Texas Historical and Literary Blogs

Hot off the electric press, as the August issue of "Will's Texana Monthly: Reviews, News and Electric Observations," is "Texas Historical and Literary Blogs," an annotated, illustrated, and categorized list of over 100 blogs "about" Texas. 
The email attachment is illustrated and available free upon request. 
The non-illustrated version is posted at TEXAS BLOG NOTES, http://texasblognotes.blogspot.com
The categories include


Will's History, Literature, and Reference Blogs -

Architectural Preservation & Appreciation -

Book Agents, Editors, Publicists, Consultants, and Their Ilk -

Book Reading Clubs & Book Companions -

Book Reviews & News -

Classroom Experiments -

Commercial Expressions -

Culturally Convergent with Historical or Literary Interests -

Historical Interests & Projects -

Historical Museums, Libraries, & Archives -

Historical Organizations -

History via Newspaper Blogs -

Literate Writers -

Literate Naturalists -

Literary Organizations -

Oozing Toward Politics -

Blog Cousins, The Fort Worth Museum Anomalies -

Favorites, Bookmarks, and Subscriptions to Feeds -

Starting a Blog -

Anna Pennybacker Archives

The UT-Austin Center for American Studies
"A Guide to the Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker Papers, 1878-1938"
The summary description via TARO is
Creator Pennybacker, Percy V., Mrs., 1861-1938.
Title Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker Papers
Dates: 1878-1938
Abstract The collection documents the personal life of Anna Pennybacker, as well as her involvement in women's clubs, education, suffrage and the peace movement. Pennyback was an activist and author in Texas in the early 20th century.
Extent 53 ft. 

Anna Pennybacker

Anna Pennybacker was the author of choice for teachers and parents wishing to inculcate their youngsters with the state's history.  The Online Handbook of Texas has a article by Stacey Cordery that begins
"PENNYBACKER, ANNA J. HARDWICKE (1861-1938). Anna Pennybacker, clubwoman, woman suffrageqv advocate, author, and lecturer, daughter of John Benjamin and Martha (Dews) Hardwicke, was born on May 7, 1861, in Petersburg, Virginia. As a high school student she substituted the unexplained initial J for her second given name, McLaughlin. She graduated from the first class of Sam Houston Normal School in Huntsville, continued her education in Europe, and subsequently taught grammar and high school for fourteen years, including some sessions at the Chautauqua Summer Assembly. In 1884 she married native Texan Percy V. Pennybacker (who died in 1889); they had three children who reached adulthood. Mrs. Pennybacker wrote and published A New History of Texas in 1888, and the textbook was a staple of Texas classrooms for forty years." 
The bibliography there reads: "BIBLIOGRAPHY: Helen Knox, Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker (New York: Revell, 1916). Theodore Morrison, Chautauqua (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974). Anna J. H. Pennybacker Collection, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Rebecca Richmond, A Woman of Texas: Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker (San Antonio: Naylor, 1941)."


Wildflower Coloring Books

  • Northwest Coloring Book
  • Texas Hill Country Coloring Book
  • Some Chronologies

    Texas Timeline (Key Events in early Texas)
      Texas Almanac | Texas History Timeline 
    TIMELINE: From Republic to Statehood 
      TIMELINE: San Antonio 1691-1997 
      TIMELINE: Dallas History 

    Juvenile Crime and Incarneration

    For a glance on Texas Juvenile crime and incarceration rates please see

    Will Howard 12618 Ashcroft, Houston Tx 77035 Cell:832-633-0595 Home:713-728-1981
    Publisher, Wills Texana Monthly, subscribe at willstexana@yahoo.com
    Host, Texas Parlor, a blog at http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/
    Host, Texas Bookshelf, a blog at http://texasbookshelf.blogspot.com/
    Host, Young Texas Reader, a blog at http://youngtexasreader.blogspot.com/
    Who is Will Howard? http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/2006/07/who-is-will-howard-texas-bibliographer.html

    State Senate for Youngsters

    Click here to start.http://www.senate.state.tx.us/kids/  FOR KIDS | Senate Jr. | Parents and Teachers  en espaƱol


    Colleges in Texas Picture Books

    C o l l e g e s  in Texas Picture Books
    (see also Counting and Tour Books)
    Aryal, Aimee.  Hello, Hook 'em!  / Illus by Megan Craig, Chantilly, Va: Mascot Books, 2004.  A Bevo student tours the campus where everyone flashes the "Hook 'em!"  Half is football.
    Aryal, Aimee.  Howdy Reveille! / illus by Megan Craig Chantilly, Va: Mascot Books, 2004.  Collie Reveille tours the campus where he'd greeted "Howdy" all over. Most is football. http://www.mascotbooks.com/ 
    Epstein, Brad.  Texas A&M 101: My First text-board book.  Los Angeles: Michaelson Entertainment, 2003. http://www.michaelsonentertainment.com/ 
    Epstein, Brad.  University of Texas at Austin 101: My First text-board book.  Los Angeles: C.A: Michaelson Entertainment, 2004.

    TCU - Center for Texas Studies - Flags

    Texas Christian University

    Educational Resources

    for 7th Grade Texas History

    "The Center for Texas Studies at TCU invites you to use these educational resources to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Texas Flag Exhibit. Please "click" on the appropriate link below."

    7th Grade Texas History at Georgetown ISD

    Nancy Hester, Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Georgetown Independent School District, in Georgetown, TX  updates the 7th grade Texa history curriculum  webpage.  A wide range of links (internal and external) to over 200 sites in maybe 50 categories. 

    I Remember the Alamo - Anne Love

    Love, D. Anne.  I Remember the Alamo.  New York:  Holiday House, c1999.  156 p.; hardcover ISBN 0-8234-1426-4 $15.95; Yearling Books paperback ISBN 0440416973 $4.50.      School Library Journal recommendation:  Grade 4-7.
               I Remember the Alamo (D. Anne Love, Paperback, 2001) This novel reads easily and will appeal to girls in primary grades.  Teachers and parents should point out the problem areas of the book that might lead to misunderstanding in studying Texas history.  Most of the characters in this novel are completely fictitious, including the main character, eleven-year-old Jessie McCann.  She reluctantly arrives in Texas accompanying her impulsive father and unlucky family.  Some aspects of the racial and ethnic problems arising from a friendship between Jessie and the Tejana girl Angelina may be anachronistic. When Jessie, her younger brother, and her mother take refuge in the Alamo, Crockett says it is "the safest place in all of Texas."  It seems unlikely that anyone unattached to one of the Alamo defenders would have taken refuge in the Alamo, since all the other residents of San Antonio were fleeing from the advancing Mexican troops. [Courtesy: Lucie Olson's The Alamo and the Texas Revolution, An Annotated Bibliography. DRT Alamo Library, 2004.] 

    Liberty, Justice, and Frall - Marjorie Kutchinski

    Kutchinski, Marjorie.  Liberty, Justice, and Frall:  The Dog Heroes of The Texas Republic.  Austin:  Eakin Press, c1998.  139 p; hardcover ISBN 1-57168-217-1 $15.95; paperback ISBN 1-57168-227-9 $9.95
    Publisher's recommendation:  Reading level 5.0.
                Liberty, Sam Houston's dog and the female dog hero of the Republic, tells the story of her life with Sam Houston.  The original manuscript of her story was retrieved from the grounds of the Alamo by her descendent, Lady, and it now resides in the "Dogs of the Republic of Texas Headquarters."  According to Liberty's diary, Jim Bowie's dog Justice becomes her mate, and Sam Houston names their pup Frall.  Houston takes Justice for his own dog when Bowie dies at the Alamo.  [Courtesy: Lucie Olson's The Alamo and the Texas Revolution, An Annotated Bibliography. DRT Alamo Library, 2004.] 

    Sam Houston as Teacher

    Sam Houston was a school teacher.  Visit his 1812 Maryville, Tennessee schoolhouse at

    Teachers with guns

    Small Texas school district lets teachers, staff pack pistols  /  By MARK AGEE / rmagee@star-telegram.com 

    Agee begins: "When classes start Aug. 25 in the tiny Harrold school district, there will be one distinct difference from years prior: Some of the teachers may have guns.
    To deter and protect against school shootings, trustees have altered district policy to allow employees to carry concealed weapons if they have a state permit and permission from the administration. The 110-student district lies 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth on the eastern end of Wilbarger County, near the Oklahoma border."
    Agee appendicizes: "The gun policy: Teachers and staffers in the Harrold school district can carry firearms beginning this fall if they:
    Have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun.
    Are authorized to carry by the district.
    Receive training in crisis management and hostile situations.
    Use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.
    Source: Harrold school district"
    READ MORE ABOUT IT BUT DONT SHOOT OFF YOUR MOUTH ABOUT IT  http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/834022.html


    Texas School Journal

    Texas School Journal (1883-1930)
    Spearman, Mindy.  " ' Everything to Help, Nothing to Hinder':  The Story of the Texas School Journal."  Southwestern Historical Quarterly,  Vol. CXI, No. 3, (January 2008), pp 282-302.
    The Texas School Journal and its derivatives expounded methods of proper teachhing  and proper Normal school affairs from 1883 to 1930.  In summary, under this banner "in-service training," a 19th century term, coalescsed, at the guidance of 15 editors and various owners.  Mindy Spearman, who teaches at Clemson University, traces the story with some lighter references to the Journal's competitors.  The Journal published articles, editorials, position papers, advertisements, local news, state news, recommended policy, and carried on disagreements with newspapers and other public and private institutions.   Shortly after it shifted it focus to school administation, it folded.

    Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators in Arlington

    Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has several chapters across the state.  The North Texas Chapter will meet 1-4 p.m. on the month's fourth Saturday at the First United Methodist Church, 313 N. Center St. in Arlington. 
    For more information contact LindaPowley@aol.com or go to http://www.northtexasscbwi.org


    Fairy and the Chupacabra - James Mangum, Sidney Spires

    Book review: The Fairy and Chupacabra
    'The Fairy and the Chupacabra and Those Marfa Lights' should keep the kids entertained - by Charlie Owen
    [Review begins]: "Children's books always baffle me. They're intended to be read to small children at an age when their imaginations run wild and the beasts under the bed and in the closet are more frightening and real than anything that can actually harm them. So why is it that writers of children's books always populate their works with the most bizarre and scary creatures known to man?

    At least in "The Fairy and the Chupacabra and Those Marfa Lights" there is no big bad wolf waiting to eat the kids in some remote village or a headless horseman waiting in the woods to exact revenge on some poor school teacher. ..."  READ MORE FROM THE VAIL DAILY http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20080811/AE/16621761/1068

    Eleanor Clark and Awards for YA Girls

    The Mexia Daily News informs us:
    Speaker-Author wins National awards
    [Article begins} "Texas author Eleanor Clark picks up two new awards with her Eleanor Series books for young girls. Two books from the series won the following awards: Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember won the 2008 National Indie Excellence Award in children's fiction, and Melanie Ann: A Legacy of Love was awarded as a finalist.

    "I wrote the books to impact the lives of young children and encourage them in their character development and issues of life. That the books have been recognized in the publishing industry is as added honor," says Mrs. Clark.
    Books in the Eleanor Series are fictional stories based on the true-life family history of Eleanor Clark. These heartwarming stories span generations, are historically accurate, and highlight the nation's heritage of faith.
    "I have three girls and they have read all of the American Girl series books. To have a series that teaches core values and American history have made these books their favorite books," says Jake Jones, President of HonorNet, Eleanor Clark's publisher." 
    These fictional books are based on the true-life family history of author Eleanor Clark. ..."  

    Observe the Sensitive Issues at TEA

    Will's blogs and Monthly generally avoid fueling controversy by taking sides, and such is still the case.  However,  without taking sidea, we've discovered a list of issues that TEA staff is sensitive and apparently prohibited from discussing.  The list comes from TEA paperwork in a lawsuit regarding the alleged forced resignation of a TEA employee regarding the teaching of evolution which is consequently another item to be on the list.  The list includes
    "Whether schools should teach "whole language" or "phonics" in English Language Arts; Whether schools should have grammar as a separate section of the English curriculum or embedded in the overall curriculum;
    How schools should present the treatment of minorities in U.S. or Texas history;
    Whether schools should have required reading lists in English or other subjects (and if so what books should be included on them);
    Whether schools should emphasize scientific processes or content;
    Whether schools should require laboratory instruction in science courses;
    How schools should integrate the Spanish-language grammar or decoding skills into English TEKS for students with limited English proficiency (LEP);
    Whether to include instruction on contraceptives along with abstinence, in the presentation of human sexuality in health education."

    Texas Rangers by Michael Spradlin

    Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen
    By Michael P. Spradlin.  Pub:  Walker Books for Young Readers (2008) ISBN 9780802780966     Reviewed by Evan Weldon (age 6) for Reader Views (7/08)

    Dignity of Work - Teacher's Guide

    Dignity of Work
    August 11, 2008   The Dignity of Work Teacher's Guide
    [The posting begins:]  "The dignity of hard work was and still is a part of the Texas mentality. It is prevalent in the history of Texas, the culture of Texans, and the art that represents the people of Texas. Many works of early Texas art preserve the lives and the daily activities of the people they represent. These works record details of the clothing, daily chores, and special events in their lives. Work is important not only as a contribution to both family and community, but also as a form of self-worth and a source of self-esteem. This unit uses the theme of work to explore the role of hard work in settling the Texas frontier, and the value of work in the Great Depression."
    This project was created by the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts (NTIEVA).    


    Your Blogger Blathering Bibliographically

    ED BLACKBURN at TEXANA REVIEW, a podcasting blog of note, cornered me a couple of times over the last year regarding "Just what are you doing?"  Ed's from the "Blackburns of Houston," a family known for their Texas publications (his dad, Ed, Sr., recently went to jail, err, actually went to many jails across Texas to collect information on his book about jails of Texas), and his mother Sadie, well, Sadie, keeps most of us in line. 
    Anyway, Ed found me with his an inquiring mind and a tape recorder in hand, first at the Buffalo Grill and then at St. Paul's UMC.  He said he reduced our two hours to 20 minutes, a testament to his editorial dedication and skills.  If what I say makes sense, it's because of Ed's editing. Listen to Ed and me at:
    "Will Howard: becoming a less well-kept secret on Texana"


    Christmas in Texas Picture Books

    Baurys, Florence. Spur for Christmas / illus by Gerald L. Holmes. Gretna: Pelican, 1999. Augie the Armadillo and friends make their own Christmas prickly pear tree. http://www.pelicanpub.com
    Childers, Clark L. Snow: The South Texas Christmas Miracle / illustrations by William Wilhelmi. Corpus Christi, Texas: Red Cab Productions, 2005. With 300 photos about this Christmas Eve of 2004. http://www.texassnowbook.com/
    Childers, Clark L. More Snow / illustrations by William Wilhelmi. Corpus Christi, Texas: Red Cab Productions, 2006. 300 more photos.
    Childers, Clark L. More snow for kids: the true story of the South Texas Christmas miracle / illustrations by William Wilhelmi. Corpus Christi, Texas: Red Cab Productions, 2006. Yet a third volume with the story of how all the snow happened. And there are some CDs of related information.
    Harris, Leon A. Night Before Christmas in Texas, That Is / illus by Meg Wohlberg. Gretna, La: Pelican, 1952, 2006. In rhyme and rhythm. Cowboy Santa delivers in a flying buckboard wagon. Traditional charm. Wohlberg obit at: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE4D81339F935A25751C1A966958260
    Joyce, William. Santa Calls / New York : HarperCollins, 1993. Brothers and sisters in Abilene. This is the book that sparked the National Center for Children's Literature in Abilene. http://www.harperchildrens.com/ http://www.williamjoyce.com/
    Rice, James. Texas Night Before Christmas / Gretna: Pelican, 1986, 2003. In rhyme and rhythm, Texas Jack the jackrabbit figures throughout while a cowboy Santa delivers from a cargo wagon pulled by longhorns which are in nearly in revolt. Usual Rice humor.
    Smith, Catherine. Night Before Christmas in Texas / illus by Steve Egan. Salt Lake City: Gibbs-Smith Pub., 1992. Rhythm and rhyme hold consistent. Illustrations only on each 4th page spread. Traditional Santa Claus in sleigh with reindeer. Rangers help deliver gifts of hats, boots, footballs, and other toys. Book size: 3 ½ x 4 ½ inches. http://www.gibbs-smith.com/


    Why Do Kids Hate School?

    Two Texans answer the question and their book is reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.  The review begins "On weekday mornings during the academic year, dual-income families usually think of the juggle as parents heading off to work and kids heading off to the very different pursuit of school. But is school these days too much like employment, poisoning children against what's supposed to be the joy of learning and development?
    That's the argument of two University of Texas at Arlington sociologists, Ben Agger and Beth Anne Shelton, in a forthcoming book, "I Hate School: Why American Kids Are Turned Off Learning." According to a news release from the university, the researchers contend that "by the time American students are in junior high and high school, they hate school and cannot wait to finish an acceptable terminal level of education and establish careers and families, mimicking the suburban lifestyles of their parents."  READ, if you dare, MORE AT

    Texas and YA Lit

    The blog "Adolescent Literature in New York City" makes the case for taking YA lit seriously.  In the process she pairs "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Outsiders" and Magnolia, Texas.

    The Bottoms - Joe Landsdale

    "Adolescent Literature" reviews Joe Lansdale's The Bottoms
    The review begins: "Joe Lansdale's novel The Bottoms is presented as a reflection of an elderly retired sheriff on the heinous murders that occurred in his town as a child. The story follows the exploits of a 12 year old Harry and his little sister Tom as they try to unravel these gruesome murders and make sense of the raging race violence in a small east Texas town. The story begins with Harry and Tom finding a dead body of naked black woman tied to the tree in woods by their house." READ MORE AT http://adolescentlybooked.blogspot.com/2008/07/bottoms-lansdale-j.html