Dothan Houston County Public Library (and Olive meets the Boll Weevil)

Dothan was our last stop on the June 2013 Library barnstorming tour across Alabama. We left Monroeville at the crack of dawn and drove the back-roads to Dothan passing over a bridge outside of Evergreen called “Murder Creek” and onto the Wal-Mart in Andalusia for a camera charger for the workshop. The wonderful head librarian at Dothan, Bettye Forbus, was on her way to ALA in Chicago, but she had arranged the workshop for older kids, which really made for some evocative storytelling.

One boy made a tree for his father in Kuwait, and he’s going to Skype with his father and share it with him.

One girl said, “You know those trees that you plant when the baby is born? And it grows up with them? That’s like my tree.” She crafted a trunk of puzzle pieces and said it represented friends, hope, knowledge and love – all the pieces of life.

Another girl shaped a tree above water with a zipline, and she said, “You know how water is always moving, and it’s how life is always moving too.”

It was a lovely way to end the tour sharing stories with kids of Dothan. Then we backtracked to the little town of Enterprise, Alabama to see the statue of the Boll Weevil in the town square just for Olive. Afterwards, we made our way back to Birmingham, the stories of the road in heads and hearts, a little sad that it had to end so fast. But we’re already thinking about the next one and very grateful to have met so many wonderful young artists, storytellers, librarians, teachers, grandmothers, moms, dads, and other new friends along the road.

Thank you, Kathryn Tucker Windham and Charlie Lucas for showing the world what friendship could be and for being great Alabama explorers and adventurers.

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About Kerry Madden

Kerry writes books for kids and teaches creative writing. Her books include: Offsides, Writing Smarts, Gentle's Holler, Louisiana's Song, Jessie's Mountain, Up Close Harper Lee, and Nothing Fancy About Kathryn and Charlie. She writes essays for the LA Times among other places and divided her life between Birmingham and Los Angeles. Her newest book, Ernestine's Milky Way, will be published by Schwartz & Wade (Random House) in 2019. She is on the faculty at Antioch's Low Residency MFA Program and the Director of Creative Writing at UAB.
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