Pioneer Children of Appalachia
By: Joan Anderson & George Ancona
Publisher: Clarion Books, 1986
Age Level: 9-12
ISBN: O-89919-440-0 (hardcover), 0-395-54792 (paperback)
About 1800, Americans moving westward settled in the hills and hollers of “northwestern Virginny,” an area in what we now call Appalachia. In those days before supermarkets, factories, and cars, work was endless, and all family members–children as well as their grandparents–were important for survival.
This book was photographed on location at Fort New Salem, a living history museum near Salem, West Virginia. There, traditional crafts and trades of the early settlers have been preserved and are still practiced. Trained interpreters reenact scenes of family life as they demonstrate the fascinating processes pioneers used for making basic household items. Because only raw materials were available, everything had to be made from scratch. Lye had to be extracted from ashes in order to make soap. Dressmaking began with picking flax to be spun into thread and then woven into linen. Still, despite the endless work, there was always time for playing in corn shock hideouts, for dancing and singing, and for listening to Grandma’s stories of long ago.