When Mother Read Aloud: The Life Story of Almyra King Holsclaw by Katie Andrews Potter is a true labor of love and family heirloom for generations to come. Almyra King Holsclaw is the great-great-great grandmother of author and family historian, Katie Andrews Potter. Almyra was born in Jennings County, Indiana in 1842, living her entire life as a Hoosier. The text is based from a manuscript dictated by Almyra King Holsclaw around the year 1930 to her daughter, Bertha. Potter has edited the historical information into more of a picture book story format, as well as added a detailed biography section.
The story section of the book has beautiful art illustrations completed by five high school students. The quilted border around the pages in the front section are a reproduction of an actual quilt that Almyra made, which is shown in pictures later on in the book. Potter’s writing style transports readers into pioneer Indiana life, with vivid descriptions of nature, wild game, forests, a pioneer home, cooking, weaving, sewing, social gatherings, church, stories and recollections, and the importance of family.
The biography section contains many historical family photos and even postcards written in 1924 and 1925. Almyra’s biography is well written and easy to follow. Included is a poem from her daughter, Bertha, entitled “When Mother Read Aloud,” which explains the reasoning for the title of Potter’s book. The unique format for the book with one part dictated story and the other fact-filled biography is pleasing and interesting to readers of all ages. Potter’s sources of information and photos are well-documented in a Works Consulted section at the end of the book. In her Author’s Note, Potter explains that her love for stories of our ancestors came from her grandmother and that her lifelong dream was to create a children’s picture book. She has done a fabulous job of just that, and I’m certain that Almyra would be very proud.
Thank you to Katie Andrews Potter for allowing me to review her wonderful tribute to her family’s rich history. Katie blogs about family history at katieandrewspotter.com. I would encourage you to visit her there for more stories.