Thursday, January 1, 2009

Author Review: Wilma Pitchford Hayes

Wilma Pitchford Hays (1909 - ) grew up hearing about her rich family history. In her words, "In my cradle I heard the folk songs of the Britons: English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh. Before I went to school I knew the Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln families." Her parents told her stories of how a grandfather served in the Revolutionary War with Daniel Boone and her great uncle who served with Abraham Lincoln's father, Tom, in a twelve man militia in Kentucky. As a child Mrs. Hays would beg her "Grandmother Pitchford" to tell stories of how her father hid from bushwhackers when she was growing up on the border between the North and South during the Civil War. Parts of these true stories are told in The Scarlet Badge and Abe Lincoln's Birthday.

Mrs. Hays family lived in many places while she was growing up: Nebraska, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. She loved travel and visited every estate except Alaska. This interest brought about seven books about true experiences in different regions of the country.

Another true story from Mrs. Hays family appears in Drummer Boy for Montcalm. This story came from her other grandmother, "Grandmother Lull," who lived with their family and would read to Wilma as she ironed or did other household chores. Gradmother Lull's great-grandfather was a drummer boy in the Battle for Quebec in 1759.

Mrs. Hays had written about a hundred aritcles, both fiction and non-fiction, for adult magazines when her husband, R. Vernon Hays, a superintendent of schools, asked her to write a book that would "give children the feel of having been at the Thanksgiving celebration." The result of this request was Pilgrim Thanksgiving, the first of eleven holiday books.

Mrs. Hays remarked that some of her best books were planned while walking along the beach and picking up shells. Her books are arranged in several series. I have tried to put them in the right series, but I haven't read all of them myself so please let me know if you have more information on any of these titles.

List of titles by AUTHOR:

Regional Titles:

Little Horse That Raced a Train
The Pup Who Became a Police Dog
That Burro Pinto Jack
The Hawaiian Way
The Goose That Was a Watchdog
Little Hawaiian Horse
Cape Cod Adventure
Holiday Books:

Pilgrim Thanksgiving
Easter Fires - (Our favorite because it happened near us!)
Christmas on the Mayflower
The Fourth of July Raid
May Day for Samoset
Patrick of Ireland
The Story of Valentine
Abe Lincoln's Birthday
George Washington's Birthday
Highland Halloween
The Open Gate: New Year's 1813
Other Titles:

The Apricot Tree
Biography of Governor William Bradford
Circus Mystery Girl
Drummer Boy for Montcalm
Eli Whitney and the Machine Age
Eli Whitney, Founder of Industry
Foods the Indians Gave Us
The French are Coming
The Ghost at Penniman House
Little Hurrican Happy
Little Lone Coyote
Little Yellow Fur: Homesteading in 1913
The Long Blond Wig
Ma and Pa on the Oregon Trail
Mary's Star: A Tale of Orphans in Virginia
The Merriweather Lewis Mystery
Monsters and Oil Wells Don't Mix
Nako, Captive of Columbus
Naughty Little Pilgrim
Pilgrim to the Rescue
Pontiac: Lion in the Forest
Rebel Pilgrim: A Biography of Governor William Bradford
Rex, the Hero Dog
Samuel Morse and the Telegraph Wires
Samuel Morse and the Electronic Age
The Scarlet Badge
Siege! The Story of St. Augustine in 1702
Trouble at Otter Creek
Yellow Fur and Little Hawk

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