When I was young in the mountains

by Cynthia Rylant

Other authorsDiane Goode (Illustrator)
Paper Book, 1982



Call number




New York : Dutton, c1982.


Reminiscences of the pleasures of life in the mountains as a child.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
This 1983 Caldecott Honor book tells a simple story of a time when seemingly small things made a large impact on a child's life.

As a young woman, Rylant lived in the Appalachian mountains. This story is a tribute to those special years.

Grandfather arrived home with a blackened face from the coal
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dust of the mines.

Grandmother made hot corn bread. At night, grandmother took the little child to the bathroom outside in the woods. The days were spent swimming in the swimming hole, visiting the country store and, pumping pails of water from the well.

Baths were taken in a large medal tub in front of the fire place.
Evenings were spent sitting on the porch swings watching the moon and the stars.

There is a rhythm to this book that is gentle and evocative.
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LibraryThing member djmeyers
Cynthia Rylant is sharing her memories of her childhood, and while very different from today's life, a very happy book. I loved reading this book as it reminded me of growing up in Tennessee, albeit not in this fashion! The illustrations in this book are engaging and take multiple readings to catch
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all the artist has for the reader. Her reinactment of the snake episode is very funny and you almost want to shout "hurray" for the grandmother when she conquers it! One major theme in this book is family and the importance each member has to it. I loved this book!
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LibraryThing member eecnelsen
The illistrations are so realistic in this book. This book would be reat for teaching children what things were like before technology. When people had to heat their water and go to the out house.
LibraryThing member GWES.Second
Reminiscences of the pleasures of life in the mountains as a child.
LibraryThing member cctaylor1
This old timey book reminds us of instances from the past. A woman looks back and expresses her childhood growing up. From wooden stoves, cold showers, baptism in a water hole, and draping snakes around their kneck you get a full image of how it was for her when she was "young in the mountains."
LibraryThing member jgabica
This book is an example of Realistic Fiction, as it describes a child thinking back to growing up with her Grandparents. The setting takes place years ago in the mountains in a small town, which makes it possible to understand the homey feeling and small town atmosphere described. Also, it would
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make the activities seem logical for the place and time. Media:Ink and wash. Caldecott Hono
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LibraryThing member psjones
Great book about family in the mountains. I think this is a great book for vocabulary. It is about a young girl growing up in the mountains with her grandparents.
LibraryThing member cpage_07
This book is a very sweet book because it is about a little girl who spends time with her grandparents up in the mountains. They have to use an out house, defend themselves from snakes, & go swimming in the water hole. Since we do not take part in these things today, it would be very interesting to
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LibraryThing member cc120323
Summary: This is a book of childhood memories. Two children remember when they were young and staying with their grandparents in the mountains. They are of things most children will not ever experience today such as swimming in a water hole, outhouses, warming your own water for a bath, shelling
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beans, and baptisms in a swimming hole. It makes you remember the “good ole days”.

Reaction: It must have been set in the Appalachian Mountains since the grandpa came home from the coal mines. It never told you if the children were living with the grandparents or staying for the summer. I loved the part about the pinto beans and fried okra.

Activity: Students will either write or tell stories of when they visited their grandparents or someone older in their family such as an aunt or uncle. They will tell what they did that was different from their everyday life.
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LibraryThing member nathanmannn
This is a personal book about the closeness of family and the pride of Appalachia hill country. This story gives the reader insight into the simple but hard working life of a girl and her family. Cynthia Rylant tells us a story about a girl and her childhood home in the Appalachian hills. The
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illustrations are very detailed and delicate and capture the essence of living in the hill country.
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LibraryThing member szanes
An often overlooked book because of its quiet tone and soft illustrations. This narrative is simply and beautifully written with snapshots of a child's life in Appalachia.
LibraryThing member McKennaMiller
I judge this book by that illustrations (they were not my favorite) - however, I loved it! You could really tell that the author of this book experienced all the things she wrote about. She was able to depict wonderful descriptions with simple, clear words. One that stood out to me was "My cousin
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Peter was laid back into the water, and his white shirt stuck to him..." I love this image for I could picture it in my head perfectly. This book is lovely.
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LibraryThing member country
In this story the author tells a story about her childhood in the mountains. She begins by telling us how her grandfather looked when he came home from the coal mines. The only part of his body that was clean was his lips. Then she talks about the dinner on the table. Playing in the swimming hole
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even though there were snakes in it. Going to Mr. and Mrs. Crawford's store to buy some white butter, and how they looked so much alike. Having church services in a schoolhouse and then sometimes after the service the congregation would walk through the pasture to the swimming hole for a baptism. Sitting on the proch swing with her grandmother who would shell the beans, and grandpa sharpening her pencils with his knife. Then at the end of the story she explains how she ever wanted to go to the ocean or the dessert. She only wanted to be in the mountains.
I can relate to some parts of the story. My grandmother would always sit on the front porch and do the gardening work like the shelling of the peas or beans. My brother and I would always go to the pond and swim for hours. This story really makes you stop and think of how things have changed.
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LibraryThing member kathellenahagen
The story is about a girl who lived in the mountains. She would go to the pond and swim and she would also pumped pails of water for her bath water. She would also go to church with her grandmother. She didnt want to go to the ocean or desert, or anywhere else to see the world. She felt home in the
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mountains and loved it there.

Personal reaction
I enjoyed reading the book. This was the first time that I read this book. The book had great picture and I could see why she didn't want to go anywhere else but the mountains. I remember going to mountains and seeing my grandmother and watching it snow. I didn't want to leave.

Extension Ideas
1. Have the students draw a picture of the mountains and getting cotton balls and making snow using the cotton balls.
2. Have the students write down there favorite place to go and why and then sharing it with everybody.
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
Enjoyed the mountain pictures, and the reminders of simpler times. Nice bedtime story! :)
LibraryThing member Laene
I love this book about rural life a long time ago. Books like When I Was Young in the Mountains expose children to ways of living that are different than their own, and reasons why someone might still look fondly upon them today. The writing is lyrical, and teaches children specific sentence
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structures. This book would make for a wonderful mentor text for elementary students learning to write autobiographies.
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LibraryThing member CorinneLovett
There are two reasons I liked this book: the topic and the illustrations. The topic of the story is life in the mountains. I think this topic is often unexplored in children’s literature, the lives of coalminers in the mountains of the United States. The story talks about unique characteristics
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of life such as using a “johnny-house” instead of a bathroom and a swimming hole instead of a pool. It also describes pumping pails for water instead of indoor plumbing.

I think this provides the reader with a snapshot of an uncommon way of living in our modern society. I think it pushes readers to respect other ways of living and to think about what they have that others might not.

I also liked the illustrations. They repeated the same colors of soft browns, muted yellows, and pale blues. It gave a sense of sameness, as if all aspects of life in the mountains are connected. I think it showed how close the members of the mountain society felt with each other. The illustrations added to the story by tying all of the elements together.

The theme or big idea of the story is satisfaction with one’s situation. The narrator of the story discusses many different details of life in the mountains that are very different from other parts of American society. However, at the end she says “I never wanted to go anywhere else in the world, for I was in the mountains. And that was always enough.” Overall, I liked the book and its view of a different American lifestyle.
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LibraryThing member alarso2
In this book, the author talks about her childhood growing up in the mountains. She discusses a lot of the daily activities and differences between her life back then and her life now in the city.
LibraryThing member roni.rawlins
This story is about a little girl that lived in the mountains with her family (including her grandparents) and then later moved. As she got older she began to reminisce about the memories that she experienced as a child in the mountains.

Personal Reaction:
I really liked this story and I
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think everyone can relate to it whether they have lived in the mountains or not. The author was inspired to write this book based upon her memories as a child in the mountains. However, I think that most of us remember our childhood so well, and if we were lucky enough to have a good one, then this would be especially true!
Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I could have the class paint a picture about the favorite things in their life that they think are special to them. Mom cooking dinner, grandma quilting, dad getting off of work and taking his boots off outside…
2. I could set up a “show ‘n tell” where the children can bring 1-2 items that remind them of someone or something in their home that is important to them and I could have them tell us why they think it’s so important!
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LibraryThing member SamIam4
A brother and sister live with their grandparents far out in the middle of nowhere. The sister is shocked to see grandpa covered in black dust. He kisses her on forehead. For dinner grandma has corn bread,pinto beans and fried okra. She ate too much of the fried okra and had to go to the bathroom.
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Grandma went with her it was outside. When they take a bath the have to go down the hill to get the water from the pump. Put it in big pots on the black stove.She loves living out there. Never did she want to go to the desert nor the ocean.
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LibraryThing member eranda2
There are many reasons why I like this book. The first reason is that the illustrations that went along with the text really enhanced the meaning of the story. The illustrations made the reader feel that they were in the story. Also, I liked this book because of the first person point of view. The
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first person point of view made the story very detailed. For example, when the story said, “When I was young in the mountains we listed to frogs sing at dusk and awoke to cowbells outside our window”. The description helps the reader paint a mental picture in their head to get a better understanding.
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LibraryThing member jmistret
A woman describes some of the best times of her childhood living in the mountains with her grandparents. She describes activities such as swimming in the muddy water, going to the grocery store, and having hot cocoa with her grandma as such simple yet wonderful joys. When the author who is also the
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narrator was young in the mountains, she never wanted to go any place else. She was very content and had everything she needed. The pictures in this book really take the story to the next level. By showing all of the activities that the author is describing, one is able to put oneself in the story. I like how the illustrations are so simple like the narrators life at this time, yet very detailed and just enough to really get her story across.
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LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
An evocative remembrance of the simple pleasures in country living; splashing in the swimming hole, taking baths in the kitchen, sharing family times, each is eloquently portrayed here in both the misty-hued scenes and in the poetic text.
LibraryThing member Maria.Vasquez
The story developed in the mountains connected me strongly to my little town in the mountains where I used to lived in Mexico. I think that the ilustrations and text were connected to make the reader feel like inside the story. As I was looking for more information about the autor, I found out that
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this was her first book and that it was actually based in a story from her real life. It was amazing to know this, i love true story readings.
Moreover, I could use this book to create a family/community map with students to see how they describe and draw the places they are from.
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LibraryThing member salem.colorado
Reminiscences of the pleasures of life in the mountains as a child.




Original publication date


Physical description

26 cm


052542525X / 9780525425250

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