Review of Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt


A young girl that develops a one sided pen pal relationship with Hank Williams and uses that connection to deal with the turmoil going on in her life.  Dear Hank Williams had an authentic feel and a great flow to it.  It was a short, quick read that won’t be too intimidating for kids to tackle.  Tate, the main character and author of the letters, is funny and charming.  She keeps up her eternal optimism that her pen pal will write her back one day.

This is a very slow paced book, even with it being so short.  It’s told completely in Tate’s letters to the up and coming music star, Hank Williams.  She tells him about her friends, her enemies, her neighbors, and the things that make her day.  As Tate gets more comfortable writing to Hank Williams, she begins to open up and the reader learns more about her and what she’s been dealing with.

While I don’t think that every kid will like this book, I believe that many will.  It’s rather typical for the age group, but it’s still very sweet and the main character is likeable.  There is a bit of a surprise at the ending, but it explains a lot of things that happened throughout the book.

Content: Clean

Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the Book:

  • Age Range: 9 – 12 years
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (April 14, 2015)

It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment–learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.

Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award-winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

About the Author:

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the many award-winning novels for young adults and children, including The Water Seeker, My Louisiana Sky, and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, winner of a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the author of the bestselling Piper Reed series of chapter books and several picture books. Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and has lived all over the world–from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. She now lives in Texas with her family.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    April 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    love your honest opinion, so true everyone likes different books even kids. am keeping this book on my list…like to have a list of books I can use with my students.

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