A Few Books I Reckon Y’all Should Read

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I’m from Texas. So is my husband Marcus, and technically so is my son, though he only spent 18 months living there. My daughter, however, is quick to tell anyone who will listen that she was born in North Carolina, that she is unique among her family members, who are so boring in their Texan uniformity. She claims none of it. In fact, one August, when we stepped out of the airport in Texas, my little girl, hit with a wave of real Texas heat, gasped in shock and said, “How do Annie and Granddad survive this??”

Here is my daughter, pretending to be a Texan and my son, the technical Texan:

Here I am in the background, the real deal, at about age 4:

My feelings about Texas are pretty much the same today.

Surprisingly, though, my daughter is the only Asby who slips into a rural accent regularly. This has very little to do with us, with her brief time in NC, or even the grandparents, and everything to do with Stockard Channing’s performance in The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection. Channing’s Miss Binney would fit right in in our rural Texas hometown.

My own Texas accent may have been drilled out of me by my fabulous high school theatre instructor (“Get not git! Just not jist! Poor rhymes with sewer, not four!”), but I can still sound like George W. when the occasion calls for it.

Pull out your own rural accents for the following lovely read-alouds:

Why hasn’t Maripat Perkins written more books? I can’t get through Rodeo Red without laughing. If you, too, like reading phrases like, “cantankerous lemon custard,” “sawing logs,” or “slippery as a snake’s belly in a mudslide,” this book is for you. It’s not designed to encourage sibling affection, so don’t read it with a moralistic bent. This one is just funny. Enjoy it.

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse does have a moral compass – it’s a lovely book, with perfect illustrations. And it has a horse. Sort of. So I think it counts.

A book about books and David Small illustrated it? Yes, please.

This one will make you want to go someplace special yourself. It deals with racism and civil rights, but has a hopeful inclusive bent.

This one’s for the grown-ups. A friend gave me God Save Texas as a birthday gift one year, and I have to say that it did rekindle some love for my home state. Wright clearly loves Texas, even as he criticizes aspects, and it helped me remember you can be happy and sad at the same time, you know?

And now I have quips like, “Did you know there may be more tigers in Texas than in the wild thanks to lax exotic animal laws?” I sometimes forget how strange it is that one of our Texas cousins was licked by a camel in east Texas while out for a ride on a four-wheeler.

That’s definitely surprising, now that I think about it.

Happy reading, y’all!

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