December 1, 2009)
My husband David and I are pleased to announce that we have just written and published the first-ever children’s book about the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is something we’ve had in mind for years, ever since we realized that there was virtually nothing out there about the Parkway that speaks to younger audiences who will have to become its future stewards. We’ve been actively working more than two years to bring our idea to fruition.
The book is called When the Parkway Came, and its main story is based on a 1937 letter in the National Archives that I discovered while doing research forSuper-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History (UNC Press 2006). In the letter, an Ashe County, NC farmer writes to President Roosevelt to ask for help when he learns that the Parkway is going to come through the middle of his farm. When the Parkway Came features a fictionalized account of this family’s experience as told by the farmer’s son to his granddaughter many years later as they travel the Parkway and see where the family farm used to be. To convey the feel of the mountains in the 1930s, the coming of the Parkway, and its stunning beauty, we illustrated the story with contemporary photographs as well as historic photographs and documents. The book is appropriate for approximately ages 7 or so and up. We think it will be something that parents, grandparents, and children will enjoy reading together.
When the Parkway Came was beautifully designed by longtime UNC Press lead book designer Rich Hendel (who also did the design for Super-Scenic Motorway and David’s previous UNC Press books), and we have published it ourselves. We chose to go this route in order both to maintain editorial control (especially over the imagery in the book) and to assure that it would be available in time for the Parkway 75th next year.
The book is being distributed to retail sellers by John F. Blair Publisher in Winston-Salem, but individual orders may be placed directly with us. We have just received the first shipment of books, and have them available for mailing in time for Christmas. More information and a downloadable order form are available at our book website: http://www.whentheparkwaycame.com/.