Road to a Hanging - Mike Kearby

The Road to a Hanging.

By Mike Kearby.

Austin: Trail’s End Books, 2007. pkb. 188 p. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-9788422-6-0 http://www.mikekearby.com/

Elmer Kelton and James Ward Lee have Kearby in their sights and have fired off comments confirming Kearby’s work is an action packed Western. And it is. Kearby, a Mineral Wells native, former school teacher, and holder of irrigation patents, turned to writing and his Texas legacy is clear and he stakes out a fresh path. Freedom Anderson, the principal character, escapes his 1860s slavery as the Civil War rages, joins the Union Army, and, after action at Palmetto and the war’s end, finds his way back to Texas but old racial habits of another war veteran place him on the road to a handing. Freedom finds himself captured by the hatred of the sheriff, subject to false allegations. Parks Scott, Freedom’s pal, hears the news. But will it be too late? Pick up the book and find yourself moving at a fast clip to find out. It’s good reading. Good values, loyalty, hard work, and daring to boot. The volume is marketed as a YA novel is some quarters, and it is fit for the public school set. (Thanks to publicist Stephanie Barko for the copy.) Good for Young Adult reading.

Know Your Rights!

answers to Texans' everyday legal questions

7th edition. By Richard M. Alderman. Lanham, Md: Taylor Trade / Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. pbk ISBN: 1-58979-263-7978-1-58979-263-0 $17.95 http://www.rlpgtrade.com/

Inject his volume among some students and it'll circulate. This will get discussions going!

Alderman, UH Law Center faculty member and “The People’s Lawyer” for whom q.v. http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/main.asp?PID=1 , is a years-long feature on Houston TV, answering legal questions from viewers. He’s articulate and knowledgeable. This popular volume is worth having and reading by those unblessed by a powdered wig. The book is chaptered into 17 parts of your life. His Q & A technique with normal language cuts to the practical hearts with competent text. Sample questions include: What is pfishing? What happens if the photographer dies? Can my creditor take my IRA? Can my employer search my locker? How long do I have to wait? Do I have to wear a funny uniform? Is my neighbor responsible? How do I collect? What is community property? Fortunately Alderman adds context to the maybe hundreds of questions which he usually answers in less than a page. Sample wills and probate forms are added at the back. Alderman gives us again a useful volume to protect yourself, your family, and your property. Could be an excellent gift to a young, non-law school graduate. But enjoy reading it first. A good volume to learn rights and responsibilities.

Dept Public Safety Chronology

Chronology of Texas Department and Its Predecessors
Demonstrate to your students how far back such techicalities go.

Davy Crockett - Robert Hollmann

Davy Crockett. By Robert Hollmann.

Robert Hollmann is a West Texan, now an Odesaa barrister who teaches now and then at UT-PB; he has had seven novels published and written a play, “The Last Ball,” and was selected Best West Texas Author for 2005 in a poll conducted by The Odessa American and Hastings Book Store. Hollman uses an interesting device to present his fictionalized, but factual, biography of the Texas icon. Three youngsters, with a school lesson to be accomplished, visit the Alamo, find themselves locked in a closet where the “ghost” of Crockett appears through a magic time tunnel. The kids agree to go back with him where they’ll witness his life from an invisible status to all but the frontiersman who carries on a conversation.
The story continues in the Tennessee woods at Crockett’s homestead where his wife Polly soon dies. The children sense not just the death as a fact but also as empathetic companions, and points to where Hollmann finds some of the success of the book - the children become emotional partners of the character. Crockett acknowledges to them that he has become captured by his public legend that is different from his own real life. The author then proceeds episodically to take Crockett, and the kids, on to Washington and elsewhere, and finally to Texas and the Alamo.
As the Mexican assault troops are breaking down the doors literally, Crockett sends the children home – certainly a good thing to do, leaving the readers to wonder “how did Davy die.”

Poet Laureate Larry Thomas

Larry D. Thomas

2008 Texas State Poet Laureate
Could your students read and "imitate" Thomas' work.

Thomas’ webpage reads: “Larry D. Thomas, born and reared in West Texas, has resided in Houston since 1967. He moved from West Texas to Houston at the age of twenty to complete his college education, and graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a BA degree in English literature. In 1998, he retired from a career in adult criminal justice, the last fifteen years of which he served as a branch director for the Harris County Adult Probation Department (Houston). Since his retirement, he has been employed as a full-time poet.
Mr. Thomas started writing poetry seriously in the early 1970’s during his four-year tour of duty in the U. S. Navy. He spent his entire tour in Norfolk, Virginia, serving as a correctional counselor in the Navy prison. Immediately after his stint in the Navy, he secured employment with the Harris County Adult Probation Department where he rose from the rank of probation officer first to unit supervisor and ultimately to branch director, the position he maintained until his retirement in 1998. He wrote consistently on weekends during his thirty-one year career in social service and adult criminal justice, and was quite successful during that period of time in placing his poems in numerous respected national literary journals. His first collection of poetry, The Lighthouse Keeper, was published by Timberline Press in late 2000, approximately three years after his retirement, and was selected by the Small Press Review as a “pick-of-the-issue” (May/June 2001). He has since that time published four additional collections of poems which have received several prestigious prizes and awards.”
The Lighthouse Keeper (Timberline Press, 2001)

Amazing Grace (Texas Review Press, 2001)
The Woodlanders (Pecan Grove Press, 2002)
Where Skulls Speak Wind (Texas Review Press, 2004)
Stark Beauty (Timberline Press, 2005)

Music History

The Texas Heritage Music Foundation

Alternative history can drift into music for your students outside the traditonal history corral.

“The Texas Heritage Music Foundation was established in July 1987 to preserve and perpetuate the traditions of Texas music, to examine the background of Texas music, to trace influences and patterns in Texas music and to document the role Texas music has played in society, and to provide free educational programming to the Texas community.”

Environmental History

TSHA Conference Programs About Environmental History


If your students are not motivated by traditional Texas history. The TSHA demonstrates that new options are very possible.

The recent Annual Meeting of the Texas State Historical Association provides evidence of and impetus toward the social movement to re-attachment ourselves to the earth. The industrial, transportation, and information revolutions that have disconnected us from history’s natural focus on a “sense of place” have contributed to humanity’s alienation from its bedrock environment. Several programs at the conference demonstrate that our re-attachment is entering a more formal stage. Some of those programs were:

“Texas Environmental History: A Roundtable Discussion”
“ ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’: Wind Power History in Texas”
“A Blend of Science, Art, and Culture: The Maps of the Texas General Land Office”
“Texas State Parks and Renewed Focus on the Contributions of the 1930’s America: Preserving and Interpreting the Civilian Conservation Corps”
“The Politics of Disaster: A Roundtable Discussion on Oral History and the Politics of Blame” [Regarding Hurricanes Katrina and Rita]
“Lone Star Landscapes: Texans and Their Environment in History”
“Confronting Twenty-First-Century Environmental Realities in Texas”
“Environmental History of Houston and the Gulf Coast”

Daughters of the Republic Naylor Award

The Daughters Republic of Texas
June Franklin Naylor Award for Best Book for Children on Texas
for 2006 received 15 nominations

Miriam "Ma" Ferguson by Judy Alter
A Brave Boy & A Good Soldier by Mary Margaret Amberson
Tales of the Texas Mermaid: "The Boot" by Mary Borgia
Journey to the Alamo by Melodie A. Cuate
The Buffalo Soldier by Sherry Garland
Sam Houston, Texas Hero by Susan R. Gregson
Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale
What's so great about . . . Sam Houston by Susan Sales Harkins and William H. Harkins
Henry B. Gonzalez, Congressman of the People by Brenda Haugen
The Lady in the Blue Cloak: Legends from the Texas Missions by Eric A. Kimmel
Hurricane Katrina by Barb Palser
What's so great about . . . Davy Crockett by Russell Robert
Sophie's War by Janice Shefelman
Women of the Confederacy by Barbara A. Somervell
Bridget "Biddy" Mason, From Slave to Businesswoman by Jean Kinney Williams

The 2006 committee includes Dr. Barbara Immroth, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, chairman; Dr. Viki Ash, Coordinator of Children's Services, San Antonio Public Library, and Linda Plevak, Library Director, Bulverde/Spring Branch Public Library. Announcement of top 5 in May. http://www.drtl.org/

Journey to San Jacinto - Melodie Cuate

Journey to San Jacinto.
By Melodie A. Cuate.
Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007. 04/2007. 160 pages. 1 photo, 21 b/w illustrations, 1 map ISBN 0896726029 $17.95 cloth (Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk Series). http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/

For those who’ve already opened the trunk on Cuate’s Alamo, you’re in for another treat on San Jacinto. Mr. Barrington can’t come to teach so his substitute is his niece. It doesn’t take long before Miss Barrington and the youngsters Hannah, Nick, and Jackie find themselves time transported again back to 1836. Cuate employs a good plot twist as the girls land in hands of Sam Houston’s supporter Juan Seguin and Nick falls into the Mexican Army and is impressed into their forces. Their parallel stories along the roads to San Jacinto lure the readers onward to the final battle where Nick is almost killed by Deaf Smith before the boy can explain his Mexican uniform. Thereafter, it’s a hunt for the magical truck and pocket watch. After a tricky re-entry to modern times, the crew finds that Miss Barrington’s 1836 Uncle David was pulled back with them. What’ll they do with Uncle David!

Sons of the Republic Awards



“The Sons of the Republic of Texas sponsor two awards and a scholarship contest intended to promote the study and preservation of Texas history. New Texas Eagle Scouts can receive an award for their accomplishment.”
Summerfield G. Roberts Award - $2,500 http://www.srttexas.org/sumfield.html
Presidio La Bahia Award - $2,000 http://www.srttexas.org/labahia.html
Texas History High School Essay Contest - $6,000 http://www.srttexas.org/essay.html
Eagle Scout Certificate http://www.srttexas.org/eg_sct.html
Additional Texas History Essay Contest Description - $6,000

Susan Pena Favorites: Songs

Susan Peña’s Favorites: Songs in Spanish and English,
[musical CD]. Lyrics and Letra by the Peña-Govea family and guests. San Francisco: http://www.cdbaby.com , 2005. $14.00.

As a child in Marshall, I learned to sing “Un elefante,” go with my father to the “Tamale Man’s Stand” to get supper, and go with my mother to visit the Tejana who had the most wonderful garden. While teaching school in Raymondville, Texas in the 1970’s I was deeply immersed in Tejano culture, the folks, the food, the language, and the music.
This music brings back those days. Susan Peña has family strung from California to the Texas Valley. The dozen bilingual songs and music are a comfortable mix and your body moves easily in rhythm. You’ll hear guitar, trumpet, accordion, mandolin, and other instruments. We have folk classics and original work, e.g., “Elena la ballena,” “Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain,” “The Green Grass Grows All Around,” and “De Colores.” Dancing instructions come in the lyrics booklet with “La Raspa.” Dancing instructions are part of the song in “Las Chiapanecas.” It is an interesting mixture of works for children and adults. The Peña-Goveas perform in public venues of California, and now they perform in my own living room.
http://www.miguelgovea.com susannpena@sbcglobal.net

Rosenwald Schools

Rosenwald Schools in Texas & A New Museum

An old school building in East Columbia, Texas is now being converted to a museum in West Columbia to celebrate its former life as one of the Rosenwald Schools. Paul Homeyer, Senior Associate at the Houston office of the architectural firm Genslor, can tell you about their architectural work on the Columbia structure before it was moved to the new location. Many or most of them were built according to template specifications. The early 20th century program was sponsored by Julius Rosenwald; he put the “Ro” in Sears & Roebuck fame. These schools served the African American community across the South in the early part of the 20th century with grants to educate the descendants of slaves. In 2002 the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the schools on their “most endangered list.” Some remain.
Numerous Rosenwald Schools were established in Texas. Anna Mod, Adjunct Professor, Community Development in the School of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University, recalls that a school was once sited on the campus of Prairie View, and she notes a conference in Austin in 2005 on the 300 Rosenwald Schools in Texas. Records of a physical survey of about 50 sites may reside in Austin.
You may wish to pursue the topic.
The Texas Historical Commission’s atlas of historical markers was searched for “Rosenwald” (http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/index.asp) and 18 associated records came forth, some as State subject, building, and cemetery listings, and some mentioned as part of the National Register listings.
Antioch Cemetery – in Midway
Antioch Church of Christ – in Midway
Cedar Branch Community School – in Grapeland
Center Point School – in Pittsburg
Germany (community) – in Germany
Lockhart Vocational High School – in Lockhart
Marian Anderson High School – in Madisonville
Pine Grove School – near Jacksonville
Pleasant Hill School – in Linden
Powell Point School – in Kendleton
Rosenwald School - in Kennard
Shiloh School, Site of – in Longview
Sweet Home Vocational and Agricultural School – in Seguin
Thomas, O.J., High School – in Cameron
Union Lee Baptist Church – in the Manor vicinity
Washington, Booker T., School – in Bonham
Wilkins, Alice O., School – in Port Lavaca
The Handbook of Texas Online found the word “Rosenwald” 15 times at http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/index.html
BROWN, INA CORINNE (as a Rosenwald fellow)
CENTER POINT, TX (Camp County)
GERMANY, TX (Houston County)
GLOBE HILL, TX (Lee County)
HOUSTON, SAMUEL WALKER (his school as a recipient of Rosenwald support)
JACKSON, CHARLES EMERSON (as a Rosenwald teacher)
KING, WILLIS JEFFERSON (as a Rosenwald Fellow)
LANIER, RALPHAEL O'HARA (as a Rosenwald Fellow)
MOUNT GILLION, TX (Shelby County)
MOUNT HAVEN, TX (Cherokee County)
SANCHEZ, GEORGE ISIDORE (as a researcher)
SAND FLAT, TX (Rains County)
SWEET HOME, TX (Lee County)
The Southwestern Historical Quarterly makes this reference in 1945, vol. 48, no. 2, in the notes on “Contributors:” http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/publications/journals/shq/online/index.html
“Arthur Link, "The Wilson Movement in Texas, 1910-1912," is at present a Julius Rosenwald research fellow at Columbia University and may be addressed at 522 International House, 500 Riverside Drive, New York, New York. Mr. Link taught history at North Carolina State College, Raleigh, in 1943 and 1944. During the past summer he taught in the department of history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has completed the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in history.”
At Prairie View A&M University, the John B. Coleman Library’s online catalog http://www.tamu.edu/pvamu/library/ shows some interesting entries, especially the catalog’s “see also” references to connections outside the institution to museums and other elsewhere. Also at PVA&M School of Architecture is the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture http://www.pvamu.edu/pages/582.asp established by the 70th Legislature in 1999 who’s mission is “to collect, preserve, study, and make available research information, records, documents, artifacts, and other items relating to Texas history and culture. The Institute places special emphasis on collecting, preserving, and studying the role and contributions of African Americans in Texas history and culture. This is an important mission because the documents, artifacts, and resources collected by the Institute will serve as the primary source materials for research on the black experience in Texas.”

Other resources that may prove useful are:
The recent volume: The Rosenwald Schools of the American South / by Mary S. Hoffschwelle and foreword by John David Smith. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006.
There are over a dozen theses related to Julius Rosenwald in the ProQuest database, but none obviously Texan. Some theses on the topic may not have been provided to ProQuest.
The Rosenwald Initiative http://www.rosenwaldschools.com/index.html “For assistance with Rosenwald Schools in Texas contact: Southwest Office / National Trust for Historic Preservation / 500 Main Street, Suite 1030 /Fort Worth, TX 76102. PHONE: 817-332-4398 / FAX: 817-332-4512 / EMAIL: SWRO@nthp.org

Toy Soldiers

The Toy Soldier & Old Tin Soldier Shoppe
Drop in here and you’ll find figures and dioramas from the Revolution to Lonesome Dove.
This Houston shop focuses on Old Europe.


History Teaching Awards

[WTM emailed the TCTA about Texas history teaching awards. Kelli Weedon replied helpfully.]
Mr. Howard,

Thank you for contacting Texas Classroom Teachers Association with regard to your question about a History Awards program that recognizes History teachers. The following information was found at the Texas Council for Humanities website along with other Texas Teacher award programs you might be interested in. You will find the link to that website below. The Linden Heck Howell Award for Outstanding Teaching of Texas History was established in memory of Ms. Howell, former chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors, as a lasting tribute to her service to the organization and her commitment to the study of Texas history. The winning teacher receives a $1,000 cash award, with $500 payable to his or her school for the purchase of instructional materials. Please direct questions regarding the Outstanding Teacher Awards program to Humanities Texas staff at 512.440.1991 or awards@humanitiestexas.org.

Here is the Texas Council for Humanities website address: http://humanitiestexas.org/awards/t_awards.htm

I was also able to find another resource; The Texas State Historical Association also has an awards program available to History teachers in the state of Texas. They too have a variety of different awards all in relation to history. Among the TSHA AWARDS of interest to educators are the Mary Jon and J. P. Bryan Leadership in Education Award, which honors outstanding history teachers, and the David C. DeBoe Memorial Awards, which recognize a Junior Historian sponsor, a Texas History Day teacher, and a Webb Society sponsor. Here is the Texas State Historical Association’s website address: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/education/teachers.html

We hope you find this information helpful.
Kelli Weedon, Legislative Assistant

Teresa's Journey - Josephine and Jo Harper

Teresa's Journey.

By Josephine Harper and Jo Harper. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2006. viii, 162 pages. 28 illustrations, ISBN 089672591X $17.95 paper. Includes a “Pronunciation Guide to Nahuatl (Aztec) Words,” chapter notes to elucidate cultural points, and a bibliography. For young adults. http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/

Maybe you met Delfino in the earlier novel, Delfino’s Journey. Teresa is Delfino’s sister, and she must reunite with the earlier immigrants to the U.S. Teresa is now a 19-year-old widowed mother on a journey from “a safe nest,” a mountain paradise outside Mexico City through Texas to Houston. Their journey is hard. First there’s the erupting volcano, then there’s the strange fortune teller who tells her when danger comes to “Follow the caged quetzal,” and then there’s a menacing, murdering gang. She makes friends along the way. Family reunion follows, but then little Antonio is kidnapped. Full of action and character development models.

Both Josephine and Jo have written good books before, Prairie Dog Pioneers by Josephine and Olly Jolly, Rodeo Clown by the duo. - WH

Border - Cleatus Rattan

The Border.

By Cleatus Rattan. Huntsville: Texas Review Press, dist. By TAMU Consortium, 2006. ISBN 1-881515-47-8 paper $12.00, 5 1/2x8 1/2. 80 pages. Poetry. http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/

Rattan, a former marine, taught at Cisco Community College and ranched nearby while these poems were collected. He won awards for his previous work, including being Texas’ Poet Laureate, and this volume won the 2002 Texas Review Poetry Prize. Rattan writes of what is important – family life, the teaching life, and the hardscrabble life west of Fort Worth. When folks visited him there “their hands reach for the dog’s head. / They see sheep, / mesquite, scrub oak, the smile / on my face, and the stars meandering to nowhere.” When Aunt Mary came she told “about how young Jeffrey took / her for rides on these same ranch roads / in his 1937 Ford every Sunday / and how he had wanted her to marry him, but he was killed / in the war.”

And Rattan has had his incalculable quandaries, “Is virtue your faith? And me, is love my sin? / Because I love and cannot help myself, / Must I conclude the fault is deep within / My genes? Or can I blame some capricious elf?” But he clarifies entrancedly to the winsome woman wearing his ring “Your lulling music, dance / give me power / to fend off dragon fire, / protect our poem bower.” If you’re looking for them moment when mortality and grace meet in the saddling of a horse, turn to page 63. Cleatus will give you a boost. A shot in the arm for junior American literature class. - WH

Blood and Memory - Robert Benson

Blood and Memory.
By Robert Benson. Huntsville: Texas Review Press, 2006 ISBN 978-1-881515-90-6 in black cloth $24.95 and 1-881515-91-5 paper $18.95 5 1/2x8 1/2. 168 pp. http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/ Distributed by the TAMU Consortium.

This childhood memoir of the author and his father sets in a Louisiana that is easily replicable in Deep East Texas. If you’ve played barefooted in the yard as a child, reacted to snakes, tromped the woods, saw your brother decapitated, been sent away, or lived within a flow of family secrets and love, you’ll find Benson’s recollections a rewarding, redemptive read. It moves quickly. Benson, a successful English professor and writer, taught for a while at the University of Dallas but has spent most of his time elsewhere. Some of these stories first appeared in literary journals, including Sewanee Review. Benson has closely inspected Cormac McCarthy’s work, and there is an interesting affinity between McCarthy and Benson.
The honesty and plain style of Benson feel like an intimate conversation over a gingham covered kitchen table. The anecdotal telling with salient details takes you to places of mystery, childish delight and pride, horror, superstition, mortality, and meditation. Blood and Memory has a better bite than the Willie Morris (another fine Southern interloper) volume Good Old Boy. Compelling reading. Could be good to entire the reluctant high schooler to read. - WH

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature - Abilene

National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature
Celebrates 10th Anniversary and Hosts Art Auction as Fundraiser
By Janis Test, Abilene Public Library, Information Services Manager

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) turns 10-years old in February 2007. What started as an idea generated from a book written by William Joyce called Santa Calls “about kids living in Abilene, Texas” has grown into a national phenomenon.
The NCCIL started out as a quaint and entrepreneurial idea. We are proud that it has grown in the way that it has. It has firmly established itself as a treasure in the world of children’s illustrated literature -- both here in Abilene and nationally,” said Gary McCaleb, former mayor of Abilene and NCCIL board member.
To celebrate this landmark event, the NCCIL is hosting a black tie gala on February 3 in Abilene plus is hosting an art auction of original works from the various illustrators who have exhibited there over the years. Sue McKeon, Executive Director said “This art auction is a unique way to showcase the incredible array of talent the NCCIL has exhibited in its 10- year history. And, it’s a great way for us to raise funds through the sale of the pieces. It’s also quite an opportunity for someone to actually own a piece of work from these beloved artists.”
NCCIL is working with cMarket, “a Boston-based firm who specializes in hosting online auctions for non-profit organizations.” We are so thrilled to be able to tap into the expertise of the cMarket team. Their experience in doing this has helped us open up our auction opportunity
outside the Abilene community,” McKeon reported. The NCCIL art auction will be live online from January 18, 2007 through February 24, 2007 at www.nccil.cmarket.com. All funds raised will be used to support the NCCIL’s work moving forward. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature enhances visual and verbal literacy by celebrating the best original art published in children’s literature. It is located in downtown Abilene as part of the cultural arts community in West Texas.
The NCCIL (read Nickel) has hosted a wide ranging list of artists and styles over the past 10 years, both in their small permanent collection and in their nationally traveling exhibits, which spend most of their lives on the road. Some Texas links include the work “Alamosaurus” by Bernard Most in the museum’s permanent collection, a watercolor painting of longhorns by Ted Lewin in the auction, and a retired exhibit titled “Journeys” featuring illustrations by Abilene native Diane Stanley. And of course, "Childhood's Great Adventure," a bronze statue by Rick Jackson, celebrates the story of three fictional Abilene children featured in the book Santa Calls, by William Joyce.
For more information: Contact:
NCCIL - Suzanne McKeon, Executive Director / 102 Cedar Street Abilene, TX 79606
Email: smckeon@nccil.org Ph: 325.437.5486 Fax: 325. 673.0085 Website: http://www.nccil.org/

For Quizzers

The recent (2007) release of a preliminary glance at the new, official U.S. immigration quiz prompts one to remember that the Texas State Historical Association’s web site includes a list of online quizzes at http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/quiz/archive.html. The quizzes, usually 10 questions each, are prepared in collaboration with the Handbook of Texas Online. The dates the quizzes were presented and the topics are below.March 2000 -- General Texas History Topics, July 2001 -- Texas Rivers Quiz, September 2001 -- Traveling Through Texas Towns, December 2001 -- Texas Sports History, March 2002 -- A Return to the "Texas History Movies", June 2002 -- Presidents and Governors, October 2002 -- Texas Greats, January 2003 -- The Great Texas Quiz, Part II, March 2003 -- A Quick Pass Through El Paso History, November 2003 -- Texas Colleges and Universities, December 2004 -- World War II, February 2005 -- The History of Fort Worth, July 2005 -- Texas and the Civil War, November 2005 -- Indians of Texas, March 2006 -- The History of Austin

El Mosquito in My Kitchen - Don Sanders

El Mosquito in My Kitchen.

[musical CD]. Music and lyrics mostly by Don Sanders. Produced by Robbie Parrish & Andy Bradley, recorded at Sugar Hill Studios (Houston). $15.00. http://www.donsanders.net/ djsanders@mindspring.com order through Don or through http://cdbaby.com/cd/donsanders

Don Sanders first got my attention before he started hanging around with a pretty librarian. There he was - performing at a book store, at a festival, and library functions. This was after he had been on the Texas music circuit for quite a while; running with the likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Lyle Lovett and serving on the Kerrville Folk Festival Board. In the 1980’s he turned toward more theatrical venues – schools, theaters, festivals, etc. He emerged as a combined storyteller and folksinger. He was easy and pleasant to enjoy then live, and Sanders’ new mixed lingual CD for children, families, and educators is a toe-tapper and shoulder-roller.
He has others mixing in with guitar, harmonica, drum and block percussion, banjo, jaw harp, and trumpet, with some synthesizing. I may have heard xylophonic sounds.
Of the 14 songs, some are fun (El Mosquito) and others express consolation and support in the parent child relationship. Some are Sanders’ adaptations to older Mexican folk melodies with verses of his own composition. Several songs celebrate the simpler building blocks of childhood – a rainbow, the kitchen, planting a seed, cooperation, ponies, puppies, new shoes, and an adult favorite, naptime. Others allude to cultural heritage – Los Padres de San Francisco and Cowboy Bob.
The CD’s accompanying booklet enables parents to learn the words better to sing along. The six Spanish lyrics are there interpreted. The disk carries an added bonus as a pdf file – tips for children’s activities for each song. Can you make the cow sound “nyo,” buzz like a mosquito, simulate pulling weeds, and count your fingers? Evidently by my experience, Cowboy Don’s work also is excellent song and music to listen to while preparing supper. - WH

Journey to the Alamo - Melodie Cuate

Journey to the Alamo.

By Melodie A. Cuate. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007. 144 pages, 5 x 7, 18 illustrations, ISBN 0896725928 $17.95 cloth. First in the new “Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk Series.” http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/

Seventh-grader Hannah, her pesky brother Nick, and her best friend Jackie Montalvo are mysteriously transported from modern Austin, Texas to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 for an “excellent adventure,” something Hannah needs. Melodie A. Cuate, a McAllen teacher of several years, tinkers with the tale telling device of Texas history teacher Mr. Barrington’s mysterious teaching trunk of artifacts and a clapping thunder storm to trip the trio through time to San Antonio. Hannah quickly finds herself under Susannah Dickinson’s care and fixing a ham sandwich for Colonel Travis, consoling the ailing Jim Bowie, and finding fascination with David Crockett (who looks like Mr. Barrington). Hannah almost jumps the gun after she hears Travis famous speech before the legendary line in the dirt. The threesome do their part in maintaining the Defenders’ siege posture, dodging cannonballs, bickering a little among themselves, protecting one another, worrying about getting home, and finding their way back with Esparza’s and Bowie’s assistance. The kids’ souvenirs include a wooden cross for Hannah and a light bayonet scar for Nick. The youngsters are engaging, and the history is blessedly light but balanced and worthwhile. The brief Spanish glossary is a nice touch. Melodie Cuate’s story is readable and suspenseful.
The next in the series will be “Journey to San Jacinto.” - WH

Cotton Candy Catastrophe - Dottie Enderle

The Cotton Candy Catastrophe at the Texas State Fair.

By Dotti Enderle. Illustrated by Chuck Galey. 32 pp. 8 ½ x 11 31 color illus. Ages 5-8 ISBN 9781589801899 $15.95 http://www.pelicanpub.com/

Dotti Enderle, Houston children’s author found print first in Babybug, Ladybug, Turtle, etc. Now she’s under hard cover with large, colorful pages. It’s about Jake. We’re all just lucky Jake was there to correct the problem! You see Jake loves cotton candy. He got some there at Dallas’ Texas State Fair, but as he turned away with his pink fluff, the cotton candy machine would not turn off so his pink pile had a tail that he pulled (unknowingly, of course) all over place. Problems of major proportions ensued. But he solved it in the Cotton Bowl with water hoses. Big Tex, the longhorns, chickens, pigs, sheep all survive. Enderle’s may be the pinkest and sweetest book of the season. - WH

Historic Houston Streets - Marks Hinton

Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Names.

By Marks Hinton. Houston: Archival Press of Texas(49 Briar Hollow Lane, Suite 1705, zip 77027), 2006. 231 pages, many b & w photos, maps, portraits, facsimiles, etc., footnotes. Paperback. $19.95 + $1.65 sales tax + $4.95 S&H Total= $26.55 ISBN 0-97406-039-9 http://www.archivaltexas.com/ archivaltexas@aol.com
Certainly a must in Houston school libraries.

Marks Hinton has wonderfully performed a major compilation. This “retired” investment consultant is a continuing contributor to Houston’s cultural/historical milieu and free-lance writer, when not touring far away places. His alphabetical compendium contains about a thousand street names with brief stories about their origins. The many illustrations (many of the photos by Marks and his wife Barbara) frequently break the block of text that works of this nature can visually present. The added sidebars that tie themes (English heritage, Germanic heritage, children, cemeteries, aggression, automobiles, “Let the Good Times Roll,” etc.) draw the reader to reflect and occasionally laugh. Hinton adds special information for varying, former names or transitional names, e.g., Bissonnet has also been called the County Poor Farm Road, Richmond Road, and 11th Street. His alphabet also exhibits cross references, e.g. “Stone’s Throw see Maple Valley,” and “Hawkins, John R. – See sidebar: Houston Streets Named for Men Killed During World War I, p. 10.” Hinton is generous with his research; he provides a source for almost every entry. Sometimes, he offers his first hand knowledge, e.g., for “Nibleck,” he explains, “Old time golfers know this golf club. Before irons were numbered they all had names …. The niblick equates to a nine iron today.” And Hinton’s volume ranks high amid new Houstoniana, a nine iron there as well. Hinton does hope folks will let him know of new or varying information; he’s been closely engaged on the matter for some years, and he maintain a database on his website, http://www.archivaltexas.com/ . “Houston is just so interesting,” he says. Historic Houston Streets will be used often and well. Get a copy. Be in the know. - WH

A Few Educational Websites

Some Education Websites

Texas Education Agency - http://www.tea.state.tx.us/
TEA’s Teacher of the Year - http://www.tea.state.tx.us/awards/toy/
TEA’s School District Locator. The WTM editor can see a county maps with boundaries and go on to my home place in Marshall, and see the location of my original Robert E. Lee Elementary School, of which he was the president of the student council - http://deleon.tea.state.tx.us/SDL/
TEA’s School Directory – a database - http://askted.tea.state.tx.us/
Texas State Board for Educator Certification
Texas Association for School Administrators - http://www.tasanet.org/
Texas Association for School Boards - http://www.tasb.org/
TASB’s list of other associations
Association of Texas Professional Educators (APTE)
Texas Association for School Nutrition (TASN)
Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT)
Texas Association of Partners in Education (TAPE)
Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA)
Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO)
Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP)
Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development
Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA)
Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education (TCQAE)
Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association (TEPSA)
Texas Federation of Teachers (TFT)
Texas Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Texas School Public Relations Association
Texas State Teachers Association

Suggest some others please.

Where Skulls Speak Wind - Larry Thomas

Where Skulls Speak Wind, Poems.

By Larry D. Thomas. Huntsville: Texas Review Press, 2004. 80 pages, 5 ½ x 8 paperback, $12.95 ISBN 1-881515-64-8 http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/, dist by TAMU http://www.tamu.edu/upress/
Winner of the 2004 Texas Review Poetry Prize and 2004 Violet Crown Book Award for Prose & Poetry.

Larry Thomas was born and reared in West Texan, was educated at University of Houston, began writing poems in the navy, and retired from the Harris County Adult Probation Department in 1998. He now lives in Houston and Galveston. As with this volume, he has won prizes and recognition, and his poems have appeared widely in literary and popular journals and anthologies. His web site is http://www.thetexaspoet.com/

As you leaf through Larry Thomas’ volume, he gently takes you back the hand to a private, quiet slow dance. The dance begins in stark, western Texas where the wind will “never, never stop,” where the rivers when they sluice attract “frozen bodies, / … to the river’s edge, / and launched their secret, ghostly boats / creaking with the cargo of desire,” and where crosses, cyclones, and O’Keefe skulls convince the human populace of their sins so worthy of God’s punishment. There bull riders, antique cowmen, and grandmothers rock in the two-step with death.
In the wind sparrows feed and fight, ravens caw in the snow, and vultures in torn black fabric shine their beaks on bleached bones. Moving across the land, a brown pinto strikes a dazzling image in the snow, a black stallion thunders in the night, and longhorns “flaunt their sun struck hides.”
In Midland, youngsters remember their dry afternoons after church, rose colored Fords, dewberries, oh, the dewberries, first communions, mothers’ feather dusters.
In regret, there is long kept secret unknowingly shared by a father and son – acknowledged upon a death too late.
In West Texas not all gods are football players, some are awed by the red hummingbirds and spread their galactic “crushed light” as blessings on “everything we touched.”Take a little light from Thomas, and you’ll dance a little longer.

One Christmas in Old Tascosa - Casandra Firman

One Christmas in Old Tascosa.

By Casandra Firman as told by Quintille Speck-Firman Garmany. Foreword by Red Steagall and illustrated by Judy Wise. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2006. xi, 90 pages. 2 photos, 12 illustrations ISBN 089672588X $21.95 cloth
http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/ ttup@ttu.edu

Tascosa now includes Cal Farley’s Boy’s Town. Before that it was the wild and wooly West with Indians, buffaloes, gunfights, cowboys, and dancehalls. Between the two, the town virtually went to the ghosts. But here is a sweet story from the interregnum.
Garmany was a seven-year-old in 1931. The Depression Dust Bowl was on, but few would have realized it given how simple life was in Tascosa. Having more than one pencil was a student’s wealth.
At the time Tascosa’s lone resident was Frenchie McCormick, an elderly woman with a dancing history and an honored wedding vow to remain in Tascosa. Nearby in a one-room school house Christmas was approaching and the children’s Pageant was finally ready. And it was nearly, completely, absolutely wrecked. It wasn’t the children, the building, the costumes, or even a too-playful dog. It snowed on the day before the evening’s performance, so heavily that the audience could not come. Parents knew their children were okay with the teacher in the schoolhouse, but they could not get through the snow. And without an audience to love and smile over the Pageant’s young performers, it would be a failure. Then through the blizzard, Frenchie McCormick was spotted coming through the deep snow. The children warmed Mrs. McCormick. She took her place among the chairs out front. And she loved the youngsters’ presentation. And the children loved her for being there – just to see them.
Red Steagall, a Texas poet laureate, and Richard O’Brien append a song “Frenchie McCormick.” Merry Christmas! - WH

Child of Many Rivers - Lucy Fischer-West

Child of Many Rivers:
Journeys to and from the Rio Grande.

By Lucy Fischer-West, Foreword by Denise Chavez . Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2005. xvi, 190 pages. 32 b/w photos, index. ISBN 0896725561. $21.95 cloth http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/

This Child won the 2005 Southwest Book Award and was a 2006 WILLA Literary Award Finalist. Lucy Fischer-West teaches English at El Paso’s Cathedral High School, and her students are lucky that she does. You are lucky if you read the volume. It started with contributions on her father and mother to the Texas Folklore Society. In the “Epilogue” she summarizes that “Rivers for me are a continuum, linking not only each other but also past and present and most importantly all the people who belong to them and have touched my life.”
Her father was a German sailor, her mother was the “youngest and most beautiful girl in a family of twelve” in Camargo, Chihuahua. As young girl, Lucy patted tortilla balls beside the Conchos River, and as a mature woman she washed her hands in the Ganges and received a blessing from Sister Teresa. Her autobiographical essays lure the reader through the gifts of cultures. Whether she’s sharing the aroma of the El Paso market, the horrible auto accident near the River Clyde, French rocks with Paulette, touring India and Nepal on the Rotary trip “to improve international understanding,” Lucy’s waters mingle in a beautiful human stream.

For adults but could be useful in considering some students' family experiences. Un millon de gracias, Lucy. - WH

Savage Sam - Fred Gipson

Savage Sam. By Fred Gipson.

NY: Harper, originally 1962. Pbk. With a serialization in Colliers Magazine. Still in print after decades. http://www.harpercollins.com/

You remember Old Yeller. Well, Savage Sam is his son. I found an old, clean copy of Sam at St. Vincent de Paul’s Resale, and wondered; I’d never read it. Gipson’s simple eloquence picks up the now 16-year-old Travis and Little Arlis in Central Texas in the 1870s. After a brief introduction to Savage Sam, the boys and Lisabeth, a neighbor’s daughter, get captured by Apaches and a lone Comanche. And the chase is on. It’s a quick read and well written. Troubles and hardships are mixed with learning and character development (Travis comes to respect and even admire the Indians).
Travis even knifes one of their captors to protect Lisabeth and joins the final battle. Sam, of course, tracks down the band and young trio. Travis is shown on the edge of manhood in the rough times. Shelves are better with a little sentimentality mixed with realism. How’s your shelf? Recommended by Kay Caruthers. - WH

Last Chance in Texas - John Hubner

Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth.

By John Hubner. NY: Random House, 2005. Cloth on boards with a jacket. 277 pp. No illus. $25.95 ISBN 0-375-50809-0. http://www.randomhouse.com/
Hubner has been a Massachusetts and California writer on juvenile crime and justice. He heard of Giddings State School’s ( http://www.tyc.state.tx.us/programs/giddings/ ) surprising success with some youths. He spent months at the “school” observing capital and violent offenders. He draws their stories from their dialogue, records, and interviews. Gidding’s gets the worst, and this book genuinely mirrors much of their lives and predicaments. Beyond the individual and societal tragedies, Hubner finds that sometimes Texas love and nurturing, along with discipline, saves some of those previously ill-destined kids. It reduces crime in your future too.

Hmmm, how many ways could this be helpful. - WH

Stuart Tiller - Baytown Prize Winner


Stuart Tiller of Baytown’s Gentry Junior High School won second place in Maryland at the 27th National History Day Contest. Almost five dozen other Texas youngsters had advanced to the nationals, and some took prizes. Tiller’s exhibit, “And We Fought for Texas: Few Stand Against Many,” consisted of three panels – the defenders, the battle, a chronology, and the strategic effects on broader history. The annual contest is a challenging affair with several months of local and state competitions and revisions. While the present Editor worked in the Texas Room at the Houston Public Library, one of the special rewards was seeing a youngster, coming back in to revise their work, so they could advance to the next level of competition. http://www.nationalhistoryday.org/2006winnersbystate.htm#TX, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/education/thd/index.html, http://www.gccisd.net/gentry/index.htm

Revolting Women Novelists - Bibliography

Revolting Women Novelists
If you're wishing to demonstrate to your youngsters that the independent woman in Texas is quite the long and honorable tradition, you may string this set of novels before them. There are, of course, more shocking novels of late, but these may do in the meantime.

The WTM editor recently had the occasion to speak (2007) to the “Friendship Club” in Houston. The topic was “Revolting Women Novelists: Some Texas Literary History: Pushy Women in Texas Literature Should Be No Surprise.” The talk pointed out the contributions of:

L’HEROINE DU TEXAS, an anonymous novel, our first by any account, and featuring a French heroine in the 1810s.

AUGUSTA EVANS WILSON (1835-1909), born in Georgia, and our first novelist with Inez: A Tale of the Alamo.

AMELIA EDITH HUDDLESTON BARR (1831-1919), b. Lancashire, England, and among her many were Remember the Alamo, that inspired John Wayne.

MAUD CUNEY-HARE (1874-1936), born Galveston, was not a novelist, but her play indicates a stereotype-breaking ability for this African American writer and musician and historian.

MOLLIE EVELYN MOORE DAVIS (1844-1909) born in Alabama. Her Wire Cutters preceded Owen Wister’s Virginian and Andy Adams’ Log of a Cowboy to make her the first to write the modern Western novel. Under the Man Fig Tree reveals more than just the “good old boy” network of a small town.

MATTIE RUTH CROSS (1887-1981), born in Sylvan, Texas, and as she breaks out of her Golden Cocoon she punches holes in typical novels by featuring the sharecropper of East Texas and branding a few wild bulls on the UT campus.

EMILY DOROTHY SCARBOROUGH (1878-1935), native Texan. Her novel The Wind sure brought shock to the bucolic West Texas ranching tradition.

LEONORA VILLEGAS DE MAGNON (1876-1955), born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. For revolution read her La Rebelde.

KATHERINE ANNE PORTER (1890-1980) born at Indian Creek and reared at Kyle, is the best selection of genuine literature for the writers’ writers. Begin with Pale Horse, Pale Rider.

LENA ELITHE HAMILTON KIRKLAND, (1907-1992), born at Big Sky Ranch near White Chapel, near Coleman. I just enjoy her Love Is a Wild Assault.

SHELBY HEARON (born 1931, Marion, Kentucky), modern Queen of Texas Letters, begin with Armadillo in the Grass.

ANITA RICHMOND BUNKLEY (born Columbus, Ohio) and J. CALIFORNIA COOPER (born 1966, Berkeley, California) now lead the award-winning African Texan women into the broader range of novels and literature. Both have gone through the revolutionary doors. Bunkley entered with Emily, The Yellow Rose. Cooper’s emancipating Family and The Wake of the Wind awaken knowing readers to her ties to East Texas. Of course, Toni Morrison once taught English at Texas Southern University. WH

Duval: First Texan of Letters

Dobie’s Favorite Writer: John C. Duval
John C. Duval, First Texas Man of Letters: His Life and Some of His Unpublished Writings. By F. Frank Dobie with sketches by Tom Lea. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1939, 2nd edition, 1965. 105 pages.

John C. Duval, First Texas Man of Letters. By John Q. Anderson. Austin: Steck-Vaughn, 1967. 44 pages. (Southwest Writers Series).
While hardly the first Texan to compose written matter, John Crittenden Duval certainly was Dobie’s favorite in the Anglo tradition of telling the colonial and frontier tradition. His volume includes a biographical sketch, critical notes, a bibliographical essay, and eleven of his previously unpublished writings. He is most remembered now for three books based on his commentary of early times.
Duval (1816-1897) left college and arrived in Texas in 1835 after his rearing in Kentucky and Florida where his father would become judge and territorial governor. The governor was a source for Washington Irving, and Irving’s influence on the son is probable. He followed to Texas his brother Burr who would be killed at the Goliad Massacre although John escaped to tell the tale. Indeed in the summer of 1836, he published a short account in a Mississippi newspaper. He then studied engineering in Virginia and returned about 1845 to Texas to survey land, an occupation he plied for decades. He associated with Rangers Big Foot Wallace and Jack Hays and, although a Unionist, fought for Texas in the Civil War. During the War he began writing while in his 40’s.
Shortly after the War, he developed a sideline as a published writer through his Civil War re-acquaintance with T. A. Burke, a boyhood friend. Duval would publish three serials that eventually became the three books. First he offered Burke a serial “Jack Dobell; Or, A Boy’s Adventures in Texas.” Burke’s firm was the publisher for the Georgia government and the Georgia Methodist Church. “Jack Dobell” first found print in Burke’s Weekly, published from Georgia in 1867-68. “Jack Dobell was followed serially by the “Adventures of Bigfoot Wallace” and “The Young Explorers; Or, Boy-Life in Texas.” Burke issued Adventures as a book in 1870, and it has been re-published several times over the decades. Wallace was himself a noted frontiersman and raconteur of particularly good English, and he, like Duval, had lost family at Goliad.
Among his literary acquaintances were Mirabeau Lamar and O. Henry. His column in Burke’s found issuance as a booklet, Early Times in Texas, or the Adventures of Jack Dobell (Austin: Gammel, 1892 and later by the University of Nebraska Press, 1986). That was then sequelled in the 1890s by The Young Explorers, a fictionalized treatment of various tales intended for young readers. In some book editions Early Times was published (bound with) Young Explorers.
While arcane to more than some, Duval's work also is a genuine point in the development of Young Texana literature. - WH

Music Business

Diverse Music Business
For the budding musical stars of tomorrow, this government site can be an interesting place to linger.

The Texas Music Office directory of almost 300 Texas based music publishers publish music in these areas (extracted from the phrasing of the directory):

Regional Mexican, Tejano, Valley Groove, Country, Cowboy, Western, Blues, Rock,
Christian, Gospel, Jazz, Classical, Choral, Children's, World Beat, Blues, Americana,
Pop, R&B, Rap, Hip Hop, Folk, Acoustic, Texas, Bluegrass, Patriotic, Handbell, Films,
Dance, Electronic, Polka, Big Band, Latin Pop, Rockabilly, Mariachi, Cajun, Zydeco, Industrial, and Swing.

Champ d'Asile - Texas First Novel

The Story of Champ d’Asile,

as told by two of the colonists.

Translated from the French by Donald Joseph and edited with an introduction by Fannie E. Ratchford. Dallas: The Book Club of Texas, 1937. 180 pages, green cloth hardback, illustrated end-pages, pictorial and map illustrations, with colophon noting its printing by the Rydal Press in Santa Fe, New Mexico. No index. Various other issues from time to time.

Demonstrate your casual, in-depth knowledge of Texas history or European literature. Mention to your developing youngsters Texas first novel. Demonstrate your acute critical discrimatory skills; tell them it's awful and they shouldn't read it.

This particular volume contains two separate works, the novella and a summarized history of the Champ d’Asile adventure, joined under the covers for convenience and edification of the readers. Although our interest here is the novella, The Heroine of Texas by G ….n F ….n, written by a still anonymous French writer, the true and amazing adventure by Napoleonic exiles who briefly planted a shallow French colony in today’s Liberty County in 1818 is intriguing. All this was between the Gutierrez-Magee-Kemper-Toledo “liberation” of Texas and the James Long Expedition. The 1810s decade in Texas was hardly somnambulant.

The “Napoleonic Conspiracy” involved several closetsful of actors and mixed motivations whose legal justifications rested on the French presumptions of the LaSalle claim and the temporarily quavering colonial claim by Napoleon’s brother-in-law, King Joseph of Spain, to the New World colonies. Ideally, through Champ d’Asile and its extension, Joseph would assume royal powers in the New World and rescue Napoleon. To that end, Napoleonic exiles in the U.S. and sympathizers in Europe, planned in 1816 - 1817 and performed in 1818 the colonial exercise that folded within months and re-scattered the French royal refugee revolutionaries. But, what about the novella? The quickly arriving colonialists returned to France, and their stories were wildfire. There were plays, pamphlets, histories – some even approximately accurate.
You would have thought they were the returning Apollo 13 astronauts. It was big stuff. Texas was exciting to Europeans, even then. - WH

Fire Prevention Season

Back in the olden day when I was in public schools, we always had to prepare a "Fire Prevention" project each year. If'n TEA or others still require that, these sources may be useful:
A Google search for “texas fire museum” brought many citations. The first 500 citations were noticed and the cities below were found with significant websites. In all there may be a couple of hundred “museums” large, small, or identifiable parts within larger museums. The many small museums tend to be associated with “fire” organizations than general museum networks.

Austin http://www.austinfiremuseum.org/
Mission Statement: Share and preserve the rich history of the Austin Fire Department and its firefighters, and to serve the public through fire and life safety education.

Beaumont http://www.firemuseumoftexas.org/
Mission Statement: not on webpage

Dallas http://www.texasfiremuseum.org/
Mission Statement: To preserve the old Dallas Fire Department Maintenance Facility and to establish a fire apparatus museum that serves as an educational resource for the community.

Dallas http://www.dallasfirerescue.com/museum.htm
Mission Statement: not obvious on webpage

Houston http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/
Mission Statement: Educating the community on fire and life safety and the history of the fire service.

Does your local community have such fire museum or exhibit???
Other resources
“Texas Commission on Fire Protection” article http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/TT/mdtgz.html

Texas Commission on Fire Protection (State agency) http://www.tcfp.state.tx.us/
TDFP recent videos catalog http://www.tcfp.state.tx.us/library/videos.asp
For more information about the library, please call the agency at (512) 936-3833, or contact us by e-mail at info@tcfp.state.tx.us.

Texas Fire Fighting Colleges (28) (Oddly does not mention TAMU)

Texas Wildfire Awareness Week Proclamation

Texas Wildfire Awareness Week and newsclips http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/newsroom/
Texas Wildfire Resources http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/wildfires.html
Texas State Fire Marshal Publications http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/fire/fmbrochures.html

Lay Bare the Heart - James Farmer

Lay Bare the Heart: Autobiography of the Civil Right Movement.

By James Farmer. Various issues, 1980s.

On the short list of recent, great American Civil Rights leaders is James Farmer, born in 1920 in Marshall, Texas. Farmer founded the Congress of Racial Equality and led the influential 1960s “Freedom Bus Rides” across the South. His life’s account is presented with the intimate, honest details reminiscent of Eugene O’Neill’s later plays. Three chapters focus on his Texas rearing. Two are set in Austin: “Growing Up in Texas (Stage One)” and “Growing Up in Texas (Stage Two).” His father, first Black Ph.D. in Texas, returned to Marshall to teach at Wiley College. That chapter is “Intellectual Coming of Age: Tolstoi and Tolson.”
When you're considering how to find relevant volumes on African Texas culture, put this one on the shelf or into a high schooler's hands. - WH

Wildflower Books Bibliography

Lotsa Pretty Pictures and Some Nerdy Science
Some Recent Publications, 2005 on back

A dictionary of common wildflowers of Texas & the Southern Great Plains / written and compiled by Joel E. Holloway; edited by Amanda Neill. Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2005.

Texas in bloom: a wildflower guide for children / Jane Scoggins Bauld; photographs by Gayle Waldrip. Austin, Tex.: Eakin Press, c2004

Wildflowers across Texas / photography by Laurence Parent; foreword by Laura Bush; essay by Patricia Caperton Parent. Portland, Or: Graphic Arts Center, c2002.

Wildflowers and other plants of Texas beaches and islands / Alfred Thomas Richardson. Austin: University of Texas Press, c2002.

McMillen's Texas gardening: wildflowers / Contributors: Paul Cox, Janis Merritt, and Jim Molony. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company, 1998.

Legends & lore of Texas wildflowers / Elizabeth Silverthorne. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, c1996.

Wild flowers of Houston / John & Gloria Tveten; photographs by the authors. Houston, Tex.: Rice University Press, c1993.

Texas wildflowers: a children's field guide to the state's most common flowers / text by Beverly Magley; illustrations by D.D. Dowden. Billings, Mont.: Falcon Press, c1993.

Wildflowers across America / by Lady Bird Johnson and Carlton Lees; photographs selected by Les Line. New York: Abbeville Press, 1988.

Wildflowers of the Texas hill country / by Marshall Enquist. Austin, Texas: Lone Star Botanical, c1987.

Wildflowers of the Llano Estacado / Francis L. Rose and Russell Strandtmann. Dallas, Tex.: Taylor Pub. Co., 1986.

South Texas wild flowers: collection one / text by Hal Ham; illustrated by Martha Bruce. Kingsville, Tex.: Conner Museum, Texas A&I University; [College Station, Tex.: distributed by Texas A&M University Press], 1984.

Wild flowers of Texas / by Geyata Ajilvsgi. Bryan, Tex: Shearer Pub., c1984, updated recently.

Laws of the Republic

Laws of the Republic of Texas.
[Compiled by the Secretary of State]. Printed by the Office of the Telegraph, 1837.
Reprinted in Houston by The Beasley Company for the Museum of Printing History located in Houston, 1986. [165] pages, hardback under brown covers, all edges gilt, stamped in gold with the Republic seal on the front and the title on the spine, boxed. $10.00. MPH: http://www.printingmuseum.org/

The 1st session of the Republic of Texas Legislature met for two months, late October to late December in 1836 at the temporary capital of Columbia. In total, there were 45 actions, 27 laws and 18 joint resolutions. The volume’s actions are arranged chronologically, October 25 to December 20. The “Index” is more like a “Table of Contents” in the modern manner, sequentially listing the laws’ short titles and page numbers.

After the session ended, Secretary of State R.A. Irion caused the laws to be “Printed at office of the Telegraph” in Houston in early 1837 under the title of Laws of the Republic of Texas. The title page refers to “two volumes,” the second, separate work would embrace the actions of 1837. The present volume’s pages total at 165.

The volume contained at the front “The Declaration of Independence …” and “The Constitution of the Republic of Texas.”
The Museum of Printing History has had these on sale at an excellent price. Good primary sources. - WH

Tejano Publishing

Three of Texas major publishers of Tejano books are

Arte Publico Press (Houston)

Cinco Puntos Press (El Paso)

Wings Press (San Antonio)

Sports Writing

Best American Sports Writing: 2005.
Edited by Mike Lupica. Boston: Houghton Mifflin http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/, 2005. 356 pages, paperback, $14.95. ISBN-10: 0618470204

Scanning HM’s 2005 Travel anthology, the editor found no obvious Texas connection, but maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s doing. However, the Sports anthology was different. The full text selections included Michael Hall’s “The Duke of Dunbar” and Katy Vine’s “Alive and Kicking” both from Texas Monthly issues. In the list at the back for other notables of the previous year were three citations, including John Spong’s “The Shot Not Heard Around the World,” (Texas Monthly), Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s “Braves Exercise Poor Judgment” (Houston Chronicle October 10), and Paul Kix’s “All the Rage” (Dallas Observer, August 12-18).
Pointing out the Texana within his volume may serve to entire some of the jocks to READ more about it. Maybe convert junior American literature to an attractive writing exercise. - WH

Mascot Mania - Paul Ruffian's students

Mascot Mania: Spirit of Texas High Schools.

Compiled and edited by a class of 20 students of Paul Ruffin’s graduate course in English. Introduction by Gary Wilkens. Huntsville: Texas Review Press, http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/, 2005.
160 pages, $16.95, paperback, ISBN 1-881515-72-9, 6x9 inches.

This little book can be often used. The compilers found about 300 different mascots from about 1,200 schools. The most popular were animals, Eagles, Bulldogs, Tigers, Panthers, Mustangs represented about 50 schools each. The most popular human figures included Indians, Pirates, Warriors, Trojans, Rangers, Rebels, and Knights. Weather included the Hurricanes and Tornadoes. Other creatures abounded. My favorites are the Hutto Hippos and the Hamlin Pied Pipers.

Is your town or school included. Talk about relavant historical investigations!! - WH

Weird Texas - Wesley Treat

Weird Texas:

Your Travel Guide to Texas’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets.

Compiled by Wesley Treat, Heather Shade, and Rob Riggs. New York: Sterling, http://www.sterlingpub.com/, 2005. 288 pages, $19.95, paperback, ISBN: 1-4027-3280-5, oblong

In these pages, 1 or 2 photos per page illustrate the over 200 brief narratives about strange people, unique places, recounting of fables, legends, ghost stories, Indian lore, descriptions of caves, sinkholes, extra-terrestrials, unidentified flying objects, mystery lights, and just plain strange phenomena. It’s written with fun and so will be the reading. Two of the compilers previously had websites dedicated to related matter. Everybody will learn something, natives and newcomers. The series editors, Mark and Mark, first did their home state of New Jersey and then did the nation. Texas was their next local target. This may spark the youngster's desire to inspect the oddities of life. - WH

Portal to Texas History - UNT

The Portal to Texas History:
Embark on a Voyage of Discovery
A triple star of excellence for the Portal and youngsters

[[ EXCERPTS BELOW are from a March 2006 report by Dreanna Belden to Will's Texana Monthly on the Portal. Be sure to check out the Portal's up to date offerings.]]
By Dreanna Belden, Coordinator for Grants and Development - UNT Libraries, P. O. Box 305190, Denton, Texas, 76203-5190, Phone: 940-369-8740 & Fax: 940-369-8882
Texas history can thrill us with its bigger-than-life heroes and heroines, champions, charlatans, and rogues. Who can forget the bravery of the defenders of the Alamo or the shenanigans of Jim Hogg? Filled with life, Texas history holds the rich potential to enchant school children and captivate learners of all ages. At the University of North Texas Libraries’ Portal to Texas History, the dream of providing unique online historical content is becoming reality.
In 2002, the UNT Libraries began planning the Portal to Texas History project to address the recognized needs of two user groups: students, teachers, researchers and life-long learners wanting improved access to primary source materials held in libraries, museums, historical societies and archives around the state; and institutions needing assistance with digitizing and making copies of their holdings available on the internet. Creation of the technical infrastructure for the project proceeded with funding from a competitive Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund grant.
The Portal to Texas History currently hosts content from twenty-five collaborative partners, such as the Dallas Historical Society, the University of Houston, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and many others. Through recently funded grants, the Portal will be adding materials from twenty new partners in the next two years. The Portal currently hosts over 46,000 pages of primary source materials, and this amount will exceed 100,000 by the end of 2006.

Portal Mission Statement
The Portal to Texas History offers students and lifelong learners a digital gateway to the rich collections held in Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and private collections. The Portal team at the University of North Texas will provide strong leadership by supporting collaborative efforts with its partners, while pursuing the goals of accessibility, best practices, and preservation of historical material.

Portal Highlights for March 2006. Resources on the Portal to Texas History. The Portal currently hosts over 46,000 pages of primary sources, and will exceed 100,000 pages of content by the end of 2006. All of the materials are freely accessible via the internet, and include books, maps, letters, diaries, and photographs. Materials in the spotlight this month include:

Maps. Map of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. Published by Rand McNally & Co. around 1877, this map includes train schedules and advertisements. ““How’s Your Health?” If not very good, why not take a trip down through the wonderful Indian Territory over the picturesque Mo., Kan. & Tex. R’y, enter Texas at Denison, and then passing on down through the wonderful cotton fields and stock ranches, visit the beautiful and historical city of San Antonio, the oldest, healthiest and most beautiful city on the Continent, being to this country what Nice is to Europe, the place of resort for all failing in health. Consumption, Asthma and Rheumatism never originate, and, if not too far advanced, a residence will cure these maladies. In a population of 20,000, the death rate last year was only twelve in 1,000, smaller than in any other city in the world.” http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2440

Books. Rangers and Sovereignty, written by Texas Ranger Dan W. Roberts, and published in 1914. Captain Roberts listed two reasons for writing this memoir. First, he wanted to record the accomplishments of his command, Texas Ranger Company ‘D’ of the Frontier Battalion. Second, his friends in his company had pestered him to write a true account of their actions, illustrating the needs of the service, their performance of duty, and their part in ending the “Indian problem” plaguing Texas. He proudly stated that “our little part is richly treasured in the archives of our ‘native health’ –Texas. Our sorrows are there also, in many a grave not even marked by human hands.” http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5833

Photographs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Collection comes to us from the Dallas Historical Society, and this fascinating photo collection features over 650 images that document lock and dam projects throughout Texas in the 1910-1920s. View photos of construction on the Trinity River, Brazos River, Sabine-Neches Canal, and Caddo River, as well as photographs of the sinking of the snag-boat Trinity on February 13, 1910. http://texashistory.unt.edu/browse/collection/ACE/

Eagle and the Snake: Songs - Brian Burns

The Eagle and the Snake: Songs of the Texians.

[musical CD]. By Brian Burns. Palo Pinto Records, 2001-2003. http://www.palodurorecords.com/

Brian Burns expresses some of his favorite Texas culture in his 2003 released album entitled “The Eagles and The Snakes: Songs of the Texians.” The album’s theme is unique in that it unites all Texans in a special chronology including the days our first humans (“Man Walks Among Us”), the times of Mexican Coahuila, the Republic, as well as, Texas today and tomorrow (“The Last Living Cowboy”). This personal Texas musical anthology of ballads, love songs, and a little humor as well, has 15 tracks, 6 of which are by Brian Burns. Lyrics printed as notes are included to deepen your digestion of the grass-roots flavor cultivated by this colorful collection of Texana music. Rev: Morgan Howard, morganhoward03@aggienetwork.com. CD provided by our Florida readers at http://www.danspawn.com/ in Panama City.

Colonial Tejanos

Sons of DeWitt Colony Tejanos

The Sons of DeWitt Colony has a revealing portion of their site devoted to “Hispanic Tejano Patriots in the Struggle for Independence.” It is a combination of quotations from documents, personal name lists, images, and links to the site’s writer, Don Guillermo, other related documents from the Bexar Remonstrance of 1832 to the Veterans Letter of Grievance of 1875 that grew from the racism of the period. In English and Spanish. - WH

Texas Navy

Texas Navy Association

Yes, Virginia, Texas does have a navy, actually its third and now honorary, formed 1958 at the direction of Governor Daniels. The over two dozen components of the page include original documents (1830s onward), articles, archeological reports, association news, a bibliography, glossary, and frequent colorful illustrations (some animated). Includes interest in modern ships with Texas connections. Details are its delight; even the burgees of the first two navies are illustrated. Commendable design, easy to navigate, and ship-shape workmanship. Member of The Texian Web.

For the landlubbing youngsters, this may be a surprizing element to inject into the usual terrrestial discussion of the Revolution. - WH

Texas Day by Day - TSHA

Texas State Historical Association historical “Texas Day by Day”
You can subscribe to this free, daily email capsule of Texas history. Each day, four or so events are selected from the centuries and a summary of each is written in a few lines. Each summary is accompanied by a few Handbook of Texas Online article hotlinks. The archive option enables you to check your birthday or any other day of interest.
The daily postings may be useful to print out (in enlarged size) for visual postings in a classroom, adding an element of change with continuity within the classroom management techniques. Maybe have the kids search the database for their birthdays. - WH

Prairie Portrait

A Prairie Portrait.
[CD music]. By Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, John Giordano, Music Director. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Western Jubilee Recording Co., ca. 2000. $15.00 CD, $10.00 cassette. http://www.westernjubilee.com/ & http://www.fortworthsymphony.com/

The 16 selections are beautifully performed. The strings, reeds, brass, keyboards, and vocals immediately lift your attentiveness and pride and carry you through traditional and original melodies, lyrics, and story-telling. Don describes the production as a melding of classical music, cowboy music, and cowboy poetry wherein they “create yet another dimension on the artistic landscape of the Great American West.” Don does the singing, Waddie, the story-telling. The other 60 folks make moving sounds, while John rides point.
The best instrumentation is “Home on the Range” for the successful projection of sentimentality, but “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” is plainly exciting. Waddie’s “Commutin’” and “Throwback” lay out some common details of cowboy life, but the short “Horses, Dogs, and Cowboys” conveys a more philosophic tone. As for good songs, Don’s “West of Yesterday” playfully tweaks at nostalgic grand gestures. His “Annie Laurie” shares a universal lost love lament. Thanks to the Bass Foundation for their production assistance.
Recommended widely. 2000 Wranger Award.
The meditative nature of much of the cd may lend itself to a calming of the class, much as the cowboys sang their restive herds into quietness. - WH

Houston Review of History and Culture

The Houston Review of History and Culture
(new series: vol. 3, no. 1, Fall 2005). http://www.class.uh.edu/TheHoustonReview

The revival of this journal / magazine is a patent success. Joe Pratt at the University of Houston has guided its transformation from its previous incarnation through a change of title (formerly The Houston Review: History and Culture of the Gulf Coast now as above ), publisher (formerly Houston Public Library Board, now UH’s Center for Public History), periodicity (formerly 3 issues a year , now semi-annually), illustrative matter (formerly few, now many ), size (formerly 6”x 9”, now 8 ½” x 11”), and authorship (formerly many institutional employees, now more general historical public and researchers), and issue focus (formerly articles on diverse topics, now each issue has a theme).
Previous issues covered Women in Houston History, Civic Leadership in Houston, the Texas Medical Center, Houston Remembers World War II, Coming to Houston, and projected issues will cover Historic Preservation, East Texas and the Law, the Arts in Houston, and Building Houston.
The current issue on “Coming to Houston” collects nine articles and several sidebars on European, Jewish, Latino, Vietnamese, and Black immigration to Houston by several authors.
An admirable subscription for all public and academic libraries and most high school libraries in southeast Texas, as well as medium to large public and academic libraries throughout Texas. Very good for business reception offices. Old timers, students, and newcomers with interest in history or Houston will find the price attractive at $10 (student), $15 (individual), and $25 (institution).
Abstracted and indexed: Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life.
The price is very attractive and the quality is high. High schools and some middle schools will find it suitable

Tales With a Twist - Donna Ingham

Tales With a Texas Twist: Original Stories and Everlasting Folklore from the Lone Star State. By Donna Ingham and Illus by Paul G. Hoffman. Guilford, Cn.: GlobePequot/Insiders Guide, 2005.
http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm Pbk,, 160 pages, b&w ills., bib., 5.25 x 8 inches, ISBN: 0-7627-3899-5 Price: $12.95
The tall tale returns. Anecdotes, folklore, humor, social life, and customs wrapped in the skillful creation or re-telling by this college English professor. Ingham is a proven, delightful liar in the popular and academic Austin communities. Here she re-casts Texas traditional facts, folktales, and legends into sharp new molds. And to some outrageous success, the story-teller takes old Greek mythology (Persephone, Cupid, Psyche, etc) and reveals their Texan backgrounds.
Ingham draws some of her tales from J. Frank Dobie’s Texas Folklore Society’s publications, Southern traditions including Br’er Rabbit, and old historical stories of Cindy Ann Parker, Big Foot Wallace, Mollie Bailey, Goodnight & Loving, and Sam Bass.
The first lines of “The Coming of the Bluebonnet” reveals the spinner’s skill as she neatly combines rhythm and rhyme, followed by other combinations of number, sound, and repetition. The tone is Andy Griffith folksy, by her preference.
These 28 stories refresh the old reader’s response to these old stories. She’s a welcome voice who should follow-up with other volumes. For instance, why not take Pecos Bill’s family and give this 20th century tall tale a full-fleshed family of fantastic foibles and futures.
Recommended for readers, junior high to senior citizens, who enjoy a good laugh and even a cry as the short stories unfold. -- WH

First Postings

The first posting to the Young Texas Reader are selections from the first volumes of Will's Texana Monthly. Some are book notices, others otherwise.

Welcome to the Young Texas Reader

The Young Texas Reader Blog
established 2008
is intended to provide a more orderly survey of the growing and diversifying Young Texana in order to enable youngsters and those who care for them with a better understanding of their state community. The YTR primarily serves as an awareness tool for books and all other formats (including internet sites) intended for youngsters early through high school. Secondarily it serves as a place to alert folks of relevant educational matters without the rant and cant although opinions are invited.

YTR is for the general public, teachers, librarians, writers, artists, publishers, agents, museum or other historical, literary, or educational institutional staffers, and other curious folks.

YTR treats children’s and teenagers’ books and all other informational formats treating Texas as a subject, setting, or with another substantial anchor to Texas, other than author nativity or residency. Textbooks and other adult educational matter assisting with such education, care, or entertainment may be included. The primary focus is on published material 2000 onward, but some retrospective work is considered. All genres are covered - non-fiction, fiction, poetry, pictorials, foreign language, reference, etc. Bibliographies are included. The history of Texana for youngsters is interesting. YT also includes news and information about events relative to pertinent educational, historical, or literacy concerns, as well as author/illustrator interviews or links to the same. Award and prize information is important.

YTR book postings may be simply a single bibliographical citation as an FYI, possibly with a publisher’s description (so identified), a simple subject annotation, a critical review of content, physical and visual/audible presentation, social appropriateness to the apparent intended audience, reading level, or a link to a review elsewhere. As available and applicable, basic purchasing information and links to publisher, author, and illustrator homepages is offered.

Postings originate from within the YTR support group and others who send information. YTR group members supply 1 to 2 postings a month.