The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Discussion Questions and Unique Facts
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is a captivating historical fiction novel that sheds light on the forgotten history of the Pack Horse Library Project in 1930s Kentucky. This heartwarming and thought-provoking story raises important questions about literacy, discrimination, and the power of books. Here are some discussion questions to delve deeper into the themes explored in the book, along with five unique facts about the Pack Horse Library Project.
1. The protagonist, Cussy Mary, faces discrimination due to her blue skin. How does her unique appearance shape her experiences and relationships throughout the book?
2. The Pack Horse Library Project aimed to bring books to the remote and impoverished areas of Kentucky. Discuss the significance of literacy and the role of books in this community.
3. Cussy Mary faces opposition and skepticism from some community members who believe that women should not be delivering books. How does she challenge gender norms and expectations in her pursuit of her passion?
4. The book touches upon the racial tensions between the “blues” and the African American community. How does this aspect of the story shed light on the complexities of discrimination during that time period?
5. Discuss the relationship between Cussy Mary and her father. How does their bond influence her actions and decisions throughout the novel?
6. The Pack Horse Library Project faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions and limited resources. How did the book demonstrate the resilience and determination of the book women?
7. Explore the significance of the books Cussy Mary delivers to the community. How do they impact the lives of the people she serves?
8. The book highlights the importance of education and literacy in empowering individuals and communities. How does this message resonate with contemporary society?
9. Cussy Mary’s love interest, Jackson, is an African American man. How does their relationship challenge the racial prejudices of the time and offer hope for a more inclusive future?
10. The story draws attention to the power of storytelling and its ability to bring people together. Discuss the ways in which storytelling plays a role in the lives of the characters in the book.
Unique Facts about the Pack Horse Library Project:
1. The Pack Horse Library Project, also known as the Kentucky Pack Horse Library, was a real initiative funded by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.
2. The program aimed to provide reading materials to residents of remote areas in Kentucky who had limited access to education and libraries.
3. The book women, like Cussy Mary, were responsible for delivering books and other reading materials on horseback or on foot to people in the Appalachian region.
4. The program lasted from 1935 to 1943 and employed over 200 librarians who served around 100,000 residents.
5. The Pack Horse Library Project played a vital role in improving literacy rates and fostering a love for reading among the residents of rural Kentucky.
1. Is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek based on a true story?
No, the characters and events in the book are fictional, but the Pack Horse Library Project was a real initiative.
2. Can I visit the locations mentioned in the book?
Yes, many of the places mentioned in the book, such as Troublesome Creek, are real locations in Kentucky.
3. Are there any other books about the Pack Horse Library Project?
While The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a popular novel on this topic, there are other books that explore the Pack Horse Library Project, such as The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.
4. What were the qualifications to become a book woman in the Pack Horse Library Project?
Book women needed to have a high school education, be physically fit, and have a love for books and reading.
5. How were the books selected for delivery in the Pack Horse Library Project?
The books were selected based on the interests and reading levels of the residents. The book women often took requests and recommendations.
6. What challenges did the book women face during their deliveries?
The book women faced harsh weather conditions, treacherous terrain, and sometimes encountered hostility from local residents.
7. How were the books transported to the remote areas?
The books were transported on horseback or on foot, often carried in saddlebags or backpacks.
8. How did the Pack Horse Library Project impact the literacy rates in Kentucky?
The project significantly improved literacy rates and fostered a love for reading among the residents of rural Kentucky.
9. Were there any other similar initiatives during that time?
Yes, the Pack Horse Library Project was part of a larger initiative called the Extension Division of the University of Kentucky, which aimed to provide educational resources to rural communities.
10. What happened to the Pack Horse Library Project after its closure in 1943?
The project was discontinued due to the availability of mobile libraries and other educational programs.
11. Did the Pack Horse Library Project face any opposition?
Yes, there were some who believed that the project was a waste of resources or that women should not be involved in such work.
12. How many books did the Pack Horse Library Project distribute?
Over its eight years of operation, the project distributed around 1.5 million books to residents in remote areas.
13. Is there a real-life Cussy Mary?
While Cussy Mary is a fictional character, the book is inspired by the experiences of the real book women who participated in the Pack Horse Library Project.
In conclusion, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek offers readers a glimpse into a little-known chapter of American history and raises important questions about literacy, discrimination, and the power of books. Through thought-provoking discussion questions and unique facts about the Pack Horse Library Project, readers can explore the themes of the book and deepen their understanding of this remarkable initiative.