Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Lone Mountain

I seldom discuss my political views on this blog, but mountaintop removal is something that needs many voices raised in opposition, and I join mine with all those who oppose the destruction of our beautiful mountains for the short-term benefit of easy coal removal. Now I have come across a way to put my money where my mouth is: a fundraising project to publish a children's picture book in the topic.

Imagine that it is early morning. Sunlight streams across the mountains and settles into the hollows and valleys. Then you hear a distant rumbling, and the ground shakes.

Bulldozers are coming.

Lone Mountain is the story of one of those mountains. Simply told so that all ages can understand what happens and why, Lone Mountain takes us from the idyllic former life of the mountain and into the world of mountaintop removal. It is a story of destruction and loss, and yet one of hope and recovery.

Saro Lynch-Thomason recently produced Blair Pathways, a multimedia project about coal mining and its impact on these hills we call home, with a focus on the struggle over preservation of Blair Mountain, a site important historically to the labor and union movement. Artists such as Elizabeth LaPrelle, Elaine Purkey, Bare Bones and others are featured on the CD produced by the project and a 45-minute multimedia show tells the story of the history of the mine wars.

Now she has tackled a new project: a children's picture book that tells the story of one mountain facing the destruction of mountaintop removal. Beautifully illustrated pages include informational sidebars to define unfamiliar terms and offer activity suggestions. A section at the end of the book provides more educational information about the Appalachian mountains and the impact of mountaintop removal. A vital book for teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and those interested in learning the basics of the mountaintop removal issues.

This sobering yet hopeful book addresses an important topic without hyperbole or hysteria. Mountaintop removal is devastating to the environment and to the creatures that depend on the mountains for survival; Lynch-Thomason takes us along on a visit to one lone mountain so that we see for ourselves just what happens when people finally say enough, and take action to protect their homes and heritage.

A successful indiegogo campaign in the fall raised initial funds, and now a spring fundraiser is underway to provide the funds needed to publish. Various levels of contribution are available, and contributors can receive copies of the book on publication by selecting the appropriate donation level.

My book is on order. I hope yours will be too.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

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